Agriculture employs around 70% of Zimbabwe’s population, but contributes only 11 to 14% to its GDP1. Around 50% of arable land in Zimbabwe remains uncultivated. In sharp contrast to its earlier status as the breadbasket of Southern Africa, Zimbabwe has been a food deficit country since the 1990s. Its annual food production regularly falls short (by 0.3 to 1.0 million tons) of its annual food requirements of around 1.6 million tons.
Most rural communities live far away from an electricity grid, and rely on firewood, cow dung and charcoal for their energy supply. Over 90% of rural households depend on fuelwood for 96% of their energy needs. Though overall electricity access in Zimbabwe is considerably higher (over 40%)2 than the average for sub‐Saharan Africa (17%), it varies greatly between rural and urban communities, and between the poor and non‐poor within these communities. In 2001, around 19% of poor and 53% non‐poor households nationwide had access to electricity. In rural areas, the percentages were 2% and 11% respectively.