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What Value are Value Chains for Small-Scale Farmers?

Originally published by Food Tank on 02/16/2017

In Mozambique and many other African countries, the Great Land Grab has produced little but headlines and local opposition. In part because of that fierce resistance, mega-deal after mega-deal has collapsed (see an earlier report here).

With many African governments still feeding illusions instead of their people, and with land giveaways to big investors, local farmers are becoming more food insecure as their land rights erode. As a new report—and a compelling video documentary—on Mozambique and Zambia shows, even smaller, less egregious land acquisitions are undermining food security in some of the world’s hungriest countries.

The Soybean Boom

In the southern African country of Mozambique, a few foreign investors have sunk roots to supply soybeans to Mozambique’s rapidly growing poultry industry, which now produces the vast majority of its own chicken. Three large-scale commercial farms now operate in Gurue, in the central province of Zambezia, with government land concessions of 7,500 to 23,000 acres. That is a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of acres threatened by investors in the failing ProSavana project, which was supposed to blanket this region with Brazilian-style soybean plantations. (See earlier articles on this