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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Spatial Mismatch Between Population Density and Land Potential: The Case of Zimbabwe
Author:Mehretu, Assefa
Year:1995
Periodical:Africa Development: A Quarterly Journal of CODESRIA (ISSN 0850-3907)
Volume:20
Issue:1
Pages:125-146
Language:English
Geographic term:Zimbabwe
Subjects:land scarcity
land use
agricultural land
Miscellaneous (i.e. Demography, Refugees, Sports)
Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment
Development and Technology
Abstract:In many sub-Saharan African countries, spatial mismatch between population density and quality of arable land has negatively impacted rural development by moving high potential lands from food crops to non-food plantation schemes. In the process, smallholder farmers are relegated to more marginal lands whose carrying capacities are much lower than the population numbers they are expected to sustain. The results are not only food insecurity but also the degradation of land resources. In this article the case of Zimbabwe is used to demonstrate land use analysis based on procedures of data processing to detect spatial mismatch in sub-Saharan Africa's rural economy. The analysis shows that current land use pressure in the smallholder food sector is detrimental to sustainable food security and overall development of the rural sector. Acreage and soil endowment inequities and associated environmental problems created by spatial mismatch in smallholder sectors are the result of bad land distribution policy in colonial and postcolonial periods. Solutions to redress spatial mismatch and relieve land use pressure in the smallholder sector must be found in a comprehensive strategy which includes improved stewardship of existing land resources, diffusion of production technology and social infrastructure, and advancement of urban sector options. App., bibliogr., sum. in French.
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