Zimbabwe urgently needs a new land administration system
Zimbabweland (Ian Scoones)
Zimbabwe today has an agrarian structure made up of small, medium and large farms, all under different forms of land ownership. A landscape once dominated by 4,500 large-scale commercial farmers is now populated by about 145,000 smallholder households, occupying 4.1 million hectares, and around 23,000 medium-scale farmers on 3.5 million hectares. Knowing exactly who has land and where is difficult. Illegal multiple allocations combine with unclear boundary demarcations and an incomplete recording system. Many new land owners don’t have formal documentation and lack leases or permits confirming ownership. There is a great deal of uncertainty given the often haphazard, sometimes corrupt, approach to land reallocation that took place under the land reform programme. Given that the landscape is very different to what went before, a new system of land administration is urgently needed.