An evolution in the middle: Examining the rise of multinational investment in smallholder grain trading in Zambia | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
décembre 2016
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African agrifood systems are being transformed by multinational capital. To date, research on this transformation has focused most intently on the rise of supermarkets and demand for African land. Multinational investment in African grain trading has received less attention. Using a range of qualitative methods and representative household survey data from Zambia, this article seeks to understand the causes and consequences of multinational investment in smallholder grain markets. We show that multinational investment into smallholder grain and oilseed trading grew substantially between 2012 and 2015. This has been driven by a range of important supply and demand factors, most notably transformations in downstream markets and stable macro-economic conditions. These are highly sensitive to change and highlight the fragility of this investment wave. The expansion of multinational investment has coincided with a drop in margins between farm-gate and wholesale prices. Moreover, these firms appear to be altering the structure and conduct of grain markets in beneficial ways, including expanding the range of services provided to farmers and increasing perceived levels of trust in private market by farmers. However, prices paid to farmers by these firms are lower than traditional small-scale market channels, ceteris paribus.

Auteurs et éditeurs

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 
Sitko, J. N.
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