Land Use Change : Complexities in the initial phase of a Malagasy land deal

Detta är en Kandidat-uppsats från Linnéuniversitetet/Institutionen för samhällsvetenskaper, SV

Sammanfattning: Land deals are common in resource-rich countries and have increased during the past years. Contributing factors to the augmentation of land investments in agriculture and forestry are known to be climate change, rising global food prices, rising income levels and changing diets. The international debate on the topic points at the fact that these types of investments create not only great opportunities but also risks and challenges to the host countries, which often have high poverty rates. In order for land deals to be beneficial for all involved actors there is a voiced need for information about the performances and processes of large-scale land deals already at early stages. The objective of this study is to identify and understand the complexities at household level in relation to a new land deal and to explain how these complexities might hinder positive impacts on rural development that this land deal can entail. This thesis draws on a field study of one particular new land deal, Rainbow Oil, in Madagascar where the phenomenon has become substantial during the past few years. The material has been collected through semi-structured interviews and observations as part of an ethnographic approach. Interviews have been made with the investor and authorities at multiple levels but mainly with peasants in the concerned villages. The findings of the study have been analyzed using the sustainable livelihoods framework which permits the analysis to be both holistic and people-centered. Results from the study indicate that hopes for rural development due to the land deal of Rainbow Oil are evident but that certain factors in the peasants’ access to livelihood assets seem to hinder them from engaging in the land use change. Concluding remarks from the results of the study demonstrate that the investor might not have recognized the necessary prerequisites for a successful involvement of the local populations. Deficiencies in the communication between the actors seem to have created uncertainties and skepticism that can further impede both the development of the land use change itself and in turn also the possible development of particularly the concerned villages. 

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