LDPI Small Grants Programme

Ethiopia_gatheringThe Small Grants programme offers grants of up to US$2000 per study to successful applicants who wish to undertake original field research, carry out follow up fieldwork on an ongoing related initiative, or write up a paper based on research that is being/has been undertaken on any of the following themes (or combinations).

The small grants activity is helping to build a wider network of interest scholars-practitioners. Given that this is exploratory research, intended to provide an initial level of detail and pointers for further, more detailed research, the primary audience is the international research community.

The Small Grants Programme is funded by the Land Deals Politics Initiative (LDPI), which brings together five research institutions to provide a global platform to generate solid evidence on the ‘global land grab’ phenomenon.

Research Focus

Some of the most urgent and strategic questions here include but are not limited to:

  • What changes in broad agrarian structures are emerging? Are these new forms of agrarian capitalism or repeats of the past?
  • What is the nature and extent of rural social differentiation – in terms of class, gender, ethnicity – following changes in land use and land property relations as well as organizations of production and exchange?
  • Have land deals undermined local level and national food security? How and to what extent? What have been the socially differentiated impacts on livelihoods by class, gender and ethnicity?
  • To what extent have agrarian political struggles been provoked by the new land investment dynamics? What are the issues that unite or divide the rural poor, organized movements, and rural communities around the issue of land deals?
  • What are the various competing policy and political narratives and discourses around the multiple crises of food, energy, climate and finance, and how have these shaped and been reshaped by the land deal politics? How and to what extent has (trans)national finance speculation played a role in land deals in the context of the convergence of food, fuels, climate and finance crises? What narratives exist around ‘investment, growth and modernization’ versus ‘marginalization, displacement and impoverishment’, and so on?
  • How have competing frameworks and views on land property been deployed by various camps around the contested meanings of ‘marginal lands’ (or, idle’, ‘waste’, ‘unoccupied’ lands)?
  • What are the emerging trends around dynamics of power, elites and corruption; land as a source of patronage? How can we make sense of the politics of land deals in different contexts?
  • Have development-induced displacement and dispossession occurred? How and to what extent and with what immediate and long-term outcomes and implications for rural livelihoods, including new rural refugees or internally displaced peoples (IDPs)?
  • Have global land policies of different overseas development agencies (World Bank, FAO, EU, IFAD, and so on)contributed to facilitating/encouraging or blocking/discouraging land deals? What are the limitations of ‘code of conduct’, certification, regulation, information dissemination, and capacity-building strategies?
  • What are the dynamics of international politics of land grabs in the broader context of energy, mining, forestry and conservation; and the role of big capital and powerful interests?
  • What are some of the relevant emerging alternatives from key actors? Are some of the traditional policies such as land reform, and some of the more recent alternative visions such as ‘food sovereignty’ (and ‘land sovereignty’) relevant and useful in protecting and promoting the interest of the rural poor in the midst of these (trans)national commercial land deals?

Research Output

The research is original, policy-relevant and based on detailed, case-specific field study. General review papers are not be accepted. Final papers are approximately 10,000 words long and will become part of an international series (the LDPI working paper series) that is to be published on the internet and widely disseminated among regional and international research institutions, donor community, policy maker’s circles, NGOs, and agrarian movements – with the possibility of more formal academic publication, either in an edited volume or a special issue of a journal.