Evaluating holistic management in Hwange communal lands, Zimbabwe : an actor-oriented livelihood approach, incorporating everyday politics and resistance

Chatikobo, Tapiwa H. (2015-04)

Thesis (MSc)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Rangelands in the semi-arid and arid regions of the world support livelihoods through their provision of multiple goods and services. Livestock production, for example, occurs in rangelands both as extensive ranching under freehold tenure and as collective ranching under communal tenure systems. However, the sustainability of rangelands is threatened and has been a major concern this century, leading to a variety of interventions. Holistic management (HM) is one such example, designed by its proponents as a panacea to halt degradation and, recently, climate change effects in the rangelands of Africa and beyond. HM has been implemented in the Hwange Communal Lands (HCLs) of Zimbabwe since 2010. In principle, the programme is aimed at restoring degraded watersheds and croplands through utilising properly managed livestock. To achieve this, two principles are promoted under HM, namely (i) holistic planned grazing (HPG) and (ii) animal impaction of crop fields. However, the effects of HM on the livelihoods of its beneficiaries currently are poorly understood. In order to address this lacuna, this study aimed to determine both the intended and unintended effects of a community-based land restoration programme called Holistic Land and Livestock Management (HLLM) in the HCLs of Zimbabwe on the livelihoods of its beneficiaries through a conceptual framework that combined an actor-oriented livelihoods approach with concepts of everyday politics and resistance. This was done by exploring the impact of HLLM on the six types of farmers’ assets, adoption patterns, farmers’ reactions to the introduction of HLLM, and challenges preventing farmers from adopting HLLM. Case studies employing a qualitative and exploratory research design were undertaken in three communities that were selected purposively from a total of 18 communities in which the HLLM programme had been promoted by the Africa Centre for Holistic Management (ACHM) in order to discover different perspectives on the effects of the programme on the livelihoods of its beneficiaries. The study employed qualitative Participatory Rural Appraisal tools, focus group discussions, participant observation, document analysis, and key informant and semi-structured interviews. These lines of enquiry enabled triangulation and cross-checking of information to enhance the reliability and validity of the research findings. The study showed that adoption levels were disappointingly low across all the study sites. Several challenges, including livestock diseases, predation, cultural stigma, labour constraints and witchcraft fears, were among the barriers explaining the low rate of adoption in the HCLs. The findings reveal that the farmers were concerned more with immediate problems, especially lack of water, than with land degradation, which is the primary focus of HLLM. Thus the farmers responded by complying, accommodating and covertly resisting the ACHM’s efforts to implement HLLM in order to suit their needs, using creative everyday politics and resistance. The study concludes that, although HLLM is required in such semi-arid environments, it is not sufficient to sustain rural livelihoods in its current state. While the main focus of HLLM is to improve the natural capital (i.e. restoring degraded watersheds), it should be complemented by and aligned with the farmers’ other development priorities, especially those relating to water

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING:Weiveld in die halfdor- en dor gebiede van die wêreld ondersteun menslike lewensbestaan deur die verskaffing van ’n verskeidenheid goedere en dienste. Veeproduksie, byvoorbeeld, kom in weivelde voor as beide ekstensiewe veldbeesboerdery onder grondbesit en kollektiewe veldbeesboerdery onder gemeenskaplike eiendomsreg. Die volhoubaarheid van weiveld word egter bedreig en het in hierdie eeu ’n groot bron van kommer geword, wat gelei het tot ’n verskeidenheid ingrypings. Holistiese bestuur (Holistic management (HM)) is een van hierdie en is deur sy voorstanders ontwerp as ’n wondermiddel om degradasie, en meer onlangs die effekte van klimaatsverandering op die weivelde van Afrika en verder, stop te sit. HM is reeds sedert 2010 in die Hwange gemeenskaplike gronde (HGG’e) in Zimbabwe geïmplementeer. In beginsel is die doel van die program om gedegradeerde waterskeidings en landerye te herstel deur gebruik te maak van behoorlik bestuurde vee. Om dit te bereik word twee beginsels onder HM bevorder, naamlik (i) holisties beplande weiding (holistic planned grazing (HPG)) en (ii) dier-impaksie van landerye (animal impaction of crop fields). Die effekte van HM op die lewensbestaan van sy begunstigdes word tans egter swak begryp. Om hierdie leemte aan te spreek, was die doel van hierdie studie om die bedoelde en onbedoelde gevolge van ’n gemeenskapsgebaseerde grondherstelprogram (Holistic Land and Livestock Management (HLLM)) in die HGG’e van Zimbabwe op die lewensbestaan van die begunstigdes te bepaal deur middel van ’n konseptuele raamwerk wat ’n akteur-georiënteerde lewensbestaansbenadering met konsepte van alledaagse politiek en weerstand gekombineer het. Dít is gedoen deur die impak van HLLM op ses soorte van bates wat boere het, hulle aannemingspatrone, boere se reaksies op die invoering van HLLM, en uitdagings wat verhoed het dat boere HLLM aanneem, te ondersoek. Gevallestudies met gebruik van ’n kwalitatiewe en verkennende navorsingsontwerp is in drie gemeenskappe onderneem wat doelbewus uit ’n totaal van 18 gemeenskappe waarin die HLLM-program deur die Africa Centre for Holistic Management (ACHM) bevorder word, geselekteer is om verskillende perspektiewe van die effekte van die program op die lewensbestaan van die begunstigdes te ontdek. Die studie het kwalitatiewe Deelnemende Landelike Takseringsgereedskap (Participatory Rural Appraisal), fokusgroepbesprekings, deelnemerwaarneming, dokument analise en sleutel-informant en semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude gebruik. Hierdie ondersoeklyne het triangulasie en kruiskontrole van die inligting moontlik gemaak, wat die betroubaarheid en geldigheid van die navorsingsbevindings verhoog het. Die studie toon dat aannemingsvlakke teleurstellend laag was in al die studieliggings. Verskeie uitdagings, insluitend veesiektes, predasie, kulturele stigma, arbeidsbeperkings en vrese vir heksery was onder die hindernisse wat die lae aannemingstempo in die HGG’e verklaar. Die bevindinge wys dat die boere meer besorgd was oor onmiddellike probleme, veral die tekort aan water, as oor grondagteruitgang, wat die vernaamste fokus van HLLM is. Die boere het dus gereageer deur instemming, aanpassing en onderlangse weerstandbieding tot die ACHM se pogings om HLLM te implementeer om sodoende hulle eie behoeftes te pas deur kreatiewe alledaagse politiek en weerstand te gebruik. Die studie kom tot die gevolgtrekking dat hoewel HLLM in sulke halfdor omgewings nodig is, dit nie in sy huidige staat voldoende is om landelike lewensbestaan te onderhou nie. Hoewel die vernaamste fokus van HLLM is om die natuurlike kapitaal te verbeter (m.a.w. deur gedegradeerde waterskeidings te herstel), moet hierdie rol gekomplementeer word deur en belyn word met die boere se ander ontwikkelingsprioriteite, veral dié wat verband hou met water.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97083
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