Farmland in Africa: From subsistence level to massive ranches

As part of a our global farmland guide Farmers Weekly asked James Cairns from the Savills international farmland team about the farmland market in Mozambique and Zambia. 

See also: International farmland – Guide to the global land market

Sorghum harvest

© Eye Ubiquitous/REX

Flag_of_MozambiqueMOZAMBIQUE

 

 

Main agricultural products

Maize, soya, wheat,  sorghum, cotton, beef, sugar

Average farmland values for good-quality arable land

£400/acre for dryland, or £2,200/acre for irrigated land

See also: Farmland in Russia – Low investment and politics pose challenge

Average farmland values for grassland

£96/acre

Most desirable farm/land type

Highly developed arable land with existing irrigation and associated infrastructure

Quality of land

Varies hugely from very fertile red loamy soil suitable for top cropping to bare sandy soil only suitable for extensive ranching – climate, rainfall and water all have a large influence as well

Structure of farms

In commercial farming it ranges from small family farms of about 500 acres up to large irrigated corporate sugar farms of about 60,000 acres, through to extensive cattle ranches of 100,000 acres

Key factors influencing land market

Land title security, water permit security, irrigation capacity, rainfall, currency fluctuations, price and input fluctuations, infrastructure development, social and middle class mobilisation all have an effect on the marketplace

Players in the farmland market

Majority of investors in corporate farms are foreign or South Africa-backed private equity, asset management or sovereign wealth. Management is mostly carried out by former Zimbabwean or South African farmers. The smaller commercial farmers also tend to come from Zimbabwe or South Africa

Limits on foreign buyers

None, but required to register with Mozambique Investment Authority. All land is held in a long leasehold title called a DUAT, which gives ownership for 50 years on a renewable basis, but does give right to own infrastructure developed in the freehold. There is a requirement to invest in the local community and infrastructure as part of any farm project


Workers in a maize field

© Eye Ubiquitous/REX

Flag_of_ZambiaZAMBIA

 

 

Main agricultural products

Wheat, maize, soya, sorghum, beef, pork, poultry, sugar

Average farmland values for good-quality arable land

£480/acre for dryland or £2,400/ acre for irrigated land

Average farmland values for grassland

£125/acre

Most desirable farm/land type

Highly developed arable land with existing irrigation and associated infrastructure. The majority of the desirable farmland is located within established farming blocks or commercial farming  hubs with good water, good agroclimatic conditions and market access

Quality of land

Varies hugely from very fertile red loamy soil suitable for top cropping to bare sandy soil only suitable for extensive ranching – climate, rainfall and water all have a large influence as well.  Double-crop soya/maize and wheat/maize is possible with irrigation

Structure of farms

Farms of investment-grade quality are owned and operated by institutional investors, sometimes under lease or joint venture structures. In commercial farming it ranges from family farms of about 500 acres up to large irrigated corporate arable farms of about 25,000 acres, to extensive cattle ranches of 50,000 acres

Key factors influencing land market

Zambia exhibits a stable economic and political environment with proven secondary market trading secure long leasehold title of 99 years.The government enforces export bans in order to adequately fill its food security mandate, but does open export lines in bumper production years.

Land title security, water permit security, irrigation capacity, rainfall, currency fluctuations, price and input fluctuations, infrastructure development, social and middle class mobilisation and investor appetite all affect market.

Players in the farmland market

There is only a viable market for commercial farmland. Local agriculture is mostly subsistence level. The majority of investors in corporate or large commercial farms are foreign or South Africa-backed professional farmers or investors. Small commercial farmers tend also to be white Zambian, Zimbabwean and South African

Limits on foreign buyers

None, but required to register with Zambian Investment Authority. All land is held on a long leasehold of 99 years, which is renewable. Corruption is limited, but procedures and permits take time to approve at all levels from community to regional to presidential level

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