Large-scale agricultural investments in Eastern Africa: consequences for small-scale farmers and the environment

Zaehringer, Julie Gwendolin; Messerli, Peter; Giger, Markus; Kiteme, Boniface; Atumane, Ali; Da Silva, Maya; Rakotoasimbola, Lovasoa; Eckert, Sandra (2021). Large-scale agricultural investments in Eastern Africa: consequences for small-scale farmers and the environment. Ecosystems and people, 17(1), pp. 342-357. Taylor & Francis 10.1080/26395916.2021.1939789

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Available empirical evidence about the impacts of large-scale agricultural investments (LAIs) in low-income countries is skewed towards the assessment of economic benefits. How LAIs affect land use and the environment is less understood. This study assesses how small-scale farmers living close to an LAI perceive the changes LAI's inflict on land use, land management, and tree cover in Kenya, Mozambique, and Madagascar. It also investigates their perceptions regarding LAI's impacts on the general environment and people's health, as well as on employment opportunities, infrastructure, and conflicts. 271 small-scale farmers were interviewed and their perceptions supported by a remote-sensing-based analysis of land use and land cover changes. Results show that LAIs contributed both directly and indirectly to deforestation in Mozambique, triggered changes in small-scale farmers’ agricultural land management in Kenya, and caused pastoralists to lose access to grazing land in Madagascar. Despite some benefits from employment opportunities and infrastructure improvement, the majority of respondents perceived the overall impacts of LAIs as negative, highlighting reduced access to land and water, pollution, health issues, and unsatisfactory working conditions. We urgently need to invest in devising concrete transformative options to improve LAIs’ contribution to sustainable development in their host countries.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability > Unit Land Systems and Sustainable Land Management (LS-SLM)
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography > Geographies of Sustainability
08 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Zähringer, Julie Gwendolin; Messerli, Peter; Giger, Markus; Kiteme, Boniface and Eckert, Sandra

ISSN:

2639-5908

Publisher:

Taylor & Francis

Projects:

[803] Cluster: Land Resources
[401] African Food and Agriculture

Language:

English

Submitter:

Melchior Peter Nussbaumer

Date Deposited:

05 Jul 2021 08:41

Last Modified:

24 Aug 2021 11:59

Publisher DOI:

10.1080/26395916.2021.1939789

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/157267

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/157267

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