Zimbabwe Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Agriculture and fishing

Agriculture is a basic industry in Zimbabwe, which used to be called Southern Africa’s bread shop. But disputed land reform led to a major collapse of commercial agriculture during the first decade of the 21st century. This led to a shortage of both food and work for many Zimbabweans. Drought worsened the situation and dependence on food imports remains. Now agriculture has begun to recover. Tobacco is the most important export crop.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Zimbabwe. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

There was a modern large-scale farm that was cultivated for both the domestic market and exports. Although they accounted for a small proportion of the population, white landowners traditionally controlled most of the agricultural land in Zimbabwe. Their large farms were in the most fertile regions. In connection with the independence in 1980, landless blacks were promised access to land by the purchase of white large property owners. But the redistribution went very slowly. By the end of the 1990s, some 5,000 white landowners still possessed the country’s best agricultural land, while millions of blacks were crowded on the worst soil.

When the regime decided to push the redistribution, it was in a tight economic situation. The land reform of 2000–2002 became tumultuous (see Modern History). It was realized through land occupations, abuse, harassment and murders of dozens of white landowners. The black peasants who were supposed to replace them lacked the knowledge, tools and resources to conduct farming on a larger scale. When drought also hit, the result was disastrous. Harvests were declining and soon more than half of the land was in decline. Hundreds of thousands of black rural workers had become unemployed. For Zimbabwe defense and foreign policy, please check prozipcodes.

Today, only a few hundred white landowners remain. Of the black Zimbabweans who have taken over ownership, around 90,000 have invested in the cultivation of tobacco, called the country’s “green gold”. The tobacco industry has experienced a significant upswing. Other important commercial crops are cotton, coffee and sugar.

One downside of the tobacco investments is that the production of food crops such as maize, millet and peanuts has decreased. This has contributed to food shortages, especially when drought has also made the crops small. In addition, large land areas are still unused after the previous crisis.

Zimbabwe lacks its own coast and fishing has no impact on the national economy. Forestry occurs and most of the timber is used as firewood. In densely populated parts, forestry is threatened.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

12.1 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

41.9 percent (2016)

  • Abbreviationfinder.org: Offers how the 3-letter acronym of ZI stands for the state of Zimbabwe in geography.



Mugabe calls for stricter stock rules

In a speech to Zanu-PF, Mugabe says that the proportion of shares that private companies should transfer to black Zimbabwe should increase from 51 to 100 percent.


Basis is questioned

Zanu-PF makes new objections to the Constitution.


Constitutional Proposal

A proposal for a new constitution is ready after long negotiations between Zanu-PF and MDC-T.

Foreign companies are given a deadline

The government gives foreign-owned banks, hotels and telecommunications companies a one-year period to transfer at least 51 percent of the shares to black Zimbabweans. Earlier in the year, the large platinum producer Impala agreed to transfer a majority stake in its subsidiary Zimplats to local stakeholders (see also March 2010). Prime Minister Tsvangirai, however, distances himself from the information and thus shows once again the deep divide within the government.


Activists doomed

The six activists charged after attending a lecture on the uprising in North Africa (see February 2011) are convicted of inflicting general violence in order to overthrow Mugabe. The penalty will be fined at the equivalent of SEK 3,500 and 420 hours of community service. The prosecutors say after the trial that they have been tortured to admit and announce that they intend to appeal the verdict.


Sanctions are loosened up further

The EU abolishes its sanctions for another 51 people and 20 companies in the circle of President Mugabe (see also February 2011). Those exempted from the sanctions include the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The sanctions now include 110 people and ten companies.

Zimbabwe Agriculture and Fishing