College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

Graduation Date


Document Type


Department/Program Conferring Degree

International Studies


land grabbing, land policy, Uganda, displacement, north-south relations


This thesis analyzes the dynamic of North-South relations and food politics in relation to the trend of “land-grabbing” by foreign investors in sub-Saharan Africa. The analysis focuses on the conceptual and discursive “ecology” surrounding food and land security in the post-colonial, globalized world. The image of post-colonial Africa has been made to show a continent plagued with turmoil, yet filled with expanses of underutilized land that are ripe for cultivation. I argue that land lease relationships between governments of less developed countries and organizations, companies or agencies from more developed countries affect peasants and local communities more than- or more accurately, in different ways than- these investor agencies present. There are unjust consequences and cultural, societal, and spatial effects that result from land deals that are beyond the scope of investor agencies’ understanding and knowledge gained from area studies. I will use my case study of the Kaweri Coffee Plantation land lease in Uganda to explore the nature of these relationships and their effects. I am able to look into the reactions of displaced peasants and their acts of resistance toward the Ugandan government and the Neumann Kaffee Gruppe’s Kaweri Plantation upon being evicted from the land they had lived on. Land lease arrangements such as the one I examine impact local populations through geographies of land reform and development.

Throughout this paper, I aim to answer questions such as: How do widely accepted ideas about food security and underused land reserves in Africa promote land leasing by foreign investors in sub-Saharan Africa? How have food politics and land grabbing in sub-Saharan Africa reshaped geographies and imposed displacement on local populations? How do these local populations react or resist? After researching these questions, I have found that the convoluted nature of land deals between governments and foreign investors often leave a lot of questions and the process of large-scale land leasing often does not address the role of local citizens within the land transaction.