Agricultural Investors as Development Actors? (AIDA)

Project summary

Like agricultural investors from other non-African countries, Danish farmers and institutional investors are increasingly attracted by the invitations extended by African governments to invest in agriculture as well as by the encouragement they receive to do so, e.g. from the Danish government. The range of potential development outcomes at national as well as at local livelihood level from such investments is wide. Thus, international organisations like the UN are striving to develop an institutional framework for governing such global, private investment flows in order to enhance development outcomes and safeguard human rights. The Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems (CFS-RAI) are the latest addition to this framework.

Tanzania and Uganda are among the countries that have generated interest among Danish agricultural investors. At the same time, the two countries pursue different strategies to attract foreign agricultural investments. Through a multi-layered case study approach, this project aims to enhance positive and safeguard against negative development outcomes from the growing involvement of foreign investors and investments in agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa. Taking Danish agricultural investors as a case of foreign agricultural investors, the project explores the expectations, e.g. economic, societal, etc., that motivate investment decisions and the attention paid to emerging rights-based investment governance principles. Taking the location of Danish agricultural investments in Tanzania and Uganda as the geographical starting point, the project examines the development outcomes at sub-national level of foreign agricultural investments for people living in and using land in their vicinity. Informed by literature, and drawing on the specific research competences held by the research team, the project will in particular focus upon development outcomes with respect to employment, land tenure security and water security.


Midterm report 2019:

Data obtained from the questionnaire survey, involving interviews with 400 respondents from each of the 6 research locations, i.e. a total of 2,400 respondents, has been entered into two databases. These databases have been cleaned and analysis is underway alongside the elaboration of draft manuscripts for working papers as well as for journal articles.

In addition, each of the three PhD candidates have collected separate datasets of specific relevance to their respective PhD topics.

Preliminary analysis of questionnaire data also served as point of departure for qualitative field work conducted in the Karatu and Iringa research locations in Tanzania in February 2020, during which insights from the questionnaire data, e.g. relating to employment preferences and land and water access and tenure security, were further explored.  The manuscript for the literature review on the emerging global framework for the governance of large-scale land-based investment was finalised and published as a DIIS Working Paper.

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