Catch up on Zimbabweland – top blogs so far this year

The blog is taking a break for a few weeks as holidays and book-writing deadlines beckon. But there’s plenty to catch up on if you haven’t already. Here’s a list of the ‘top 10’ most viewed posts of 2023 (so far) that have been published during the year.

1 Conversations on Zimbabwe’s land reform: “well, it’s a bit more complex than that….”

2 Livestock populations decimated by ‘January disease’ in Zimbabwe: diverse local responses

3 Negotiating ‘belonging’ in Zimbabwe’s land reform areas

4 Preparing for the next pandemic: lessons from Zimbabwe

5 The ‘hidden middle’: the transformation of agri-food systems in Africa

6 Maize markets in Zimbabwe: a complex web of hidden activity

7 Robin Palmer – the original land campaigner and scholar activist

8 Livelihoods analysis and agrarian political economy: a new podcast

9 Zimbabwe’s resettlement experience from 1980 to 2000

10 Why livestock keeping can be good for the environment

There’s of course plenty more. There have been 22 blogs published so far this year, and 490 in total since the blog started in 2011.

This year there have been a number of blog series, notably on ‘the hidden middle‘ – the array of informal economic activity associated with agricultural production – focusing on maize, poultry and horticulture. Older series, notably the ones on urban agriculture and agricultural entrepreneurs continue to attract a significant readership.

Our book compiling our pandemic blogs – Learning in a Pandemic: Reflections on COVID-19 in Rural Zimbabwe – came out at the end of last year, but continues to be of interest to many readers interested in reflecting on the pandemic experience from a rural perspective. You can buy the full-colour book on Amazon (£12.72 for a paper copy£1.25 for a Kindle version) or download it for free in high- or low-resolution versions here and here). Check out the blog summarising the work and a couple of articles that have emerged here.

You can join over 800 subscribers to the blog by signing up on this page (to the right =>) or follow me on Twitter (or whatever it is called now) @ianscoones to keep up-to-date with our work on land, agriculture and rural development in Zimbabwe.

As regular readers will know, Zimbabweland is very much a collective enterprise, with each post including contributions from the team in Zimbabwe led by my long-term collaborator Felix Murimbarimba (we worked out that, rather amazingly, we’ve been working together for 35 years this year), even if I write and compile the blog.

We are working on two new research themes right now – the role of small-scale technologies in agriculture and new approaches to credit and finance in a challenging economy. Results will appear in blogs in due course. We are also hoping to re-start our longitudinal tracking of livelihood change across our sites in the (not so) new land reform areas that started in a number of sites in the early 2000s. In particular, we will be trying to make sense of the ‘phases of land reform’ and their consequences, both positive and negative, drawing comparisons with other experiences of land reform elsewhere in the world. And, as before, based on solid empirical data, grounded in diverse contexts, rather than wild conjecture and misleading assumptions as too often happens. Hopefully, there’ll be some more news on this by the end of the year.

I still hope to offer reflections on election manifestos and policies for land/agriculture and development in advance of the August 23 poll, but so far the Zimbabwe election seems to be almost completely content and policy-free.

Meanwhile, enjoy catching up on the blogs!

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