Land investments and food security: The role of local governments - An investigation into the role local governments play in land investments in the horticulture sector in Uganda while considering achieving food security
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The global land grab is a phenomenon that increasingly gained attention among scientists and has led to much international debate. Also in Uganda, large-scale acquisitions of land by foreign investors take place. A topic closely linked to investments in land is food security, which is about the access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food for all people. The topics of land investments and food security come together in the horticulture sector. This sector is the branch of agriculture that deals with growing fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices. Different aspects of land investments have been researched. One of the aspects that has not been examined widely yet is the role local governments play in large-scale land acquisitions. This research aims to fill this research gap by investigating what role local governments play in land investments in the horticulture sector in Uganda, while considering achieving food security. The main findings of this research are: (1) the lowest level of local governance is mainly important for contacts between the investor and the local people, both at the time the investment takes place and when the company is established; (2) district governments mainly play a facilitating role in land investments, for instance in infrastructure development, security and environmental issues. District Land Boards are in charge of government-owned land and can lease it out to investors; (3) achieving food security for the population is important for local governments. They implement policies on achieving food security from the national government; (4) the horticulture sector is important for development to take place and to achieve food security because of the large number of jobs horticultural companies provide, which in turn leads to more income for workers and more means to buy food and to produce food by themselves. Horticultural companies producing fruits and vegetables directly contribute to achieving food security as long as they produce for the local market. In general, the large-scale investments in land in this research have a positive effect on development and food security; (5) challenges however are, mainly in Northern Uganda, corruption and opposition of local governments regarding investments.