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Accueil du site → Doctorat → Allemagne → 2019 → Agrofuels, large-scale agricultural production, and rural development : the case of Jatropha in Madagascar

Universität Hohenheim (2019)

Agrofuels, large-scale agricultural production, and rural development : the case of Jatropha in Madagascar

Bosch, Christine

Titre : Agrofuels, large-scale agricultural production, and rural development : the case of Jatropha in Madagascar

Agrar-Kraftstoffproduktion, großflächige Landwirtschaft, und ländliche Entwicklung : Jatropha in Madagaskar

Auteur : Bosch, Christine

Université de soutenance : Universität Hohenheim

Grade : Doktor der Agrarwissenschaften (Dr. sc. agrar) 2019

Résumé partiel
Agrofuel production in marginal areas can contribute directly to creating employment and improving local livelihoods. Indirectly, through increasing household purchasing power and relaxing financial constraints of smallholder farmers, it can contribute to greater food production and/or food consumption and rural development. These benefits depend, however, largely on the feedstock crop and its processing, land and labour requirements, the business model, value chains and institutional frameworks. Jatropha, a feedstock crop with more benefits than first-generation energy crops like maize, experienced a spike in popularity in the early 2000s due to its value in the biofuel markets of industrialized countries. The majority of plantations and outgrower schemes could not survive what followed : disappointing yields, pests and disease, low oil prices, the 2007/2008 food price crisis, negative narratives, and inadequate funding for further research activities. Despite these challenges, large-scale land investments and new Jatropha projects continue to be undertaken. Madagascar is a country characterized by severely eroded and degraded pasturelands, low agricultural productivity, high vulnerability to climatic shocks, and overwhelming poverty and food insecurity rates. It is hypothesized that the use of marginal lands for labour-intensive agrofuel feedstock cultivation, in otherwise neglected areas, through both public and private investment, will have positive impacts through the provision of wage work in large-scale plantation schemes. Although a number of studies have investigated the rural livelihood impacts of participation in Jatropha cultivation, there is little evidence that quantifies the long-term and indirect effects on smallholder food production and household food security. Against this background, large-scale Jatropha cultivation lends itself well to studying the complex interplay between feedstock and food production, as well as the potential for agricultural and rural development. Such analysis would provide useful insights and implications for cost-effective rural development policies to target poor farmers in remote areas. Drawing on a conceptual framework that highlights the role of smallholder farmers’ livelihood strategies like off-farm employment and agricultural intensification, and livelihood outcomes like food security, this thesis explores the contribution of large-scale agrofuel feedstock cultivation on marginal land. Three important outcomes, namely household food security, information and innovation spillover effects, and agricultural input use, are studied empirically in three articles, using a comprehensive household panel data set. The data was collected in six survey rounds between 2008 and 2014, in three villages near a large-scale Jatropha project in the Haute Matsiatra region, located in Madagascar’s Southern Highlands. The first article examines the relationship between wage work for a Jatropha project and household food security. Jatropha cultivation on marginal land is labour intensive and does not compete with food production. Therefore, incomes earned can contribute to increased food security directly as well as indirectly through increased or diversified food production. Using five rounds of household panel data, results show that labour demand from the plantation declined substantially after the build-up phase and Jatropha incomes were mostly used for food and other necessities. Fixed effects models show that Jatropha work contributed significantly to an improved dietary diversity. Despite the possibility to earn income during the lean season, Jatropha work did not lead to a reduction in the more subjective lack of food and led to reduced rice stocks. Both food production and consumption were highly influenced by drought shocks and locust plagues, indicating that complementing income creation strategies with agricultural development strategies might have further positive effects on food security.


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