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South 2 North

Zimbabwe: Lessons from land reform

After years of economic collapse caused by violent land grabs, Zimbabwe is recovering, but who is reaping the benefits?

Last updated: 13 Nov 2013 12:45
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No subject is off limits in the first ever global talk show hosted from Africa in which Redi Tlhabi talks frankly to inspiring and intriguing personalities from across the world.

In the 1980s Zimbabwe became the poster-child for African independence. Twenty years later, violent land grabs pushed white farmers off their land, and the economic turmoil caused unprecedented hyperinflation, resulting in the ultimate crash of the Zimbabwean currency. Food production collapsed and one of the continent’s strongest economies reduced to half its previous size.

While the West was quick to dismiss Zimbabwe as another failed African state, new research shows that Zimbabwe is actually recovering, and that land reform is working.

This week on South2North, Teresa Smart, one of the authors of the book, Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land, speaks about the rise of food production in Zimbabwe.

"Since the end of hyperinflation, since the dollar economy started in 2009, production has gone up every year until its approaching that of the production before land reform," says Smart.

Smart also talks about  how the small farmers know their land more intimately and use a lot of labour, which is increasing the resources and helping to alleviate poverty.

Redi also speaks to Sam Moyo, a professor and the executive director of the African Institute for Agrarian Studies in Harare.

"We are not beyond capitalism, because this is not a socialist programme, it is a social wealth redistribution programme," says Moyo.

When asked if President Robert Mugabe was right, Moyo says: "Yes of course he was right, I since the 80s have been arguing for a more progressive and extensive reform."

Later in the show Redi is joined by Charlene Mathonsi, a commercial farmer from Zimbabwe, who tells us more about what things are like on the ground.

From the producer's desk:

Assistant producer Lisa Golden writes:

This show caused a stir because of the different view on Zimbabwe that it offered.

We had three guests who had either research or experienced the positive outcomes of Robert Mugabe’s land reform programmes that took place during his presidency.

In the early 2000s the land grabs became increasingly violent, and the dramatic collapse of the Zimbabwean economy made it very hard to believe that this process was successful in any way.

While there was criticism that there was not a dissenting voice on the show, we angled inside a greater anti-Zimbabwe narrative across the press.

 

South2North can be seen each week at the following times GMT: Friday: 1930; Saturday: 1430; Sunday: 0430; Monday: 0830.

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Source:
Al Jazeera
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