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.
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.
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.