Effects of the addax bioenergy investment on female farmers´rights to land and their livelihoods in BombaliI District, Sierra Leone

University essay from Lunds universitet/LUMID International Master programme in applied International Development and Management

Abstract: Attempts to promote women’s rights to land in Sub-Saharan Africa have attracted attention in both academia and from an international development perspective. Female Farmers (FFs) in Bombali district in northern Sierra Leone gain access to farmland through male heritages under customary practices. This makes them dependent on maintaining connections with male lineages in order to gain rights to land, which include ownership, control, as well as access and use. The Swiss based company, Addax Bioenergy is involved in a sugarcane-biofuel-project in the district of Bombali, which has led to land ownership shifting legally to the company on a long-term lease. Land access and use have been limited in areas, which overlap the company’s project site. Proponents of the Addax Bioenergy project have assumed such investment would contribute to Sierra Leone’s development strides. This thesis examines three key concepts which include: ways of acquiring farmland and the Addax Bioenergy’s Large-Scale Land Acquisition (LSLA), the female farmers’ understanding of LSLA, and the impact on the rights to land and livelihoods. The thesis uses a mixed method approach together with Noam Chomsky’s (1999) theoretical framework on profit over people: neoliberalism and the global order, and Naila Kabeer’s (2005) Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment to analyse the data aimed at answering the research question.

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