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How and why large-scale agricultural investments induce different socio-economic, food security, and environmental impacts: Evidence from Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique [913]

Giger M., Oberlack C., Anseeuw W., Adelle C., Bourblanc M., Kiteme B., Burnod P., Eckert S., Fouilleux E., Hendriks S., Mercandalli S., Reys A., Da Silva M., Van Der Laan M., Zahringer J., Messerli P.. 2019. Bern : Global Land Programme, 3 p.. Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme OSM2019. 4, 2019-04-21/2019-04-24, Bern (Suisse).

Changes to the global agro-food-energy system (e.g. changing consumption patterns in the North (SNF, 2012), Europe's Climate and biofuel policies, etc.) over the past few years have led to a renewed interest in agriculture and a rush to acquire land (Cotula, 2012; Anseeuw et al, 2013). The impacts of this rush on sustainability are not always evident as its assessments focus on the short-term and generally remain at a case study level, without considering the broader agrarian and socio-economic transformations it entails (Borras et al. 2012). If a consensus emerges regarding the necessity of additional investment into agriculture (FAO, 2010), it is less evident whether large-scale agricultural investments (LAI) are a vector for broader agrarian and socio-economic transformations in a sustainable manner (Borras et al. 2012, Deininger and Byerlee 2011; Collier and Dercon 2014). Despite a growing literature (World Bank, 2010; White et al., 2012, Cotula 2014 etc.), most assessments of LAI impacts tend to remain local, in the form of specific case-studies, and are often short term without broader contextualization (Fairhead et al., 2012). Efforts to overcome these limitations through different types of meta-analyis have been undertaken (Oberlack et al., 2015, Schoneveld 2014, Schoneveld 2017, Dell'Angelo et al. (2017). However, a more empirical understanding of the diverse changes and impacts at various levels is necessary for reflecting on visions for the planetary land system. Against this backdrop, this paper presents the results of a study aiming, on one hand, at assessing the changes and impacts of LAIs at various (individual, household, regional) levels within target regions, and on the other hand, at a nuanced account of how and why LAIs subsequently induce diverse regional development trajectories in these regions. We focus on LAIs in Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique. Specifically, this study provides a cross-national comparative analysis of business models, land-use changes, governance dynamics of LAIs and their socio-economic, food security, and environmental impacts in Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique. It brings together the individual results on these aspects, which were generated in the Afgroland project ( The following research question guides this analysis: How do contextual and institutional nuances of large-scale agricultural investments impact on land-use changes, the organization of production and investment processes, socio-economic outcomes, food security, and the environment in LAI target regions in Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique? Methodologically, this study utilizes a set-theoretic methodology for a case-based comparative analysis. It responds to calls for the use of robust empirical methodologies to provide reliable evidence on the impacts of LAIs and to expand the use of comparative methods to attribute LAI impacts to causal factors. Data were collected in six study areas in the three countries by means of household surveys with more than 1500 households, more than 200 key-informant and in-depth interviews with business managers, policymakers, households, development agencies, and NGOs; remotely sensed data between 2016 and 2018, and complemented with document analysis. Data analysis involved mixed qualitative and quantitative techniques. A first set of tentative results, more conceptual in nature, show that LAIs induce regional development trajectories with sustainability impact patterns that can be characterized as conflictual sustainability trade-offs; employment vs. land access and environment trade-offs; widespread hostility; or moderate impacts. The set-theoretic analysis shows that the operational farm size, labour intensity, experience in local agriculture or domestic origin of investors, and prior land uses have the most significant impact on land-use changes, evolution of business models and adaptation of governance systems:. These transformation patterns are described in ...

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