Joint International Study on Sustainable Agricultural Development with Small Scale Farmers in the Context of International Agricultural Investment and Land Grabs: The Case of Northern Mozambique
Increased global interest in agriculture has lead to a surge in large-scale agricultural investments in recent years, and to a growing phenomenon known as "land-grabbing". Public private partnerships (PPPs) are the new trend, whereby host and donor countries work together to facilitate private agricultural investment, many of which favor large-scale development. Facing international scrutiny over "land grabbing," companies are now turning increasingly to contract farming models and out-grower schemes with claims to support small-scale farmers. However, the scope of agricultural development often remains large-scale and oriented to global markets, with financial gains accumulating with the investors and the privileged few. On the other end of the spectrum, and as can be symbolically seen in that 2014 is the UN International Year of Family Farming, there has been renewed appreciation for the role of family farming and small-scale farming in poverty alleviation and enhancing local food security. For small-scale farmers, working with diverse crops and in local markets can be more resilient in the face of climate change and unpredictable spikes in international food prices. Mozambique embodies this trend in global agricultural development. The country is moving forward with large scale PPPs, but farmer organizations and civil society are advocating for alternative development approaches to support family farming. This international research project will bring together farmers organizations, civil society, and international academia to conduct a comparative study between contract farming models to alternative approaches proposed by small-scale farmers themselves. Impacts on the livelihood and food security of local farmers will be assessed. Findings will be produced in Portuguese, Japanese and English, contributing to national policy making and to the international debate on the future of sustainable farming approaches necessary to secure much needed progress in strengthening food security and eradicating hunger.