Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Truth About Land Reform in Zimbabwe

From the BBC,

Zimbabwe's often violent land reform programme has not been the complete economic disaster widely portrayed, a new study has found.

Most of the country's 4,000 white farmers - then the backbone of the country's agricultural economy - were forced from their land, which was handed over to about a million black Zimbabweans.

The study's lead author, Ian Scoones from the UK's Institute of Development Studies at Sussex University, told BBC News he was "genuinely surprised" to see how much activity was happening on the farms visited during the 10-year study. "People were getting on with things in difficult circumstances and doing remarkably well," he said.

When Zimbabwe announced its radical agrarian reforms aimed at redistributing white owned farms to black workers, the Western media initiated a demonization campaign against the government of Robert Mugabe. The reforms were defined as bad economic policy, reverse racist and black farm workers were blamed for lower productive outputs. The study discussed above puts to shame the core arguments of Western critics and validate the necessity for radical land redistribution in other Southern African countries. Not surprisingly, there has been a lack of significant coverage of the facts on the ground. The reason is because the relative success of land redistribution in Zimbabwe invalidates the free-market orthodoxy to which Western sources say there is no alternative.

And that is exactly the reason why we should spread this story as far as possible.

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