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Land rights and investment strategies in agriculture

Time (GMT +01) 14:00 16:30


Anna Locke - Head of Programme, Agricultural Development and Policy, ODI

Chris Penrose-Buckley - Senior Advisor, Land Policy Lead, Department for International Development (DFID)

Lorenzo Cotula - Principal Researcher, Law and Sustainable Development, International Institute Environment & Development (IIED)

Kate Mathias - Associate Director, Twenty Fifty



Outgrower production models have long been recognised as an effective development strategy for linking poor, rural smallholder farmers to markets. They have also been identified as a key strategy for narrowing the yield gap between smallholder farming techniques and large-scale commercial plantations. Given the world needs to double food production by 2050, this is a high priority.

A resurgence of interest in outgrower production is being led by Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) such as AgDevCo and CDC. New evidence also suggests that producers are interested in replacing large-scale plantation techniques with outgrower production models altogether. However, less attention is being paid to the impact that such investments strategies can have on land governance and smallholder farmers.

This turn in agricultural investment strategies calls for an opportunity to reflect on some key questions. Drawing from cases in Senegal, Malawi, the Ivory Coast and Ethiopia, the panel discuss:

  • What is the impact of outgrower production models on land rights? What are the advantages and disadvantages?
  • Why are outgrower production models of interest to DFIs and private producers and what do they tell us about how to incentivize responsible private investment?
  • How can land governance be designed to support equitable outgrower production models?

Registration for this event has now closed. For further information please contact [email protected]


Anna Locke is ODI's Head of the Agricultural Development and Policy Programme. She joined ODI in July 2011 after having worked for 19 years in development, 12 of which were based in Mozambique. Anna has in-depth experience of working with market-led agriculture, analysing and advising on how to develop agriculture to promote sustainable growth and reduce poverty, based on principles of competitiveness, market access and inclusiveness. Her focus in recent years has been on land governance and large-scale investment, biofuels and food security.

Chris Penrose-Buckley is Senior Land Policy Lead at the UK’s Department for International Development and holds an MSc in rural development and agricultural economics from Imperial College London. Chris is an agriculture and rural development specialist with 19 years’ experience in smallholder agriculture, market development and natural resource management in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Lorenzo Cotula is a Principal Researcher at IIED. Lorenzo leads IIED's work on Legal Tools for Citizen Empowerment – a collaborative initiative to strengthen local rights and amplify local voices in the context of natural resource investments. He has extensive experience in low- and middle-income countries in Africa and Asia.

Kate Mathias is an Associate Director at Twenty Fifty. She is recognized as a leading voice in private sector agriculture development particularly in representing the viewpoint of agribusinesses and farmers and developing practical solutions to build sustainability and optimize outputs. Kate has worked predominantly in the sugar and tea industries in Africa and has considerable experience in the design and development of sustainable smallholder grower and contract farming mechanisms, rights-based approaches to supply chain development and responsible investment. 


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