Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Environmental Resources & Policy

First Advisor

Duram, Leslie


ABSTRACT: Policy makers and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe are advocating for alternative agriculture as a better form of agriculture compared to conventional agriculture in order to increase agricultural productivity, as well as address challenges such as climate change, erratic rainfall patterns, and environmental degradation. The country is now a net importer of food with many people in need of food aid. Conventional agriculture as well as policies supporting it has not been able to address these challenges. Although there is a growing interest in alternative agriculture in the country, it is a field that is under researched. This study therefore sought through three main objectives to clarify characteristics of alternative agriculture in Zimbabwe, determine the role of NGOs promoting it and assess whether pro-conventional agriculture policies have impacted development of alternative agriculture in the country.Results from the first study indicate that there is lack of respect for alternative agriculture as compared to conventional agriculture. Disrespect for alternative agriculture has resulted in lack of proper pricing and policy support for alternatively produced products. In addition, alternative agriculture is viewed as the farming for the future for it results in many benefits and is able to address challenges faced by farmers in Zimbabwe due to its holistic approach. It is also viewed as an old form of agriculture practiced before the introduction of Green Revolution technologies. Since alternative agriculture is an ambiguous term and is under researched in Zimbabwe this study clarified what it means within the Zimbabwean context. Results from the second study show that NGOs are using certified organic agriculture, a form of alternative agriculture to facilitate community development. They are targeting poor vulnerable communities and facilitate training in organic farming, research, market linkages, create awareness, advocate for policy change and provide social support to these communities. However, it is clear from the study that there is need for government and other stakeholders to partner with NGOs so as to further develop certified organic agriculture in the Zimbabwe.The third study indicates that pro-conventional agriculture policies resulted in lack of respect for certified organic farming which leads to lack of organic policy. It is evident from the study that there is long term disregard for alternative agriculture with most policies supporting conventional agriculture development. Poor governance and land reform policy have further undermined the development of certified organic agriculture. These factors have prevented Zimbabwe from addressing real problems of declining food production, climate change, land degradation and loss of biodiversity through sustainable forms of agriculture such as certified organic agriculture.




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