From Subsistence Agriculture to Commercial Enterprise: Community management of green technologies for resilient food production

Charles James Kingsley Latham, Loris Palentini, Munyaradzi Katemaunzanga, John Robert Patrick Ashton


The aim of this paper is to emphasize the capacity and resilience of rural communities in regard to sustainable food security by adopting innovative approaches to irrigation. The shift from subsistence to commercial agriculture is promoted as a means to sustainable development. An analysis of the efficacy of irrigation schemes in Zimbabwe suggests that, in terms of providing sustainable agricultural production, they have neither been cost-effective nor have they provided long-term food security to their beneficiaries. This is certainly true of Shashe Scheme and most others in Beitbridge District. The Shashe Irrigation Scheme project represents a bold attempt at developing a fresh approach to the management of communal land irrigation schemes through a Private Public Community Partnership. The model illustrated represents a paradigm shift from subsistence agriculture to a system based on new technologies, market linkages and community ownership that build resilience and lead to sustainable food security and economic prosperity.

Key words: Private Public Community Partnership; irrigation; governance; Market-based agriculture; food security;Maize Equivalent Income (MEI)

Data of the article

First received: 20 July 2015 | Last revision received: 28 October 2015
Accepted: 29 October 2015 | Published online: 09 December 2015
URN: nbn:de:hebis:34-2015092949080

Full Text:



Bolding, A. (2004). In hot water: A study on sociotechnical intervention models and practices of water use in smallholder agriculture, Nyanyadzi catchment, Zimbabwe: Wageningen University The Netherlands.

C Cunliffe, R. (2004). Sustainable development and natural resources management in southern Zimbabwe. PRA and Questionnaire Survey Study in Sengwe-Tchipise Communal Lands - Final Report Part II: Livelihood Patterns. CESVI.

Holleman, J. F. (1952). Shona Customary Law: With Reference to Kinship, Marriage, the Family and the Estate. Manchester University Press.

Jiggins, J., & Roling, N. (2000). Adaptive management: potential and limitations for ecological governance. International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology, 1(1), 28-42.

Latham, C. J. K. (1999). Local Level Management of Natural Resources: a Longitudinal Perspective. IAC, Wageningen, Netherlands.

Latham, C. J. K. (2005). NYIKA VANHU: THE LAND IS THE PEOPLE. University of Zimbabwe.

Manzungu, E., & Machiridza, R. (2005). Economic-legal ideology and water management in Zimbabwe: Implications for smallholder agriculture. Paper presented at the International workshop on ‘African Water Laws: Plural Legislative Frameworks for Rural Water Management in Africa.

Mead, B. (2001). Consultancy for the Re-design of Small-scale Irrigation Schemes, Maramani Communal Land, Beitbridge District, Zimbabwe (Shashe, Jalukanga and Bili Irrigation Schemes): CESVI.

Murphree, M. (2001). Experiments with the future. Paper presented at the A seminar on an interdisciplinary longitudinal and interactive methodology to explore environmental and institutional sustainability in the human use of nature, UCB Botanic Garden.

Murphree, M. (2004). ‘Local level scenario modelling, iterative assessment and adaptive management’ Paper presented to WWF SARPO Concept workshop on self-administrated performance protocols, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Osofsky, S. A. (2005). Conservation and Development Interventions at the Wildlife/livestock Interface: Implications for Wildlife, Livestock and Human Health : Proceedings of the Southern and East African Experts Panel on Designing Successful Conservation and Development Interventions at the Wildlife/Livestock Interface : Implications for Wildlife, Livestock and Human Health, AHEAD (Animal Health for the Environment And Development) Forum, IUCN Vth World Parks Congress, Durban, South Africa, 14th and 15th September 2003: IUCN, p.42.

Ostrom, E. (1990). Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action: Cambridge University Press.

Rukuni, M. (1994). Report of the Commission of Inquiry Into Appropriate Agricultural Land Tenure Systems: Main report: Zimbabwe. Commission of Inquiry into Appropriate Agricultural Land Tenure Systems.

Senge, P. M. (2006). The fifth discipline: The art and practice of the learning organization: Broadway Business.

Senge, P. M., & Sterman, J. D. (1992). Systems thinking and organizational learning: Acting locally and thinking globally in the organization of the future. European Journal of Operational Research, 59(1), 137-150.

Vincent, V., & Thomas, R. G. (1960). An agricultural survey of Southern Rhodesia: Part I: agro-ecological survey. Government Printer, Salisbury.


  • There are currently no refbacks.



 Google Scholar H5 index 3 

Sponsoring Organisations

Logo Agrarekologie Uni Kassel