Groundwater in Africa

Is there sufficient water to support the intensification of agriculture from ‘land grabs’?

Authored by: Alan M. MacDonald , Richard G. Taylor , Helen C. Bonsor

Handbook of Land and Water Grabs in Africa

Print publication date:  August  2012
Online publication date:  September  2012

Print ISBN: 9781857436693
eBook ISBN: 9780203110942
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9780203110942-26

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Abstract

Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) or ‘land grabs’ have over the last decade primarily focused on Africa. Of the top 11 countries that account for 70% of global LSLAs, seven (Sudan, Mozambique, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Zambia and Democratic Republic of Congo) are in Africa (Anseeuw et al. 2012). The total area of LSLAs in Africa is estimated to amount to 134 million hectares (Anseeuw et al. 2012). As the primary purpose of these LSLAs is agricultural, including both food and non-food (e.g. biofuel) crops, a fundamental but unexplored hydrological assumption is whether the requisite water to sustain crop production exists. Indeed, this assumption underlies the accusation that ‘land grabs’ are, in fact, ‘water grabs’.

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