The root causes of hunger in Zimbabwe: An overview of the nature, causes and effects of hunger and strategies to combat hunger

Moyo, S. (1985) The root causes of hunger in Zimbabwe: An overview of the nature, causes and effects of hunger and strategies to combat hunger. UNSPECIFIED.

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In the midst of so-called African food and hunger "crisis", Zimbabwe has been widely acclaimed to be a unique "success" story in comparison to other African countries because of increasing aggregate output of agricultural products, especially food products which are locally consumed. The fact that Zimbabwe has been able to export grains and meat (besides the traditional cash crops of tobacco, cotton, tea, et) during normal years and was able to maintain a measure of food self-sufficiency on the aggregate during the three years of drought have reinforced this placard of success. It is in fact this performance which has earned the country the name "bread-basket" and the role of food security coordination within the SADCC region. Of equal importance in the "success" story is the role that peasants have played in aggregate output of agricultural products. It is frequently pointed out that peasants have increased their aggregate production especially in maize and cotton (as well as sorghum and sunflower seed, etc.) from well below ln% of the marketed output prior to independence to well over 40% in maize and cotton in 1985. It is thus generally assumed that given peasant rationality these increases in marketed output also reflect sufficient food crop retentions which have ensured self-sufficiency in food among the rural peoples, in contrast to the situation in the rest of Africa. In fact there has been a tendency to exclude the Zimbabwean peasantry from debates on hunger and related problems in the African context. Some donor agencies have even suggested that Zimbabwe does not need much foreign aid in respect of the food problem. The "success" has consequently been attributed to correct agricultural policies (in pricing, marketing and research) and a "model" rural development strategy which was adopted since independence. In fact the CDAA study focus which was recommended for the Zimbabwean team emphasized the need to extract "lessons" from Zimbabwe's "Model", with particular interest in the role of women's cooperation groups in the struggle against hunger. It should however be strongly pointed out that this so-called "success" is based on aggregate performance which on closer scrutiny does not reflect the true situation and that the actual hunger and related health status of the peasantry when closely inspected does not match up to the colourful impressions created especially by the international media. Thirdly the actual explanations of the causes for the increased aggregate outputs have not yet been fully investigated and require further exposition for any real lessons to be derived. Finally, it is questionable whether Zimbabwe does indeed have an integrated model of rural development and if it does its impact has not been fully assessed. These issues need to be investigated in relation to the hunger problem.

Item Type: Other
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hunger,causes of hunger,effects of hunger,Zimbabwe
Divisions: Universities > State Universities > University of Zimbabwe
Depositing User: Mr. Edmore Sibanda
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2015 14:17
Last Modified: 26 Nov 2015 14:17

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