Assessing the socio-economic problems associated with invasive alien plants on rural agricultural productivity: A case of selected wards in Makoni district
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Invasive alien plants any other ecological have effects that can translate into socio-economic problems if they interact with critical sectors of societal development. Developing countries are particularly susceptible to the effects of invasive alien plants because their economies are embedded in the use of natural resources and agriculture in particular. Within these countries it is generally the rural communities with their livelihood strategies based on biodiversity and agriculture for food, energy and income. In Zimbabwe for instance agriculture is critical in the development of rural communities consequently; it is in these rural communities where invasive alien plants are more established and less managed. The direct effects of invasive alien plants on rural agriculture are quite well recognized. However there are no studies exposing how these effects can translate into socio-economic problems. It was therefore the aim of this study to contribute to build such an understanding by focusing on the effects of invasive alien plants on agricultural productivity. This study was carried out in selected wards (14, 28 and 29) in Makoni district, data was obtained through primary and secondary data collection methods. The study found that invasive alien plants are having considerable socio-economic problems as compared to the benefits there offer. The results indicated that invasive alien plants contribute to food insecurity, social conflicts between individuals, increase poverty and perpetuate child labour. It is therefore recommended that rural communities should diversify their livelihoods strategies in to achieve development in the face of invasive alien plants.