Land grabbing and agricultural commercialization duality: Emmanuel Sulle

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In the wake of hiking food and oil prices and persistent high levels of poverty and inequality, most developing countries are resorting to policies aimed at increasing productivity and efficiency in their main economic sectors. Tanzania is implementing a number of initiatives as part of the transformation agenda aimed at modernizing and transforming the agriculture sector through the increased participation of the private sector. This comes in the backdrop of sustained interest from the multinational corporation resorting to the production of a variety of crops for both food and energy supplies in the country. Based on the analysis of policy-making processes and implementation of high-level agricultural commercialization initiatives in Tanzania, this paper argues that while the investment in agriculture is needed to achieve development goals: poverty reduction, food security and improved nutrition, an investment that displaces the rural people and turns them into wage laborers does not meet such goals. The current initiatives are likely to favour large-scale farming at the expense of small-scale producers and potentially distort the rural livelihoods. The government and other stakeholders need to invest in research and development, in the provision of effective public infrastructure and human resources while supporting properly designed arrangements that ensure full participation of small to medium-scale farmers in agriculture.