Effects of Large-Scale Acquisition on Food Insecurity in Sierra Leone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The recent phenomenon of large-scale acquisition of land for a variety of investment purposes has raised deep concerns over the food security, livelihood and socio-economic development of communities in many regions of the developing world. This study set out to investigate the food security outcomes of land acquisitions in northern Sierra Leone. Using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods, the study measures the severity of food insecurity and hunger, compares the situation of food security before and after the onset of operations of a land investing company, analyzes the food security implications of producing own food versus depending on wage labour for household food needs, and evaluates initiatives put in place by the land investing company to mitigate its food insecurity footprint. Results show an increase in the severity of food insecurity and hunger. Household income from agricultural production has fallen. Employment by the land investing company is limited in terms of the number of people it employs relative to the population of communities in which it operates. Also, wages from employment by the company cannot meet the staple food needs of its employees. The programme that has been put in place by the company to mitigate its food insecurity footprint is failing because of a host of reasons that relate to organization and power relations. In conclusion, rural people are better off producing their own food than depending on the corporate structure of land investment companies. Governments should provide an enabling framework to accommodate this food security need, both in land investment operations that are ongoing and in those that are yet to operate.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economic Geography


  • food security, livelihood, land acquisition, small-holders, Africa
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9505-9539
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch