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Abstract

A development goal pursued by the Zimbabwean government even before the much-maligned fast track land reform programme (FTLRP) was expansion of agricultural production through agricultural mechanization. This goal has been pursued through the acquisition and use of tractors by arable crop farmers in communal and resettlement state land delineated during the period following the launch of the FTLRP. This research project investigated the combined impacts of mechanization and an unplanned land reform on agricultural productivity in the Bindura district of Zimbabwe. The existing land policy and the issue of technical efficiency in agricultural productivity are assumed to be the drivers of the programme. It is likely that these issues will be important considerations in determining the sustainability of the mechanization policy. A multistage sampling technique was used to randomly select 90 farmers in the study area and structured questionnaires were used to collect demographic, investment and production data which were subsequently fitted by means of the Stochastic Frontier Model. Results revealed that mechanization was an important factor in the performance of the farmers who participated in the programme. The results also suggest that availability of land and access to production resources are crucial to farm productivity. Despite these, overall production and productivity remain low and the hyperinflationary situation triggered by supply constraints are only beginning to slightly ease. As the national unity government grapples with the huge task to restore growth in the Zimbabwean economy, it is important that these issues are borne in mind.

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