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Title:A 'Bottom-Up' Perspective on Rural Organizations in Africa: The Case of Small-Scale Communal Farmers in Zimbabwe
Author:Burgess, Stephen F.ISNI
Periodical:African Rural and Urban Studies
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:farmers' associations
communal lands
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Economics and Trade
Abstract:This paper presents a bottom-up perspective on rural organizations in Africa. This perspective was obtained through a survey of small-scale communal farmers in Zimbabwe's Hurungwe and Zaka Communal Lands. The paper presents farmers' descriptions and evaluations of farmer organizations and others that are active in rural areas. A key question deals with who uses these organizations: the elite farmers, or a broader range of farmers. Of particular concern is whether richer farmers monopolize the use of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), especially farmer unions. Another issue concerns the relationship between broader demands for policy and programme change and the types of organization used to make demands. It may be that demands for most types of programme and policy change would be best secured if farmers went beyond official channels and used 'unofficial organizations' as well as 'informal channels'. The paper also looks at differences between areas with and without NGO coverage. It concludes that farmers who approach one organization, but fail to secure their demands, try again with other organizations. Many of those organizations lie outside of official channels. Of particular interest are the NGOs, which farmers approach if they escalate the scope of their demands. Bibliogr., notes, ref.