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Land grabbing

Agricultural Diversification and Dietary Diversity: a Feminist Political Ecology of the Everyday Experiences of Landless and Smallholder Households in Northern Ghana


Nyantaki-Frimpong, Hanson. 2017. “Agricultural Diversification and Dietary Diversity: a Feminist Political Ecology of the Everyday Experiences of Landless and Smallholder Households in Northern Ghana.” Geoforum 86: 63-75.

Author: Hanson Nyantaki-Frimpong


There is an emerging literature suggesting that when smallholder households diversify their agriculture, a wide range of food groups will be available, and consequently, dietary diversity will be improved. The present article brings this literature into critical conversation with research in feminist political ecology. Grounded in five years of repeated fieldwork, the article weaves together 70 in-depth interviews, and dietary as well as farm production diversity data from 30 households in northern Ghana. This dataset is analyzed by considering not only the diversity of farming systems, but also household headship, including male-headed, de facto female-headed, and de jure female-headed. Among other findings, the paper suggests that dietary diversity scores are lowest for households who have lost their farmlands to on-going land grabbing in Ghana. Furthermore, the paper suggests that while agricultural diversification is essential, it is not sufficient in itself to address nutritional challenges confronting smallholder households. In the contested and political arena of the household, the gendered politics of access to food can deeply shape how agricultural diversification contributes to dietary diversity. Overall, I do not wish to conclude that there are no benefits of increasing the diversity of farm production. Rather, I wish to stress that farm production diversity might not be the best or only strategy to improving dietary diversity among rural households. Through this case study, I also contribute to emerging research in new feminist political ecologies by demonstrating how the intersection of gender, seniority, marital status, and sexual politics shapes resource access and control.

Keywords: farm production diversity, dietary diversity, land, gender, feminist political ecology, Ghana

Topics: Agriculture, Feminisms, Feminist Political Ecology, Gender, Women, Households, Intersectionality, Land grabbing Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2017

New Agribusiness Investments Mean Wholesale Sell-out for Women Farmers


Tandon, Nidhi. 2010. “New Agribusiness Investments Mean Wholesale Sell-out for Women Farmers.” Gender & Development 18 (3): 503–14.

Author: Nidhi Tandon


Globalisation impacts on local land markets and land-use; land transaction costs affect food prices; and the combined effect is particularly damaging to women who produce food and who put food on the table for their families. This paper examines three issues: what is attracting investors and market speculators into the farm and land sectors? What is at stake for small farmers and especially women farmers and long-term impacts for food production and food security? And what action is needed to enable women to secure access to natural resource and land assets for current and future generations?

Keywords: land-grab, food prices, women farmers, commodity futures trading

Topics: Agriculture, Gender, Women, Globalization, Land grabbing, Security, Food Security

Year: 2010

Post-Earthquake Land Appropriations and the Dispossession of Rural Women in Haiti


Steckley, Marylynn, and Joshua Steckley. 2019. “Post-Earthquake Land Appropriations and the Dispossession of Rural Women in Haiti.” Feminist Economics 25 (4): 45-67.

Authors: Marylynn Steckley, Joshua Steckley


This study examines the trajectory of rural women’s labor in the wake of post-earthquake land appropriations in Haiti. Drawing on ethnographic field research conducted between 2010 and 2013, it explores gendered access to land in Haiti in both historical and contemporary contexts, paying attention to the nature of rural gender relations and how they influence women’s access to land and their roles in petty commerce. The study describes the stratification of rural market women, their lived experience, and how losing land access will affect their traditional roles as market women. Ultimately it argues that without access to land, and a paucity of available wage work, recent dispossession will intensify existing vulnerabilities for rural women and narrow their means of household production by forcing them to depend on informal market activity in their roles as machann (market women). 

Keywords: women's labor, primitive accumulation, agrarian transition, Haiti, earthquake, land grabs

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Women, Households, Land grabbing, Livelihoods, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Americas, Caribbean countries Countries: Haiti

Year: 2019

Ensuring Gender-Equity in Compensation and Resettlement Schemes Related to Commercial Land Investments in Tanzania and Mozambique


Salcedo-La Viña, Celine, and Laura Notess. 2017. “Ensuring Gender-Equity in Compensation and Resettlement Schemes Related to Commercial Land Investments in Tanzania and Mozambique.” Paper presented at the 18th Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, Washington, DC, March 20-24.

Authors: Celine Salcedo-La Viña, Laura Notess


Large-scale land transfers have a disproportionate impact on women’s land rights. Prior research has shown that women in many countries have limited participation in the decision-making process preceding alienation of land from their communities. This research extends this analysis into the context of compensation and resettlement processes, which are crucial to protecting the rights of local communities impacted by development projects. It does this by examining the relevant law and practice in Tanzania and Mozambique. Both countries have experienced periods of intense investor interest in land acquisition, and have developed some legal protections for the rights of communities to compensation and/or resettlement following land transfers. However, gender-blindness in these provisions permits the perpetuation of practices which negatively impact women’s access to land and overall well-being.

The paper begins by surveying the relevant legal framework for each country, followed by a discussion of compensation and resettlement in practice, informed by a combination of a literature review and field research conducted by in-country partners. It then identifies key regulatory gaps, and proposes specific regulatory reforms to 1) improve women’s participation and representation, 2) ensure women’s inclusion in compensation, and 3) address loss of communal resources and infrastructure in a gender-sensitive manner. 

Keywords: gender, women, land acquisitions, resettlement, compensation

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Development, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique, Tanzania

Year: 2017

Making Women’s Voices Count in Community Decision-Making on Land Investments


Salcedo-La Viña, Celine, and Maitri Morarji. 2016. “Making Women’s Voices Count in Community Decision-Making on Land Investments.” Working Paper, World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.

Authors: Celine Salcedo-La Viña, Morarji Maitri


The adverse impacts of commercialization and large scale land acquisitions in the global South are often disproportionately borne by women. The loss of access to farmland and common areas hit women harder than men in many communities, and women are often excluded from compensation and benefit schemes. Women’s social disadvantages, including their lack of formal land rights and generally subordinate position, make it difficult for them to voice their interests in the management and proposed allocation of community land to investors. While the development community and civil society have pushed for standards and safeguard policies that promote the meaningful involvement of rural communities generally in land acquisitions and investments, strengthening the participation of women as a distinct stakeholder group requires specific attention.

This working paper examines options for strengthening women’s participatory rights in the face of increasing commercial pressures on land in three countries: Mozambique, Tanzania, and the Philippines. It focuses on how regulatory reform—reforms in the rules, regulations, guidelines, and procedures that implement national land acquisition and investment laws—can promote gender equity and allow women to realize the rights afforded by national legal frameworks and international standards. The paper stems from a collaborative project between World Resources Institute and partner organizations in the three countries studied.

Topics: Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equity, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, East Africa, Southern Africa, Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Mozambique, Philippines, Tanzania

Year: 2016

Factors Influencing the Effects of Large-Scale Land Acquisition on the Livelihood of Smallholder Farmers in the Pru District of Ghana


Quansah, Charles, Agyemang Frimpong, and Ronald Osei Mensah. 2020. “Factors Influencing the Effects of Large-Scale Land Acquisition on the Livelihood of Smallholder Farmers in the Pru District of Ghana.” European Scientific Journal 16 (11): 159-77.

Authors: Charles Quansah, Agyemang Frimpong, Ronald Osei Mensah


This study is undertaken to find out the factors influencing the effects of large-scale land acquisition on the livelihood of smallholder farmers in the Pru district. An important driver for large-scale land acquisition in Ghana, and the rest of Africa, is the growing global demand for biofuels and other plantations. Methodologically, mixed method approach was adopted by applying both quantitative and qualitative research designs. Quantitative data was obtained through a cross-sectional survey from smallholder farming households in the study communities of the Pru District with the help of a multi-stage sampling technique and cluster sampling technique. Qualitative data was obtained through Focus Group Discussions (FGD) from farmer- based associations in the Pru district. The Pru district in the Bono East region was purposively selected based on the reason that it is the most affected district with activities of land grabbing in Ghana. Based on the sample frame of 2,554 households in the communities, a sample size of 346 was used for the study out of which 332 were households and 14 were investors and traditional authorities. The study revealed that household heads’ level of education, sex of household heads, household engagement in off-farm activities, total farm land owned by a household, size of land lost by households to large-scale land investors, households’ participation in decision making, and training of households for other alternative jobs significantly influence large-scale land acquisition on the livelihood of smallholder farming households. The study found out that the higher the level of education of a household head, the lesser the household suffers the adverse effects of losing their farm land to large- scale land investors hence their livelihoods. It was revealed that some major factors that influenced large-scale land acquisition in the Pru district were the availability of land for the cultivation of plantations by investors, the soil fertility of the land in the district and the freedom and peace enjoyed by investors to go about their businesses and enjoying good tax exemptions in such an environment thus Pru district.

Keywords: large-scale land acquisition, livelihood, smallholder farmers, household, household head, Pru district

Topics: Agriculture, Education, Gender, Households, Land grabbing Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Ghana

Year: 2020

Large-Scale Land Acquisitions Aggravate the Feminization of Poverty: Findings from a Case Study in Mozambique


Porsani, Juliana, Martina Angela Caretta, and Kari Lehtilä. 2019. “Large-Scale Land Acquisitions Aggravate the Feminization of Poverty: Findings from a Case Study in Mozambique.” GeoJournal 84: 215–36.

Authors: Juliana Porsani, Martina Angela Caretta, Kari Lehtilä


The local implications of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs), commonly referred to as land grabs, are at the center of an exponential production of scientific literature that only seldom focuses on gender. Our case study aims to contribute to filling this analytical gap. Based on structured interviews and focus groups, we investigate local experiences in the lower Limpopo valley in Mozambique, where a Chinese investor was granted 20,000 hectares in 2012. Our findings show that land access in the affected area varied prior to land seizure due to historical land use differences and after land seizure mainly due to non-universal compensation. Furthermore, we show that as farming conditions deteriorate, a trend toward both the feminization of smallholder farming and the feminization of poverty is consolidated. Succinctly, as available land becomes increasingly constricted, labor is allocated differently to alternative activities. This process is by no means random or uniform among households, particularly in a context in which women prevail in farm activities and men prevail in off-farm work. As men disengage further from smallholder farming, women remain directly dependent on fields that are smaller and of worse quality or reliant on precarious day labor in the remaining farms. We contend that the categories female-headed and male-headed households, although not inviolable, are useful in explaining the different implications of LSLAs in areas in which gender strongly substantiates individuals’ livelihood alternatives.

Keywords: female-headed households, feminization of poverty, gender, land grabbing, large-scale land acquisition, Mozambique's Limpopo Valley

Topics: Agriculture, Economies, Poverty, Gender, Households, Land grabbing, Livelihoods Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Mozambique

Year: 2019

Gender and Generation in Southeast Asian Agro-Commodity Booms


Park, Clara Mi Young, and Ben White. 2017. “Gender and Generation in Southeast Asian Agro-Commodity Booms.” The Journal of Peasant Studies 44 (6): 1103–10.

Authors: Clara Mi Young Park, Ben White


This article introduces the Special Issue on ‘Gender and generation in agrarian and environmental transformation in Southeast Asia’. The contributions to this collection focus on the intersecting dynamics of gender, generation and class in Southeast Asian rural communities engaging with expanding capitalist relations, whether in the form of large-scale corporate land acquisition or other forms of penetration of commodity economy. Gender and especially generation are relatively neglected dimensions in the literature on agrarian and environmental transformations in Southeast Asia. Drawing on key concepts in gender studies, youth studies and agrarian studies, the papers mark a significant step towards a gendered and ‘generationed’ analysis of capitalist expansion in rural Southeast Asia, in particular from a political ecology perspective. In this article we introduce the papers and highlight the importance of bringing gender and generation, in their interaction with class dynamics, more squarely into agrarian and environmental transformation studies. This is key to understanding the implications of capitalist expansion for social relations of power and justice, and the potential of these relations to shape the outcomes for different women and men, younger and older, in rural society.

Keywords: gender, generation, agrarian transformation, land grab, capitalist expansion, Southeast Asia

Topics: Age, Youth, Class, Agriculture, Economies, Environment, Gender, Land grabbing Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia

Year: 2017

“Our Lands are Our Lives”: Gendered Experiences of Resistance to Land Grabbing in Rural Cambodia


Park, Clara Mi Young. 2019. “‘Our Lands Are Our Lives’: Gendered Experiences of Resistance to Land Grabbing in Rural Cambodia.” Feminist Economics 25 (4): 21-44.

Author: Clara Mi Young Park


Cambodia is known as a hotspot for land grabbing in Southeast Asia. Land dispossession due to elite capture, natural resources exploitation, and agribusiness development has catalyzed international attention following outbreaks of violence, mass protests, and retaliations. Agrarian economies, as well as social and gender relations and thus power dynamics at different levels, are being transformed and reshaped, facilitated by policies that promote capital penetration in rural areas and individualization of land access. Focusing on cases of rural dispossession and political resistance in Ratanakiri and Kampong Speu provinces, and drawing on reports, government documents, focus group discussions, and interviews, this study analyzes the gendered implications of land grabbing in contemporary Cambodia and argues that gender shapes and informs women’s responses and politics, as well as the spaces in which these are played out.

Keywords: women, gender, land grabs, dispossession, mobilization, Cambodia

Topics: Agriculture, Extractive Industries, Gender, Women, Land grabbing, Political Participation Regions: Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Cambodia

Year: 2019

Land Grab, Property Rights and Gender Equality in Pluralistic Legal Orders: A Nigerian Perspective


 Nwapi, Chilenye. 2016. “Land Grab, Property Rights and Gender Equality in Pluralistic Legal Orders: A Nigerian Perspective.” African Journal of Legal Studies 9 (2): 124–46.

Author: Chilenye Nwapi


This article considers the impact of land grab on the promotion of gender inequality within the Nigerian pluralistic legal order. It examines the interface between customary law and statute law in the determination of land ownership and access in Nigeria. It makes two key arguments. (1) While legal pluralism presents opportunities for curtailing the excesses of customary law, it has often resulted in the dominant legal system – statute law – fostering gender inequality in a manner that is beyond the capacity of the so-called barbaric customary laws. (2) The capacity of law to effectively address the problem of gender inequality within the context of land grab is very limited, because the nature of most land grab-related activities that promote gender inequality are appropriately legal and it is their unintended consequences that undermine women’s rights. The article argues for an effective use of the political process to complement legal interventions.

Keywords: land grab, customary law, statute law, legal pluralism, gender inequality, Property Rights

Topics: Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Governance, Justice, Land grabbing, Rights, Land Rights, Women's Rights Regions: Africa, West Africa Countries: Nigeria

Year: 2016


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