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Changing agro-food systems: The impact of big agro-investors on food rights

by Refiloe Joala, Phillan Zamchiya, Clemente Ntauazi, Patrick Musole, Caesar Katebe in 2016
Front cover Agro-food

This book presents case studies on changing agro-food systems in Southern Africa within the context of large-scale land-based and agri-business investments. By capturing the testimonies of local people in rural settings, with a particular focus on small-scale farmers, it aims to provide vivid accounts of the micro-level changes underway in agro-food systems in Southern Africa, and to reflect the experiences and perspectives of local people. The book is an outcome of action research undertaken by the the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, in partnership with civil society organisations (CSOs) in Mozambique and Zambia, namely Acção Académica para o Desenvolvimento das Comunidades Rurais (ADECRU) and Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) respectively. In addition to documenting the processes of change underway on the ground, our joint project – Agri-business in Africa and the Right to Food – entailed action research. This meant engaging critically with small-scale farmers to strengthen their understanding of the wider impacts of land-based and agri-business investments and, in this sense, drawing links between small-scale farmers’ struggles over the control and access to productive resources and the right to food, and promoting a more robust public debate about agro-food system changes. This project is a response to the need to understand, and generate knowledge and effective partnerships to respond to the rapid changes underway in African agro-food systems. Therefore, we hope that the case studies and the experiences and responses recorded in this book will be useful to CSOs, social movements, farmers’ organisations and policymakers, and begin an important discussion about agro-food system change in rural and agrarian communities in the region. Packed with accessible information, we hope that this book can be used in training and workshops about changing agro-food systems in the region and strengthen advocacy for the promotion of the right to food.