• Zimbabwe
  • Resources
  • Business Services
  • Access to Land

Access to land for women in Zimbabwe

Access and ownership of land by women in Zimbabwe are fundamental rights which are key to women’s economic empowerment, however, statistics indicate that more than 90% of communal land is owned by men and a majority of women access land through their male relations i.e. spouses, brothers, sons or fathers. Eighteen percent (18%) of A1 farms are owned by females and 12% of A2 farms are owned by women, therefore men are primarily the land holders.

Land is major resource in the economic sector and Zimbabwe has four main systems of land tenure, namely freehold (private), state land, communal and leasehold (resettlement) systems. Communal Land is allocated by traditional leaders on behalf of the rural district council; Resettlement Land is allocated through District Land Committees for A1 – subsistence farming and A2 for commercial; Residential, commercial and peri-urban is allocated by local authorities for residential, commercial and peri-urban agricultural purposes.

Land ownership is dominated by men as only 13.9% of large-scale Commercial Farms are owned by women, while 34.5% of owners of land in communal areas are female as compared to 65.5% and while under the farms acquired through the Land Reform women only own 3.5% and 16.3% of A2 and A1 Respectively.  More women than men in the agriculture sector are employed as members of producer cooperatives, unpaid contributing family workers and own account workers. Among the workers in paid employment in the agriculture sector, women constitute about 18% and 40% of permanent and casual worker / temporary workers respectively.  

According to Women and Land, mostly women in communal and resettlement areas have access to A1 farms, with control or ownership a challenge because women have no say over property.  This is now being addressed by the Statutory Instrument SI 53 of 2014 entitled Agricultural Land Resettlement (Permits and Conditions) which was speared by Women and Land in Zimbabwe together with WLSA. The instrument regularizes the lease agreements which were previously in husband’s name or male relations. This caused many problems upon death of the husband or male relations or upon separation or divorce.  The instrument safeguards the interests of women and they can now receive inputs and participate in agricultural programs such as the Presidential Scheme.

Land opportunities and land renting

Communal Land – Women can approach their traditional leader – headman and pay tax whilst on the waiting list.

Approach the village head and register their interest to own or access land

A1 Farms – Women can visit the Ministry of Land with a copy of their ID and register