Large-scale agricultural investments and household vulnerability to food insecurity: Evidence from Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique


  • Wegayehu Fitawek University okf Pretoria
  • Sheryl L Hendriks Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, University of Pretoria



Large-scale agricultural investment, food insecurity, coping strategy, vulnerability, ordered probit model


This study set out to estimate the role of large-scale agricultural investments on household vulnerability to food insecurity in sample communities in Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique based on their adoption of coping strategies. The study used secondary data from the three countries (Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique). The findings of the study revealed that households with members engaged in contract agreements with LSAIs adopted fewer coping strategies and were less food insecure than other households. Contract farming households seemed to cope better during food shortages (based on the marginal effects of the model). In comparison, households with members employed by a LSAI adopted more coping strategies than contract farming households. This might be because households with employed members had smaller numbers of livestock and smaller landholdings. Many LSAIs jobs were seasonal and low-paid, making the household less able to cope with food shortages. The study confirmed that households with more educated heads, smaller households, larger plot sizes and more livestock were less likely to slip into deeper levels of food insecurity should they face adversity. Most employed household heads had migrated from nearby districts. The job opportunities helped migrant workers mediate food insecurity. These results suggest that governments hosting LSAIs can promote plantation and contract farming that protect the land ownership of smallholder farmers, transfer good agricultural practices to improve agricultural production, household incomes and food security of smallholder farmers.

Author Biographies

Wegayehu Fitawek, University okf Pretoria

Wegayehu Fitawek is a PhD candidate in Agricultural Economics at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. She got a PhD scholarship from Land Matrix Initiative and working as data editor for Africa on the Land Matrix website. She is a fellow of the Netherlands Land Academy (LANDac). She has a Bachelor of Sciences in Agricultural Economics from Haramaya University and Masters in Agricultural Economics from the University of Pretoria and Haramaya University. Her PhD research focuses on the impact of large-scale agricultural investments on household food security in Africa.

Sheryl L Hendriks, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, University of Pretoria

Professor Sheryl Hendricks is the Head of Department and Professor, Department of Agricultural Economics, Extension and Rural Development, University of Pretoria, South Africa. She is a food security expert with extensive experience in policy analysis and programme design as well as food security monitoring and evaluation systems. She is engaged in high-level global food security policy think tanks and panels, is influential in food security and nutrition policy circles in Africa and actively supports food policy reform in African countries.


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How to Cite

Fitawek, W., & Hendriks, S. L. (2022). Large-scale agricultural investments and household vulnerability to food insecurity: Evidence from Kenya, Madagascar and Mozambique. African Journal on Land Policy and Geospatial Sciences, 5(1), 117–138.

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