The Netherlands Land Academy (LANDac) and the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP), together with CIFOR and Shared Value Foundation have started the Learning Platforms on Land Governance and Food Security. Building on activities of the LANDac and F&BKP, the Learning Platforms will facilitate exchanges and dialogue between private sector partners and local stakeholders in investment hubs in different countries. Activities are part of the LANDac/F&BKP learning agenda on land governance and food security, including the scoping study Flowers for Food? and three country-specific workshops on Land Governance and Food Security (LGFS).
In the coming two months, Emilinah Namaganda and Gemma Betsema will start working in the Southern Agricultural Growth Corridor in Tanzania to collaborate with stakeholders and identify common objectives and action plans for the coming year. Investment areas in Uganda and Mozambique will follow later this year.
In recent years, debates around land-based investments have focused on making investments more inclusive and sustainable, including raising companies’ Corporate Social Responsibility profile. Within approaches of ‘inclusive business’ or ‘shared value creation’, the use of multi-stakeholder processes has been on the rise. By bringing together different stakeholders and exchanging views, it is the aim of these approaches to make businesses beneficial for everyone involved. However, what is less clear in the existing processes is how local stakeholders are represented in the discussions, including diversities and dynamics at the local level, existing expectations, and livelihood priorities and engagement with businesses. Moreover, impact analyses tend to be biased towards economic impacts (namely job creation) and environmental impacts of the investment instead of social impacts. At the same time, this project aims to take into account people that live near the investment but are not directly involved in the business model.
With the goal of including local context in multi-stakeholder processes, this collaborative project will organize three Learning Platforms on Land Governance and Food Security in which local knowledge and bottom-up research is combined with multi-stakeholder learning and dialogue, accompanied by follow-up activities for implementation and monitoring. The Learning Platforms will focus on concrete investments in Tanzania, Mozambique and Uganda; countries that are receiving large-scale land-based investments. The Learning Platforms consist of bottom-up research around specific investments with the aim to map the local context. The findings will be brought into three-day learning meetings with the investor and different stakeholders involved. The learning meetings will lead to the identification of actions that can contribute to better aligning investments with the local context. In the remainder of the year, several shorter follow-up meetings with stakeholder groups will be organized to ensure that the change processes are monitored.
Aims and goals
By starting the Learning Platforms with bottom-up research of diversity in the local context, the project aims to better align the investments with local needs and expectations while starting an open exchange about innovative approaches to improve impacts locally. Communities will have better information about the investment, while investors increase their knowledge about what is happening in the area, including business risks and opportunities.