Contract farming and the reorganisation of agricultural production within the Chókwè Irrigation System, Mozambique

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Abstract

This paper contributes to the discussion about ‘inclusive business models’ as alternatives to large-scale land acquisitions by analysing a case in which a foreign agribusiness investor, within an impact investment paradigm, acquired and rehabilitated a rice processing plant in Chókwè, Mozambique. A contract farming programme drawn up to source raw produce for the factory led to radical shifts in control over land and water resources. The case is set against the background of a large-scale irrigation system that has played an important role in national agricultural policies since colonial times. The private sector-led development approach is strongly supported by the state which portrays it as an opportunity to reduce its dependency on rice imports. The investor redirected the benefits of land and water use through taking a role of coordination and control within the irrigated production system. The ensuing rural transformation reminds one of earlier periods in the development of the irrigation system: the central control over production, and the very high level of agricultural inputs and mechanisation, remind one of the state socialist period, while the removal of smallholders from their land and its concentration in the hands of a few bears a strong resemblance to the scheme’s establishment under colonial rule
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1028
JournalThe Journal of Peasant Studies
Volume42
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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