Ruzivo Trust

Welcome to Ruzivo Trust
A Centre for Knowledge Excellence

Access and Rights

This programme's main thrust is action research through on-farm surveys and participatory techniques, using knowledge generated for sharing with the local communities and at regional and international levels. It involves participatory planning, together with the communities and stakeholders, on how to respond to research findings on issues related to land access, property rights and tenure security. We work closely with local authorities, government, development agencies and the private sector to respond to these challenges based on our research results.


  • The aim of Ruzivo Trust is to ensure that land and agrarian reforms provide a basis for economic and social progress for the benefit of the poor and others. The specific objectives are:
  • To build and package knowledge (evidence) on access to land and tenure rights, agricultural development and food security as well as conservation and environmental security;
  • To generate knowledge on agrarian and development issues and to respond to contemporary issues such as biofuels, food security, climate change, and natural resources management;
  • To engage policy makers at all levels so as to use Ruzivo Trust research results to influence land and agrarian policies; and
  • To use evidence based research outputs to inform capacity development initiatives.

How we deliver our mandate

  • Knowledge generation, packaging and dissemination through books, journal articles, and commentaries shared through our knowledge platforms at local, national and international platforms;
  • Carrying out relevant policy advocacy using policy briefs, awareness pamphlets, public talks, as well as supporting public forums in line with our work.
  • Advise clients based on our research outputs, through carrying out commissioned studies, risk analysis, scenario building and complex social, political and economic analysis.

Where and with whom we work

  • In Mazowe district, we work with the Mazowe Rural District Council, Agricultural Extension and Training (Agritex) and the training branch of the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • In Goromonzi district, we work with smallholder communal farmers in four wards.
  • At the national level, our researchers work with various government ministries, development partners and academic institutions.
  • At international level, we partner with academic institutions such as Nordic Africa Institute in Sweden in sharing our work at various international platforms.

.......Gender equity is a key consideration in all our programmes.....

Current projects

Land Research


Ruzivo has produced several publications on land reform that provides an overall picture of how the sector looks like. A continued investment in research is now specific to land issues that require resolution. To this end, Ruzivo’s research interests are in the following:

  • Land tenure: issues of land rights and property are central to economic development. Ruzivo aims at all times to understand based on evidence the state of affairs with respect to tenure. In this context, the research seeks to decipher the following: (i) the breadth of land rights including rights to forests, water and minerals, (ii) conditions and rights to compulsory land acquisition; (iii) conditions under which land markets should be regulated; and (iv) codification of primary and secondary rights, including rights for women and other family members and for vulnerable groups such as widows, orphans, minority groups and HIV- affected people.
  • Land related conflicts and governance: conflicts on the ground have affected agriculture and require resolution. In this research work we identify the types of conflicts and their impacts across all agricultural regimes. The research also examines the national, provincial, District, Ward and VIDCO levels in terms of their capacities to address conflicts. In view of the existing multiple land management structures from village to national level, governance over land and the instutional mechanisms for management will be central to the future.
  • Land allocation: processes of land allocation and reallocation will continue after a land reform programme. It is therefore critical to understand how land changes hands in families and in sectors, so as to clearly understand the state of the sector at any point. Land allocation has an impact in terms of what land is under production at any time, and therefore on agriculture outputs and food security. Ruzivo therefore studies allocation on based on gender, age, and class parameters.
  • Productivity and investments: how land is used, by who (skills sect), and the output is central in agriculture. Land reform at some stage, has to give way to a focus on agriculture. In this context, the research work of Ruzivo is aimed at understanding how the land is being used, and helping to find alternatives to better efficient land utilization.

Land Investments in Zimbabwe

land-investments-in-zimbabweRuzivo Trust entered into a new collaboration with PLAAS strengthening its regional collaboration. The work builds on the highly popular book produced by Ruzivo Trust in 2011 titled “Bio-fuels, Land Grabbing and Food Security in Africa” published by ZED books in London. The new study on the impact of land investments is a two-year (2013-2015) project aimed at deepening knowledge on the impact of land investments, with case studies in Mwenezi district in Masvingo province as well as Chisumbanje in Manicaland province. Through the study, aspects such as the economic and social multiplier effects of large-scale agro-investments in rural Zimbabwe are being investigated. A series of activities including fieldwork, regional workshops and desk research form part of the research process on a topical issue in Southern Africa. The issues we are addressing go beyond the deals, towards better understanding of the distribution of costs and benefits to local communities, the private sector (investing companies), government (as a shareholder in private markets).

A priority is to examine the impact of the investments on land and other resources rights of local communities, which provides different nuances in both Mwenezi and Chisumbanje. Whereas in Mwenezi new communities of the fast track land reform programme are in the process of establishing, meaning limited social cohesion, this is different for Chisumbanje. In fact, the local communities of Chisumbanje have experienced displacement historically by both the state and the private sector, which provides leverage to better understanding the history of resources contestations in which the private sector had regained prominence, in the back of a reform programme aimed precisely at limiting its influence in resource control and beneficiation. A key promise made by both the government and the private companies is that the land investment is good for the national economy, good for jobs, and good for the local people. Through qualitative fieldwork, we would like to hear the stories of the local communities, and to establish whether the promised revenue, jobs and ‘development’ has happened, and how it  impacts on livelihoods. At the end, with a body of knowledge on the local perspective, we will analyse the role of land laws and policies in enabling local land rights holders to refuse the deals or to negotiate the terms effectively and to their benefit; and the impact on governance and democracy. The issue of contract farming as a popular prescription will be interrogated in view of the compounding problems that such outgrower schemes have generated beyond the confines of the sites of these investments.

Economic Empowerment Research

economic-empowerment-researchIn all Ruzivo programmes, a key objective is the empowerment of smallholders across social strata. Therefore, we identify research niches and carry out applied research aimed at broad-based empowerment of the vulnerable and marginalized. Through our research products, we aim to provide society with capacity to make meaningful choices based on identified opportunity structures (formal and informal) so that society becomes self-reliant and confident. Our research therefore help individuals within the society to improve the quality of their own lives and share equitably in the benefits of socio-economic development.


Contact Details

28 Greendale Avenue
Greendale, Harare



+263 772  302 953
+263 773 853 641

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