Africa: Large-scale agricultural investments could threaten small-scale farmers' livelihoods, says Oxfam official
"Africans’ Land Rights at Risk as New Agricultural Trend Sweeps Continent"
After decades of underinvestment, African governments are now looking for new ways to mobilise funding for the sector and to deliver new technology and skills to farmers. Private sector actors are also looking for opportunities within emerging markets in Africa...Large-scale public-private partnerships (PPPs) are an emerging trend across the continent. These so called ‘mega’ PPPs are agreements between national governments, aid donors, investors and multinational companies to develop large fertile tracts of land found near to strategic infrastructure such as roads and ports...These arrangements also threaten to worsen inequality, which is already severe in African countries, according to international measurements. Mega-PPP investments are likely be delivered by – and focus on – richer, well connected companies or wealthier farmers, bypassing those who need support the most. More land will also be placed into the hands of larger players further reducing the amount available for small-scale producers...These asymmetries of power could lead to anti-competitive behaviour and squeeze out smaller local and national companies from emerging domestic markets. Larger companies may also gain influence over government policies that perpetuate their control.