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The Rush for Land and Agricultural Investment in Ethiopia: What We Know and What We Are Missing

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  • Logan Cochrane

    (Institute of Policy and Development Research, Hawassa University, Hawassa 05, SNNPR, Ethiopia
    Global and International Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada)

  • Danielle D. Legault

    (Global and International Studies, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON K1S 5B6, Canada)

Abstract

More than a decade has passed since the triple crises of food, energy and finance in the period 2007–2008. Those events turned global investor interest to agriculture and its commodities and thereafter the leasing of tens of millions of hectares of land. This article reviews and synthesizes the available evidence regarding the agricultural investments that have taken place in Ethiopia since that time. We use a systematic review approach to identify literature from the Web of Science and complement that with additional literature found via Google Scholar. Qualitative and quantitative methods are used to analyze the available literature. In so doing, we raise questions of data quality, by analyzing the evidence base used by many studies (the Land Matrix database) and compare it with data we obtained from the Government of Ethiopia. We find that while the Land Matrix is the largest available database, it appears to present only a fraction of the reality. In critically assessing the literature, we identify areas that have been under-researched or are missing from the literature, namely assessments of gendered impacts, the role of diaspora and domestic investors, interdisciplinary approaches (e.g., integrating climate change, biodiversity, and water), and studies that move beyond technical assessment, such as looking at the impacts on traditional knowledge and socio-cultural systems.

Suggested Citation

  • Logan Cochrane & Danielle D. Legault, 2020. "The Rush for Land and Agricultural Investment in Ethiopia: What We Know and What We Are Missing," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(5), pages 1-13, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jlands:v:9:y:2020:i:5:p:167-:d:361536
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lorenzo Cotula & Carlos Oya & Emmanuel A. Codjoe & Abdurehman Eid & Mark Kakraba-Ampeh & James Keeley & Admasu Lokaley Kidewa & Melissa Makwarimba & Wondwosen Michago Seide & William Ole Nasha & Richa, 2014. "Testing Claims about Large Land Deals in Africa: Findings from a Multi-Country Study," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 50(7), pages 903-925, July.
    2. Tola Gemechu Ango, 2018. "“Medium-Scale” Forestland Grabbing in the Southwestern Highlands of Ethiopia: Impacts on Local Livelihoods and Forest Conservation," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(1), pages 1-20, February.
    3. Bamlaku Alamirew & Harald Grethe & Khalid Hassan Ali Siddig & Tesfamicheal Wossen, 2015. "Do land transfers to international investors contribute to employment generation and local food security?: Evidence from Oromia Region, Ethiopia," International Journal of Social Economics, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 42(12), pages 1121-1138, December.
    4. Baumgartner, Philipp & von Braun, Joachim & Abebaw, Degnet & Müller, Marc, 2015. "Impacts of Large-scale Land Investments on Income, Prices, and Employment: Empirical Analyses in Ethiopia," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 175-190.
    5. Negash, Martha & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2013. "Biofuels and food security: Micro-evidence from Ethiopia," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 963-976.
    6. Sileshi Degefa & Osamu Saito, 2017. "Assessing the Impacts of Large-Scale Agro-Industrial Sugarcane Production on Biodiversity: A Case Study of Wonji Shoa Sugar Estate, Ethiopia," Agriculture, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 7(12), pages 1-15, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lucia Palšová & Anna Bandlerová & Zina Machničová, 2021. "Land Concentration and Land Grabbing Processes—Evidence from Slovakia," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(8), pages 1-16, August.

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