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Who gains from contract farming? Dependencies, power relations, and institutional change.

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author AdamsTimothy, GerberJean-David, AmackerMichelle, HallerTobias,
Project Large-Scale Land Acquisitions and Gender in Africa: The Impact of Institutional Change and Land Investments on Gender Relations and Food Security
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Journal of Peasant Studies
Page(s) 1 - 23
Title of proceedings Journal of Peasant Studies
DOI 10.1080/03066150.2018.1534100


The paper highlights the mechanisms through which outgrower contract farming creates dependencies at the local level. Using sugarcane case study in Malawi, we show that dependencies are created through redefinition of use rights to customary land and through the redefinition of cash flows into outgrower communities. Through this two-dimensional process, corporations can secure access to land, exert control over local communities and transform the local social relations of reciprocity serving as the pillars of resistance. Our results indicate that contract farming changes rural agrarian relations, transforms local family institutions by carefully selecting a few household members with influence into the scheme and selectively dispossessing the poor community members.