Transformations of rural spaces in Mozambique

Gaza Province, Mozambique, May 2014. Francisco Diaz, left carries greens from his farming plot back to his family from the Baixo Limpopo Irrigation and Climate Resilience Project. Photo: CIF Action.

Workshop in Maputo, 28-29 May 2018

The last decades in Mozambique have been characterized by profound changes in the rural milieu. Despite the persistence of poverty, important investments aiming the economic development of the country have been directed to the rural areas. Some years ago, post-colonial projects for the construction of communal villages and socialization of the countryside through resettlement, coupled with a long war of 16 years and continued labour migration, have generated intense population movements, both between rural areas and urban centres, between neighbouring countries and subsequently of return to places of origin.
 
More recently, the implementation of large-scale projects in rural areas, at the level of extractive industry or agribusiness, has not only been leading to the transformation of the rural areas but also generating a set of tensions and conflicts related to land tenure, population resettlement or livelihoods in general. The development of agribusiness, through large plantations or contract farming can have an impact on the emergence of middle and large producers and on situations of social differentiation, potentially generating social tensions. At the same time, the Mozambican rural landscape is dominated by smallholders, whose livelihood depend on farming and a mix of non-farming activities, and are often extremely vulnerable to shocks and to pressure over resources.
 
The implantation of large-scale mineral related ventures not only transforms the physical landscape and often leads to displacements but also has impacts in the local economies, namely the labour market. In environmental terms, changes taking place in the countryside have implications on wildlife and forest resources and foster further concerns about climate change, about risks to agricultural production and food security. In this scenario of transformation, new civil society organizations – community radios, unions, producers’ associations, local development initiatives – emerge, and often stumble in the interests of local political, administrative and economic powers, making tensions and social conflicts emerge.
 
In this context, researchers are invited to participate and present papers in a workshop in Maputo, 28-29 May 2018.

The organising team. Nordic Africa Institute, Sweden. Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Económicos, Mozambique. Observatório do Meio Rural, Mozambique. Christian Michelsen Institute, Norway. University of Jyväskylä, Finland.

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