(Note: Although this paper focuses on land grabs by domestic investors, the findings are significant for the debate around foreign farmland grabs)
With food-security concerns and the growth of regional markets bringing agriculture back into the spotlight in francophone West Africa, domestic investment in farmland is on the rise.
While high-level policy makers argue that smallholders will not be able to respond to market demand and that agri-business has to be promoted, concerns about the transparency of land deals, the potential exclusion of smallholders from agricultural markets and the growing pressure on land for farming, forestry and livestock need to be addressed.
A new study by SNV and the Royal Tropical Institute Agrarian change below the radar screen: Rising farmland acquisitions by domestic investors in West Africa looks into this new trend, asking who are these new actors are, how they have obtained land and under what conditions, how are they investing, and what the possible consequences are for local farming, rural livelihoods and the environment
Written by SNV’s Joost Nelen and Nata Traoré with Thea Hilhorst of the Royal Tropical Institute, the study presents the results of a 2010 survey on the acquisition of rural land by agro-investors in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, explores the implications of agricultural “modernisation” and discusses local responses to regulate this phenomenon.
Agrarian change below the radar screen: Rising farmland acquisitions by domestic investors in West Africa can be downloaded from the SNV website below:
Agrarian change below the radar screen