The effect of large-scale agricultural investments on household food security in Madagascar

04 Dec 2020

Large-scale agricultural investments in developing countries have escalated over the past decade. While much is written about the potential adverse effects of these acquisitions on local communities, there is a paucity of evidence of these impacts. This paper explores the effect of large-scale agribusinesses on household food security in two locations in Madagascar. One is plantation area or Location A and the other one is contract farming area or Location B. The sample of 601 households was classified into households (i) in which at least one member was employed or (ii) contracted to the agribusiness, (iii) in the same area that were neither employees nor contractors (non-engaged) and (iv) counterfactual households from another community. Employment opportunities from the agribusinesses seemed to improved food security. Dietary quality, food security and resilience were higher among employed households. Contract households were generally more food insecure than the counterfactual and non-engaged households. Living in the zone of influence did not seem to have major adverse effects on the food security of non-engaged households. However, female-headed households seemed disadvantaged in terms of access to employment and contracting opportunities. Unless attention is paid to women’s access to employment and contracting opportunities, inequality may be exacerbated.