Community-Based Enterprises: Their Role in Sustainable Natural Resource Management and Rural Livelihoods in Zimbabwe

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"The diversity of natural resources found within Zimbabwe's communal lands and the equally diverse rural livelihood activities suggests that there is a range of opportunities that can be derived from their management and utilization. Over the past six years the Southern Alliance for Indigenous Resources (SAFIRE) has facilitated the development and commercialization of several natural products, namely, crafts, herbal tea, mesa jam, baobab products (pulp and oil), marula oil and kigelia extract, hardwood furniture, marula jelly and manketii oil, including community-based natural resources management (CBNRM) as a key activity in the development of community-based enterprises (CBEs). This paper examines the emergence and development of CBEs in Zimbabwe. It attempts to answer the following questions: What are the new forms of formal collective action around common property resources (CPRs) that are emerging in relationship to market opportunities? What lessons can be learnt from the market-oriented commons management? Are foods, beverages, fuels, construction materials, medicines related CBEs viable market institutions or are the transaction costs too high for indigenous and other local communities? Are CBEs competitive in markets that demand efficient, high quality production?"



IASC, common pool resources, community participation, CBRM, rural affairs, livelihoods, markets, collective action, entrepreneurship