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People and the River



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Distribution of Economic Activities: Zimbabwe  

Zimbabwe was one of the most prosperous economies in Africa, but the country has suffered over the last ten years due to failed economic policies and natural disasters.

In 2008 the economy collapsed, and at the end of 2008 the inflation rate was the highest in the world for an independent country (89,7 sextillion percent) (AFP 2009). The people of Zimbabwe were further devastated in 2008, and going into 2009, by a cholera outbreak that infected nearly 100 000 people and killed 4 000 people.

In 2009, the economy showed signs of improving. With the Zimbabwe dollar taken out of circulation, the introduction of foreign currencies, and the removal of price controls, the economy is growing for the first time in a decade (World Fact Book 2010). Of the 6 % of the population employed, the majority are engaged in the agriculture sector (66 %) with 23,9 % employed in industry and an estimated 24 % in services.

Economic Activities Specific to the Basin

The Limpopo River basin in Zimbabwe is defined by the sub-basin Mzingwane River basin in Zimbabwe and stretches across nine districts: Umzingwane, Mangwe, Matobo, Gwanda, Beitbridge, Insiza, Mberengwa, Mwenezi and Chiredzi.

Land use in the upper Mzingwane River basin consists mostly of commercial farming while communal land and subsistence agriculture are practiced in the lower basin. Communal land plots average in size from 0,5 to 14 ha (LBPTC 2010).The communal lands are considered to be vulnerable because they are in a dry climate, have poor soils and are not suitable to rainfed agriculture. Many are consistently below the food security threshold. Based on a report by Love (2004- in LBPTC 2010) there are six irrigation schemes in the Mzingwane River basin. To read more about these schemes, see the section in Resources Management (LBPTC 2010).

A high concentration of livestock, including cattle, goats, sheep and donkeys, is found in the basin. Other sources of income include wages and remittances from migrant workers in South Africa, Botswana and urban centres in Zimbabwe. Tourism, wildlife and ranching are other sources of livelihoods in the basin (LBPTC 2010).

Subsistence agriculture in Kumalo West, Zimbabwe.
Source: Schaefer 2010
( click to enlarge )
The portion of Zimbabwe in the Limpopo River basin.
Source: Hatfield 2010
( click to enlarge )



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