Gender-sensitive LP Models in Soil Fertility Research for Smallholder Farmers: Reaching de jure Female Headed Households in Zimbabwe


  • Maxwell Mudhara
  • Peter E. Hildebrand
  • Christina H. Gladwin


Zimbabwe faces a challenge in meeting food requirements of its 12 million people. The population is growing at three percent per annum compared to 1-1.5 percent per annum growth in agricultural production. Therefore, per capita food production is declining. To meet its food requirements, the country needs a four percent per annum growth rate in agricultural production. Residents of smallholder farms comprise seventy percent of Zimbabwe’s population. In 1999, they only contributed 14 percent of the value of sales of principal crops, i.e., maize, groundnuts, sorghum, soybeans, coffee, wheat, cotton, tobacco and sunflower. The contribution of smallholder farmers to marketed crops is skewed, with only a small proportion participating. The majority of the smallholder farmers struggle to meet their subsistence food requirements. High levels of poverty on these farms exacerbate the food problem, as they are unable to purchase food from the retail markets. Therefore, their food security is fragile.