Land-scarce Rwanda is an unlikely place in which to find ‘land grabbing’. However, an ongoing legal, institutional and financial re-configuration of the agricultural sector in Rwanda facilitates increased penetration of rural smallholder farming systems by Rwandan and international capital which may include some large-scale ‘land grabbing’ by foreign corporations. More often, foreign agricultural investment in Rwanda is likely to take the form of involvement in contract farming arrangements with cooperatives. Such contracts are facilitated by the state, which when necessary uses coercive mechanisms as well as highly interventionist strategies (such as regional crop specialization policies and mandatory land use consolidation)to create an ‘enabling environment’ for agricultural investment. The Rwandan government has adapted neo-liberal tools, such as ‘performance management contracts’, through which it makes local public administrators accountable for agricultural ‘development’ targets, which are often explicitly linked to corporate interests. Philanthropic activities by international development agencies are also often intertwined with the activities of the state and foreign capital, so that a variety of actors and objectives are collaboratively changing the relations between land and labour, and exposing smallholder farmers to regional and global markets. Such processes suggest that the global ‘land grab’ is only one aspect of broader patterns of reconfiguration of control over land and labour in the Global South, and that critical attention should be paid to various modes of ‘agricultural investment’, not just acquisition of large areas of land.
Huggins, C. LDPI Working Paper 16. Consolidating land, consolidating control: State-facilitated &#8216;agricultural investment&#8217; through the &#8216;Green Revolution&#8217; in Rwanda. The Land Deal Politics Initiative, (2013) 26 pp.
LDPI Working Paper 16. Consolidating land, consolidating control: State-facilitated ‘agricultural investment’ through the ‘Green Revolution’ in Rwanda