The title of my research is What Future for Smallholders in Developing Countries? An Analysis of Livelihood Prospects in Face of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions in Mozambique.
Most of the research related to this theme has been conducted on a "macro" dimension of analysis. Authors describe the processes that have led to the current wave of land deals in the Global South and explain the differences and continuities with previous acquisitions; point to the intrinsic but seldom transparent interest in water; to the opportunity cost of giving away land in terms of fighting poverty; and to the development opportunities that large-scale investments may represent but also to the risks that they entail.
Notwithstanding an increasing amount of studies within this subject, only a minor part of literature consists of case studies relying on primary sources, and scrutinizing the processes and implications of LSLAs at the local level.
My research investigates these processes and consequences as perceived by different groups that have their livelihoods directly or indirectly impacted by LSLAs.
Some questions that orient my research are:
How do locals perceive the "investments"? What are their expectations and how are these expressed (what are the arenas and channels for interaction and negotiation)?
What new opportunities and/or obstacles emerge, and how do these impact the different groups in place?
Given potential changes in livelihoods, can these be seen as leading to more or less sustainable practices in social and environmental terms?
My research aims to shed light on cases from Mozambique, a country often portrayed as having abundant arable land with pervasive yield gaps.