The Agrarian Question in Contemporary Zimbabwe


  • Toendepi Shonhe Agricultural Policy Research in Africa



Agrarian Question, agrarian surplus, re-industrialisation, commodity production


The reinvestment of rural agrarian surplus is driving capital accumulation in Zimbabwe's countryside, providing a scope to foster national (re-) industrialisation and job creation. Contrary to Bernstein's view, the Agrarian Question on capital remains unresolved in Southern Africa. Even though export finance, accessed through contract farming, provides an impetus for export cash crop production, and the government-mediated command agriculture supports food crop production, the reinvestment of proceeds from the sale of agricultural commodities is now driving capital accumulation. Drawing from empirical data, gathered through surveys and in-depth interviews from Hwedza district and Mvurwi farming area in Mazowe district in Zimbabwe, the findings of this study revealed the pre-eminence of the Agrarian Question, linked to an ongoing agrarian transition in Zimbabwe. This agrarian capital elaborates rural-urban interconnections and economic development, following two decades of de-industrialisation in Zimbabwe. 

Author Biography

Toendepi Shonhe, Agricultural Policy Research in Africa

Toendepi Shone is an agricultural political economist based at the University of South Africa's Thabo Mbeki African Leadership Institute. His research interests are land and agrarian change, capital accumulation and food sovereignty in Africa and agricultural farm workers.




How to Cite

Shonhe, Toendepi. 2019. “The Agrarian Question in Contemporary Zimbabwe”. Africanus: Journal of Development Studies 49 (1):24 pages.



Received 2019-01-28
Accepted 2019-06-27
Published 2019-08-30