Malawi: Report on how media campaign reduced land acquisition for agribusiness at expense of peasant farmers
In Chikhwawa and Nkhotakota Districts in Malawi, there have been grave reports of land grabbing and land related conflict due to the expansion of sugarcane cultivation. LandNet Malawi conducted a successful media campaign resulting in the minimisation of land grabbing and dispossession of inhabitants of their land.
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Author: International Land Coalition Secretariat (Italy)
“Media outreach campaign minimises land grabbing”
In 2009 the government of Malawi started promoting commercial agriculture and supporting the acquisition of land on behalf of investors interested in conducting large-scale farming. This took place profusely in areas such as the Chikhwawa and Nkhotakota districts along the Shire River and Lake Malawi respectively, whose soils are fertile and conducive particularly to sugarcane cultivation. As a result of this, pressure on land in these areas increased massively, leading to elites scrambling for land in these areas to benefit from financially…This trickled down to the village level, and manifested itself in local chiefs using their power to grab land from members of their communities, and selling the land to investors and elites. This became a major problem as entire communities, in losing their land, lost their livelihood.
LandNet Malawi collaborated with eight media houses…to launch a media campaign and raise awareness nationally on this situation. Together, they visited the affected areas to hear the villagers’ accounts with regards to what happened to their land, and also to find out what was being done in response to the challenges they were facing.