The evolution of the Land struggle for smallholder irrigated rice production in Nante, Mozambique

P.W. Beekman, G.J.A. Veldwisch

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The case of Munda Munda irrigation system in Nante, Zambezia, Mozambique, is an example of how a smallholder community, with the active support of local NGOs, has successfully defended its land and water resources against several attempts of resource grabbing. This article examines the strategies the community used to defend its resources. After an initial struggle over legal entitlements the discussion shifted to questions of efficient and productive use of the land. This shift is possible in the context of Mozambican land law which prohibits land from being privately owned while simultaneously aiming to regulate external investments on a basis of arguments of productive use of resources. Smallholders sustained their claim of productive use by switching to ‘modern’ technologies (tractor, fertilizers, improved seeds), investments in infrastructure (rehabilitation and extension of the irrigation system) and commercialisation of their production (increase of yields, processing and marketing). At a second level the case reveals a conflict between two alternative rural development models, the company/concessionary model and the smallholder/cooperative model. The dynamics in Nante are an expression of how this dichotomy plays out at a local level. The article is based on a long-term involvement in the area since 2004
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-184
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of the Earth
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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