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"Wildlife, Livestock and Food Security
in the South-East Lowveld of Zimbabwe"

David H. M. Cumming

The South-East Lowveld (SEL) of Zimbabwe covers an area of ~ 50,000 km2 and is characterised by high temperatures, low rainfall (<400mm per annum) and periodic severe droughts. It is also an endemic Foot and Mouth Disease area. Apart from a high potential for irrigation in limited areas, the SEL is best suited to extensive wildlife and livestock production. Subsistence dry land cropping fails in most years because the growing season is too short and unreliable. With the advent of game ranching in the 1950s there has been an increasing shift from cattle ranching to wildlife and tourism. The current land reform programme has adversely affected the wildlife/tourism sector and resulted in an increase in area under subsistence agro-pastoralism. Food security is a key issue for the region because cereal production from dry land cropping in the communal farming sector areas falls well below household requirements in most years, resulting in a high dependence on food aid.

Wildlife tourism is ecologically and economically the most suitable form of extensive land use for most of the region and there are currently major moves to extend this through the development of transfrontier conservation areas. However, the question of food security and the role of livestock vis a vis wildlife in rural livelihood strategies remains unresolved and contentious. Key biophysical and resource management constraints, arising largely from conservative policies on agriculture, land use, and resource access rights, are examined and strategies for achieving resilient and sustainable multispecies production systems are explored.


Audio of presentation
(MP3, 12 MB)

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Part 1 (29 MB)
Part 2 (29 MB)

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Biography for
David Cumming

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