A SOCIO-ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF THE POTENTIAL OF USING TRADABLE GRAZING RIGHTS FOR GRAZING RESOURCE MANAGEMENT IN ZIMBABWE’S COMMUNAL AREAS: A CASE STUDY OF BUHERA AND CHIDUKU COMMUNAL AREAS
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The overall objective of the study was to carry out a socio-economic analysis of the potential of implementing tradable grazing rights as a market based mechanism for grazing resource management in Buhera and Chiduku communal areas. The major hypotheses that guided the research are: (i) communal area rangelands are open access and overgrazed; (ii) farmers’ choice of grazing management policy option is significantly affected by household characteristics; (iii) large cattle herd households are willing to pay for grazing rights whilst small herd cattle owners are willing to accept payment of grazing rights; (iv) the mode of payment for grazing rights is similar between large and small herd cattle owners; (iv) (a) grazing resource allocation using TGR is more efficient and equitable than the status quo, (b) grazing resource management under TGR has positive environmental impacts, and (c) community level food self-sufficiency is higher with TGR than the status quo. Rangelands in the communal areas of Zimbabwe are characterized by a lack of well-defined and exclusive property rights in grazing resource use. The most problematic common property conditions that are missing are: communally defined guidelines for resource use, exclusion mechanisms, and enforcement mechanisms. Of the study sites, the indicators reflect that Matsika and Nerutanga are not yet overgrazed whilst Gaza and Chiduku are overstocked by 29% and 35% respectively. All the study sites seem to have open access to grazing resources. An assessment of alternative grazing resource management policies shows that TGR are the third (43.3 %) most preferred grazing policy after the individualization of grazing (67%) and grazing schemes (49.5%). The least preferred options are fodder production (17%) and the status quo (20%). TGR are supported by households with few or no cattle and by households in high potential agricultural regions and are opposed, particularly in the drier areas, by households with large cattle herds. Overall, 75% of large herd owning households are willing to pay for grazing rights whilst 89% of the households with small cattle herds are willing to accept payment for TGR. Hence a market for grazing rights can be established in the communal areas. Empirical estimation using a simple recursive bio-economic linear programming model shows that at the equilibrium price (i) TGR are more cost-effective than the status quo. The community net present values are 13%, 5%, 5% and 1% higher in Gaza, Nerutanga, Matsika and Chiduku respectively. (ii) Under normal rainfall conditions TGR results in reduced grazing pressure by 21%, 8%, 5% and 3% in Nerutanga, Gaza, Matsika and Chiduku respectively. It is only in Nerutanga that TGR at equilibrium price are sufficient to reduce grazing pressure to within the carrying capacity of the rangeland. (iii) The food self-sufficiency index of LH households in Gaza and Chiduku decrease by 8% and 4% respectively with TGR whilst for SH households across survey sites it increases by between 4 to 8%. If TGR are going to be implemented there is need for: (i) development of a legislative framework paying particular attention to the initial allocation of grazing rights, and the creation and maintenance of a grazing rights registry; (ii) institutional development for grazing resource management backed by effective administrative and policing systems that ensure compliance, fairness in grazing resource allocation and that can preside over and manage resource-based conflicts; (iii) collective action for grazing control at the community level; and (v) long-term security of grazing rights to encourage investment in activites that are dynamically efficiency. Finally, TGR, if legally recognized, can be viewed as an asset that can be used as collateral for loans at the banks by the smallholder farmers.