She shows that farmers are experiencing uncertainty regarding their right to use the land following the latest land reform program, instead of a sense of secure future prospects. This insecurity causes farmers to make fewer investments to prevent soil erosion.
"Zimbabwe's government needs to restore confidence and credibility in the agricultural property rights systems," says Precious Zikhali.
In her dissertation she first addresses the consequences of Zimbabwe's land reform. Secondly, she demonstrates how a tax on the edible mopane worm can prevent the overuse and annihilation of this natural resource, which is a vital source of protein for people in countries in southern Africa. A third area that Zikhali points to is how crucial it is for social institutions to combat nepotism based on ethnicity. She shows in one study that ethnic nepotism undermines trust between people in a society, which is in turn hampers the society's institutional and economic development.
The most recent part of Zimbabwe's land reform, which aims to redistribute land rights, is called the Fast Track Land Reform Program, launched in 2000. Zikhali has studied how secure the farmers involved in the reform perceive their right of possession to be, and how this in turn affects what investments they make in managing the land. The research findings show that the program has created insecurity among farmers, and reduced their investments.
"The most recently implemented land reform has failed to offer the security of tenure necessary for long term planning among farmers," says Precious Zikhali.
The management of the land involved here comprises the construction of contour ridges, a method to prevent soil erosion that is widely used in southern Africa. Since this sort of investment requires work from the farming family rather than access to money, it is not Zimbabwe's current economic crisis and hyperinflation that are limiting the will to invest but rather the sense of insecurity about the future.
In another study Zikhali compares agricultural productivity among farmers who have received land in the land reform program with the productivity of communal farmers. The findings show that the farmers involved in the reform have higher productivity and that they moreover get a higher yield per hectare when they use fertilizer than communal farmers do. But compared with the productivity realised by commercial farmers in 1999, before the reform program was launched, these reform farmers lag far behind.
"If this is acknowledged, it would facilitate necessary reforms. It's also important to develop markets with affordable prices for commercial fertilizer. This however requires an awareness and ability to deal with the environmental threats that the use of fertilizer entails," says Precious Zikhali.
The dissertation was carried out with support from the capacity building program in environmental economics funded by Sida, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)Disertation title: Land Reform, Trust and Natural Resource Management in Africa
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Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
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For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
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