Natural resource management and land reform in southern Africa
MetadataShow full item record
Throughout southern Africa, land holdings have remained significantly skewed between rich and poor, with discriminatory land tenure systems reflecting the land and agricultural policies adopted in colonial times and after independence (Fortin 2005; Moyo 2005a). Moyo (2000) indicates that, for countries in the southern African region, the land problem is characterised by contradictory tendencies towards irrational land use patterns through both over-utilisation in communal lands, and under-utilisation of land in commercial farming areas. Governance of land use is one of the most important political and economic issues in most southern African countries and land remains the basic source of livelihood for the majority (Kloeck-Jenson 1998), as well as the basis for agro-industrial development. Land reform is currently a significant process throughout southern Africa that is unfolding rapidly on continuously shifting ground. Land reform is a long-term process that aims to enhance agricultural production. However, to be successful, land use options within land reform programmes should incorporate not only social and economic viability, but environmental sustainability as well (Mohamed 2000). Environmental considerations of land reform are generally inadequately conceptualised, despite being a central consideration of sustainable land use. The challenge for land reform programmes is therefore to redistribute land and reform tenure rights ensuring productivity and ecological sustainability of the rural economy.