Examining the Politics of Land Rush in Malawi’s Outgrower Farming System: The Case of Kasinthula Cane Growers Limited

(di Michael Chasukwa) (Abstract)



Debates on land grabs have dominated the literature tackling issues on the future of agriculture and agrarian transformation in Africa. This paper focuses on the politics of land grabs in Malawi. It pays attention to the interests of actors and how these interests are pursued using comworks, narratives and institutions in the process of acquiring land.  The paper adopts a qualitative research design with Kasinthula Cane Growers Limited as a case study. The main argument of the paper is that land grabs in the current wave involve direct and indirect means of acquiring land, including; outgrower schemes, co-management, Premium Fairtrade, and shareholding. The economic justifications such as agricultural investment, job creation, generation of foreign and improved economic status are used to sign off land deals between local communities and powerful political and economic elites at the local and national level. In addition, the paper argues that land deals largely ignore the local context which poses a threat to food security and livelihoods of local community members. This paper urges policymakers to conduct a political economy analysis of land deals that establishes the com benefits before finalising the transfer of land ownership so as to protect the immediate and strategic interests of the country as well as the livelihoods of local communities.


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