Large-scale investments in food, fibre and energy: Sustainable options that work for forests and the poor (LIFFE Options)

Researcher: Eileen Dyer


In collaboration with CGIAR’s Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Roskilde University in Denmark and the Utrecht University, LANDac PhD Eileen Dyer studies large-scale investment in food, fibre and energy in Tanzania. The project aims to systematically take stock of sustainable options that work for forest and the poor: the LIFFE-Options project.


The facilitation of services in large-scale agricultural investments in rice and sugar in Tanzania

This project aims to examine the provision and facilitation of services such as extensions services, inputs and credits, irrigation, and others that intend to improve the productivity and effectiveness of the agricultural sector in Tanzania. Agricultural policies in Tanzania have been varied and changing over the years. Recent policies promote large-scale agricultural investments in certain geographical areas of Tanzania and for certain products. Two of these highly-promoted sectors are rice and sugar. Rice is pursued, among other reasons, in its importance as a food crop in order to insure food security. Sugar is being pursued as having the ability for quick development and high returns. Both sectors are also the main targets of the Big Results Now initiative in Tanzania, with the purpose of developing these sectors over the next 10 years.

This project will focus on discovering how these investments are being implemented in local communities, and how they are providing services in order to empower local farmers and raise productivity. In order to do this, a survey of investments in Tanzania will be made, supplying a range of data for describing the current trends in agricultural investment in Tanzania. Second, interviews with relevant stakeholders in the government, NGOs, and private investments will be conducted in order to illustrate the structures around large-scale investments and service provision in Tanzania. Third, a household survey will be conducted at multiple case study sites in order to determine the impact on the local community of the investments, giving the possibility for comparison across rice and sugar. This project aims to add empirically to evidence about large-scale investments in agricultural in Tanzania as well as theoretically in understanding the impact and power structures of such investments through their provision of services.

This project is part of the LIFFE project (Large-scale investments in food, fibre and energy: Sustainable options that work for forests and the poor) at the Center for International Forestry Research.


The LIFFE-Options research programme
The negative socio-economic and environmental impacts of large-scale land use change for plantation agriculture have led to calls for the promotion and adoption of more smallholder-oriented agricultural business models. However, this has been a largely normative debate to date, with important questions relating to the merits and demerits of different business models, the social, economic, and environmental trade-offs of preferencing certain models, and the conditions under which the different models can produce more inclusive and sustainable outcomes remaining underexplored. Through systematic mapping, this study aims to identify the nature, volume, and characteristics of empirical research conducted on these questions. In so doing, it seek to identify knowledge gaps to inform future research and identify sub-topics that warrant further review.