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Why do large-scale agricultural investments induce different socio-economic, food security, and environmental impacts? Evidence from Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique

Oberlack C., Giger M., Anseeuw W., Adelle C., Bourblanc M., Burnod P., Eckert S., Fitawek W., Fouilleux E., Hendriks S., Kiteme B., Masola L., Mawoko Z.D., Mercandalli S., Reys A., Da Silva M., Van Der Laan M., Zaehringer J.G., Messerli P.. 2021. Ecology and Society, 26 (4) : 36 p..

DOI: 10.5751/ES-12653-260418

Large-scale agricultural investments (LAIs) transform land use systems worldwide. There is, however, limited understanding about how the common global drivers of land use change induce different forms of agricultural investment and produce different impacts on the ground. This article provides a cross-country comparative analysis of how differences in business models, land use changes, and governance systems explain differences in socio-economic, food security, and environmental impacts of LAIs in Kenya, Madagascar, and Mozambique. It brings together results on these aspects generated in the AFGROLAND project that collected data in a multi-method approach via household surveys, business model surveys, semi-structured household interviews, life-cycle assessments of farm production, analysis of remote-sensing data, key informant interviews, and document analysis. For the present project synthesis, we combined a collaborative expert workshop with a comparative analysis of 16 LAIs. The results show that the LAIs follow four distinctive impact patterns, ranging from widespread adverse impacts to moderate impacts. Results demonstrate how the following conditions influence how the global drivers of land use change translate into different LAIs and different impacts on the ground: labor intensity, prior land use, utilization of land, farm size, type of production, experience in local agriculture, land tenure security, accountability of state and local elites, the mobilization capacity of civil society, expansion of resource frontiers, agricultural intensification, and indirect land use change. The results indicate that commercial agriculture can be a component in sustainable development strategies under certain conditions, but that these strategies will fail without substantial, sustained increases in the economic viability and inclusiveness of smallholder agriculture, land tenure security, agro-ecological land management, and support for broader patterns of endogenous agrarian transformation.

Mots-clés : Économie agricole; investissement; impacts socio-économiques; changement dans l'usage des terrres; sécurité alimentaire; impact sur l'environnement; stratégies de développement rural; enquêtes auprès des ménages; utilisation des terres; kenya; madagascar; mozambique; investissement agricole

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