Land Investments, Food Systems Change and Democracy in Kenya and Mozambique

Open Access Journal | ISSN: 2183-2463

Article | Open Access

Land Investments, Food Systems Change and Democracy in Kenya and Mozambique


  • Koen Dekeyser DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security and Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract:  In Africa, food systems intersect with dynamics such as demographic growth, urbanisation, and climate change, as African food systems are key drivers of livelihood provision, development, and human-environment interactions. The governance of African food systems shapes how food systems are changing as a response to these dynamics, which will have important social, economic, and ecological impacts for generations of Africans. This article positions large land investments in food system changes in central Kenya and northern Mozambique based on a large-scale household survey and interviews, and uses these findings to debate the concept of food democracy. Large land investments contributed to more modern food systems, which impacted land availability, household’s engagement in agriculture, and supply chains. These changes shifted power and control in local food systems. But even in the ‘extreme’ example of land investments, local perspectives challenge what could, and could not, be included in a democratic food system.

Keywords:  food democracy; food systems; Kenya; land investments; large agricultural investments; Mozambique

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.17645/pag.v7i4.2101


© Koen Dekeyser. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits any use, distribution, and reproduction of the work without further permission provided the original author(s) and source are credited.