Land-Based Investments in Global Supply Chains and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups

  • The second phase of the research project “Large-Scale Land Acquisitions, Rural Change, and Social Conflict” focuses on the socio-economic impact of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLA) on local populations, particularly in terms of communal land rights and indigenous groups. Furthermore, it investigates the relationship between LSLA and global (agricultural) supply chains. The project aims to synthesise existing research and generate new evidence at the intersection of rural development and sustainable production and consumption.
    BMZ, 2022

    Logo of BMZ
    Logo of BMZ

    Research Questions

    * What are the risks of large-scale land acquisitions for communal land rights?
    * What are the particular risks of large-scale land acquisitions for indigenous people and how could these be mitigated?
    * What is the relationship between the risks of large-scale land acquisitions and global (agricultural) supply chains?
    * What lessons can be learned for the design of corporate due diligence laws and which concomitant development policy measures should be taken?

    Contribution to International Research

    The research is of particular relevance as millions of hectares of land that have been acquired by foreign investors over the years are still not in production. The potential for policy-makers to have a significant impact for the benefit of local populations is therefore considerable. Establishing the link between land deals and global value chains will, in addition, help design due diligence laws that are currently being developed for instance in the EU. The results of the two strands of the project will contribute by providing evidence going beyond case studies.

    Research Design and Methods

    With data from a lab-in-the-field experiment in rural West Kalimantan, Indonesia, the research project assesses the relationship between large-scale land acquisitions and mental health and well-being. Evidence of non-material impacts of land-based investments is scarce. The research project will apply quasi-experimental approaches and methods from behavioral economics.
    To shed light on the impacts of land investments on communal land rights we will exploit freely available data with quantitative methods.
    The second part of the project focuses on the relationship between land-based investments and global supply chains. Apart from a synthesis of the existing literature we will conceptualise this relationship and their risk factors and apply this in quantitative analysis of secondary data. Among the goals of this part is to assess the data availability and needs to investigate this link.

    Preliminary Findings

    From the first phase of the project we learned that investors often do not follow principles for responsible investments. In a case study on Liberia we show that local communities have largely not been consulted sufficiently and income gains from plantations have been low. Among other findings, this is the starting point for the planned in-depth analysis of this second phase of the project.


    Sign up to receive email notifications about GIGA activities

    Social Media

    Follow us