The Impact of the Land Reform Programme in Matabeleland North Province: A Case of Woodlands Resettlement Area in Hwange, Zimbabwe

Zanele Dube

Department of Peace Studies, Zimbabwe Open University, Hwange, Zimbabwe

Wisdom Moyo

Department of Development Studies, Zimbabwe Open University, Hwange, Zimbabwe

Keywords: Land reform, Livelihoods, Poverty, Resettlement, Farming.


Land reform has always been a contentious issue in Zimbabwe mainly because of the methods used to acquire land. The land reform process began in 1979 after the signing of the Lancaster house agreement in an effort to equitably distribute land between the black and minority whites. The market based approach was used in the early phases of land reform and later on, the government led compulsory land acquisition called the Fast track land reform programme. This study was aimed at investigating the impact of the fast track land reform programme at Woodlands resettlement in Hwange, Matabeleland north province. The researcher assumed that resettlement was carried out on what was formerly a game reserve. The geography of the area does not favour crop farming. Soils are deficient in plant nutrients and rainfall is below 650mm and yet Zimbabwe land reform emphasized poverty alleviation. The study was conducted using the qualitative research approach. A case study was chosen as a research design. Questionnaires were developed and distributed to 30 respondents drawn from Woodlands resettlement using simple random sampling technique. The findings revealed that people were resettled in what was formerly a game reserve and this has resulted in human-wildlife conflict. There are mixed feelings about the impact of land reform on livelihoods at Woodlands. It is recommended that the government should step in and prioritise infrastructure development in the area. The absence of a clinic, secondary school serviced road and other social services need urgent attention as these factors are important in poverty alleviation.


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