Large scale agro investments in Tanzania – impacts on smallholder land access and food security

Researchers: Kjell Havnevik and Linda Engström

Project established in 2012.

Research Group: Kjell Havnevik, professor, Nordic Africa Institute, project leader, researcher Linda Engström, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, researcher/lecturer Jumanne Abdallah, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania, and professor Lennart Salomonsson, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences.

Research Project 2012 - 2015

One perspective on globalisation is that it encourages international price competitiveness and technology improvements, thus undermining employment growth. Often overlooked is that products for the international market can primarily be produced by large corporations. Currently such corporations are sourcing land for investment in food and energy production in Africa. Such corporations can develop subcontracting relations with or offer wage labour opportunities to local producers. A World Bank report (2010) estimates that close to 6 million ha of land are required annually until 2030 for global biofuel production and that “two thirds of this expansion will be in Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America.”

The research will investigate large-scale agro investments in biofuels in the context of Tanzania and whether/how they lead to economic exclusion of rural smallholders. The objectives are to identify the character and implications of exclusions on both the production and consumption side, for men and women. The research will focus (i) on exclusions for smallholders’ and village land access, local food production, nutrition levels and food prices and (ii) the extent to which increased rural wage and contract employment (inclusion) related to the investments may offset the exclusionary effects. The combined measure of these effects we define as food security, i.e. changes in production, nutrition and food entitlements, e.g. wage and contractual incomes (Sen 1981). We will also measure the impacts on different village economic strata (poor, middle and higher income) and women and men in order to capture dynamics changes of socio/economic character. The project will thus be able to identify a possible conflict between using land for energy or household agricultural/food production and how this conflict plays out in terms of changes in household food security.

Biomass energy
East Africa
Kjell Havnevik
Land use
Large scale agro investments
Linda Engström
employment growth
energy production
food production
food security
international market
large corporations
local producers
smallholder land access
sourcing land
technology improvements
wage labour
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