Appropriate agricultural machinery in Zimbabwe: the vital role of rural innovation and service hubs

Published on 6 November 2023

Ian Scoones

Professorial Fellow

The previous blogs in this series have discussed the rise of small-scale mechanisation as a response to agricultural production, processing and transport challenges in Zimbabwe. The demand for new machines – of all shapes and sizes – arises due to the changes in Zimbabwe’s agricultural landscape as well as the on-going economic crisis. Mechanisation appropriate to these contexts is essential, and Zimbabwe’s farmers, together with service providers, innovators, engineers and manufacturers, are responding with a innovation and entrepreneurial skill typical of Zimbabwe’s rural areas.

New contexts driving mechanisation

As any reader of this blog knows, land reform since 2000 has created a new agrarian structure with small and medium scale farms in the land reform areas now an important part of the production mix. These farms have larger areas than the smaller plots in the communal areas and so produce more, have higher demands for labour, increasing the incentives for mechanisation when labour is short. These farms produce surpluses and are therefore more commercialised and so require access to markets for their produce, again driving demand for machines to assist with agricultural processing and transport.

This article is from Zimbabweland, a blog written by IDS Research Fellow Ian Scoones. Zimbabweland focuses on issues related to rural livelihoods and land reform in Zimbabwe.

Read the full story on the Zimbabweland website

The views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author/s and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of IDS.


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