The University of Arizona

Exclusion and contests over wetlands used for farming in Zimbabwe: a case study of broad-ridge and broad-furrow tillage system on Zungwi Vlei

Alexio Mbereko, Billy B. Mukamuri, Moses J. Chimbari


In Zimbabwe, a broad-ridge and broad-furrow tillage system was promoted by the state, scientists and a nongovernmental organisation for its presumed agronomic and environmental viability and economic returns for small farmers. Zungwi vlei, a wetland of value to the community was transformed from a common use natural resource into a limited access broad-ridge and broad-furrow irrigation landscape that benefited a small number of people. Our study sought to understand conflicts over natural resources access, use and management arising from this land use change. The study adopted mixed methods combining qualitative and quantitative data collection tools. The results indicated the presence of a wide range of internal and external conflicts following the transformation of the landscape. Prior to the transformation, low levels of conflict were noted. We concluded that despite the ability of the broad-ridge and furrow tillage system to boost agricultural productivity per square meter, it triggered considerable resource use conflicts as fewer families directly benefited from the innovation.

Key words: Development, vlei, agricultural technology, resources conflict, political ecology, Zimbabwe

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