Outgrowers and Livelihoods: The Case of Magobbo Smallholder Block Farming in Mazabuka District in Zambia

Outgrowers and Livelihoods: The Case of Magobbo Smallholder Block Farming in Mazabuka District in Zambia

Author: 
Matenga, Chrispin R.
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2017
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of Southern African Studies
Source: 
Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 43, No. 3, June 2017, pp. 551-566
Subject: 
Abstract: 

Outgrower schemes are increasingly seen as a way to empower smallholders economically, while addressing their production constraints. This article examines an outgrower sugar cane scheme in Zambia officially launched in 2008 with substantial grant funding from the European Union. In this case, the outgrowers are not involved in the production, but pass their land in a block to be managed by a company. This acts as an extension of the nucleus estate, with dividends paid according to a collective contract. The scheme, and associated grant funding, has proved highly beneficial for Zambia Sugar Plc, owned by South African multinational Illovo Sugar (which became wholly owned by Associated British Foods in June 2016). The new outgrowers are increasingly differentiated: some are former dryland farmers, whereas others are outsiders from nearby towns. Some have benefited significantly, with opportunities for accumulation. Others have not, as dividends have been shared by an increasing number of family members. Intra-household distribution of sugar income has exposed gender differences, as it is mostly men who are the designated shareholders. Moreover, the new wealth flowing from the scheme has provoked political contestation within the community, as some seek to exert control over the scheme. Thus, the sugar block scheme has radically changed agrarian relations in the area. There are higher incomes for some - and a seeming success of the outgrower model - but this comes at a cost, as land, livelihoods and social relations are reconfigured.

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Country focus: 

CITATION: Matenga, Chrispin R.. Outgrowers and Livelihoods: The Case of Magobbo Smallholder Block Farming in Mazabuka District in Zambia . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2017. Journal of Southern African Studies, Vol. 43, No. 3, June 2017, pp. 551-566 - Available at: http://library.au.int/outgrowers-and-livelihoods-case-magobbo-smallholder-block-farming-mazabuka-district-zambia