Background to the Study
From a gender perspective, this study was interested in establishing the achievements attained and challenges faced by female beneficiaries of A1 Farms in Selected Districts of Midlands Province Zimbabwe and the Social Relations Approach helped the study unpack gendered realities as they manifest in access and control of productive resources. The study population was made up of 8 districts in Midlands Region (100 female farmers and 30 extension workers), from these, a sample of three districts, 60 female farmers and 15 extension workers participated in the study which employed the mixed method design and data was gathered using questionnaires, interviews, document reviews and extensive literature review. Findings from the study indicated that among other things, female farmers achieved ownership of land, improved food security and bought additional farming equipment; and the challenges they face emanated from patriarchal bias in the dual nature of the Zimbabwe legal parameters and gender. The study recommends more affirmative approaches from funding organisations and from government which can help A1 and other females interested in farming to empower them for an all round increased participation in the agrarian reforms in Zimbabwe.
The Fast Track Land Reform Programme was based on compelling economic and social imperatives of poverty eradication and foster economic development in a newly independent state. Situated in developing nation context and a highly patriarchal environment only a handful of women managed to get land under the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP). In the aftermath of the highly politicized programme some women benefitted and were resettled in A1 farms. The land issue has been central to the liberation struggle in Zimbabwe. The first land reform programme started in September 1980 soon after independence and it aimed at redistributing land, developing rural areas through the provision of infrastructure and other socio-economic services as to ameliorate the plight of the people negatively affected during the war of liberation Zuwarimwe,(1999) in (Masiiwa, 2004). Under the Lancaster House Constitutional Provisions land was supposed to be bought on the "willing buyer willing seller" approach (Utete, 2003). This approach proved to be too slow and relaxed for the Zimbabwean masses. In the 2000 referendum elections guided by the motto "Land is the economy and economy is the land" motivated the masses and politicians to gear up for grabbing land from the minority white farmers. Despite losing the referendum in 2000 the government launched the FTLPP (Third Chimurenga) in June 2008 guided by the Land Reform and Resettlement Programme Phase II (Centre for Public Impact, 2017). In the process of getting the land a lot of incidences happened which include introduction of new land policies and laws, deaths, abuses of various kinds, corruption and violence. By 2015 it was stated that 7 million hectares of land had been redistributed since 2000 and it was justified as compensation for colonialism and 4 500 white farmers were disposed and a million black Zimbabweans settled on their land (Centre for Public Impact, 2017).
In the fight for equality between men and women many African nations have adopted new land laws in order to strengthen rural women's land ownership rights (FAO 2017). Being a signatory of a number of conventions and declarations on gender equality Zimbabwe was also obligated to address inequalities of gender even in accessing and controlling of this key resource. The Zimbabwe National Gender Policy revised in 2017 places strong emphasis on gender equality and equity for the achievement of a gender just society in...