Community participation and food security in rural Zimbabwe: The case of Marange area in Mutare district.

No Thumbnail Available



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


University of Fort Hare


The chief purpose of this study was to determine the role of the rural communities in the food security initiatives of the government in alleviating food shortages in the Marange communal area of Mutare district in Zimbabwe. The focus was on local community empowerment; ownership of food security initiatives by the communities; communities‟ independent analysis of needs and priorities; their involvement in designing food security programmes and the role of the government in linking with the communities. The data was gathered using a case study research design with the qualitative method being the main research approach. The primary data was obtained from focus group discussions held in three wards of Marange area and some in-depth interviews conducted with selected key informants. The findings indicate that the government designs food security strategies without considering the input of communities. The communities are introduced and expected to adopt these pre-conceived food security plans at the implementation stage. The results also show that poor community participation in the food security initiatives of the government, specifically during the initial stages, is a significant contributing factor to the continual shortages of food in the communal lands of Marange. It is the view of this study that unless community input in decision making at the planning and designing phases is given preference in the food security interventions of the government in rural Zimbabwe, food security will seldom be achieved. While the government has a significant role to play in food security measures, such interventions can make an important contribution if the use and development of community participation is made central to food shortage alleviation strategies. The principal conclusion of this study is that if food security is an intended ultimate goal in rural Zimbabwe, the communities must participate fully in the conceptualisation, planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the government-initiated food security programmes.



community; participation; community participation; food security; conventional approach; participatory approach