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Centro de Recursos sobre la Agricultura de Contrato

Contract Farming Arrangement and Poor Resourced Farmers in Zimbabwe

Organization Sam Moyo African Institute for Agrarian Studies
Year 2018

This study sought to understand the impact of contract farming on livelihoods among the small-scale farmers in two study districts of Zvimba and Goromonzi which are located in the Mashonaland Provinces. This was done through examining different levels of income earned between contract and non-contract tobacco growers, food consumption rates, land use patterns and asset accumulation among other indicators. The asymmetric power relations between farmers and buyer firms was as well examined. Evidence shows that contract farming has improved access to high-yielding input, better extension service, incomes, while also contributing to asset accumulation when compared to non contract farming households. However, lack of platform in the contract design process disadvantages farmers and exposes them to different forms of buyer firm exploitation such as the charging of high interest rates on inputs. Further, the study observes the less allocation of land towards food crops among contracted growers when compared to non-contract farmers which poses a threat to household food security. Women's participation in contract farming was noted to be low due to lack of access to land as the means of production. It is therefore important for government and other relevant stakeholders to come up with a conducive policy environment, that encourages the growth of input/credit market to avoid farmer agribusiness exploitation. Appropriate legislation is required that govern contract farming agreements and implementation. Land policy specifically for women should be put in place that can help to redress the historical male-female land ownership imbalances.