African Food, Agriculture, Land and Natural Resource Dynamics in the context of global changes

Foreign companies investing in Kenya
Foreign companies investing in Kenya produce luxury goods, such as long-stemmed roses, destined for wealthy industrialized countries. Photo: Lilian Trechsel, CDE

Recent changes in the global agro–food–energy system, driven in part by consumption trends and climate change mitigation efforts, have led to renewed interest in agriculture and a rush to acquire land among international investors. Examples of these changes include the push for use of biofuels or increasing global consumption of meat and other high-cost foods. The broader impacts of these changes are not always clear and many assessments focus mainly on short-term effects at the local (case study) level, without relating them to the wider agrarian and socio-economic transformations that are now underway.

irrigation
A large-scale irrigation system in Kenya. Photo: Nora Lanari

Research focus and objective

The objective of this research project is to improve our understanding of how changes in the global agro–food–energy system affect countries in the global South, especially in Africa. Our research focuses on emerging agrarian investment patterns and how they are shaped by the changing global food system and national governance systems. We are investigating the impacts of changes on land management, agricultural production, food security, and various socio-economic outcomes (e.g. employment and livelihoods). Our analysis includes case studies in Madagascar, Mozambique, and Kenya.
 
Familiy farming
The objective of this research project is to improve our understanding of how changes in the global agro–food–energy system affect countries in Africa. Photo: Gudrun Schwilch, CDE

Scientific and societal context

Ours is an increasingly globalized world in which decisions made in the North can have far-reaching impacts on regions in the global South. Against this backdrop, the current project seeks to trace the connections between local case studies in Africa and our global food systems. Our project aims to generate policy recommendations at home and abroad with respect to agricultural production and investments, sustainable use of natural resources (soils, water, vegetation), and food security. The project receives funding from Switzerland (Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF), France, and South Africa.

Project duration: 1 March 2015 to 1 March 2018

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The project is being carried out in close collaboration with the University of Pretoria, CIRAD, the International Land Coalition, NEPAD Business Foundation, and national partner organizations in the countries concerned.

For further information about the project please visit our project webpage.