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Long-term outcomes of agricultural investments: Lessons from Zambia

Fison Mujenja, Charlotte Wonani

Report/paper, 68 pages

Agricultural investments involving the acquisition of long-term rights over large areas of land in developing countries have been the focus of much debate in recent years. Many have welcomed the renewed momentum for private investment in agriculture, but trends towards large-scale land acquisitions raise major social, economic and environmental concerns. While calls for more inclusive investment models have multiplied, there is limited understanding of what works and under what conditions. For many recent agricultural investments, it is just too early to assess socio-economic outcomes.

This report discusses two agricultural investments in Zambia. Both projects started as state-led, development-oriented initiatives in the 1970s and early 1980s, and were later privatised. This long implementation history provides an opportunity to assess the longer-term socio-economic outcomes of agricultural investments, and to distil insights on practical ways to include lower-income groups in investment processes.

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