Date of Conferral







Daphne Halkias


AbstractThe sustainability of smallholder farms in Southern Africa is largely dependent on farmers’ decision-making abilities regarding land management practices; however, smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe have knowledge gaps on sustainable land management practices. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to gain a deeper understanding of specific knowledge gaps among smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe to tailor sustainable land management training to their needs. To address the research problem and purpose of the study, qualitative data were collected from multiple sources of evidence, including semistructured interviews with 7 smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe, archival data, and reflective journaling notes. This study was framed, first, by Ashely and Carney’s sustainable livelihoods framework and, second, by Leach, Mearns, and Scoones’s environmental entitlements framework. Fifteen themes were gleaned from five conceptual coding categories grounded in the conceptual framework: (a) relationship with trainers, (b) materials provided by trainers for sustainable land management, (c) land management strategies needed by farmers, (d) sustainable land management activities favored by farmers, and (e) unfavorable conditions for smallholder farmers. There is a need for agricultural transformation in Zimbabwe to drive change in knowledge systems, technology development and delivery, institutions, and policies. This research study may contribute to positive social change by providing training and innovative methods of sustainable land management practices to smallholder farmers in Zimbabwe aimed at improved rural food security and livelihoods, viable crop-livestock systems, and market participation.