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Die neue Landnahme an den Grenzen des fossilen Energieregimes. Tendenzen, Akteure und Konflikte am Beispiel Tansanias

Andreas Exner

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Land Grabbing at the Frontiers of the Fossil Energy Regime: Tendencies, Agents and Conflicts in the Case of Tanzania.


We are currently witnessing a new era of land grabbing. Assuming an agrarian transition, the World Bank has argued that if peasants are integrated into outgrower schemes and the landless employed in agribusiness, this new era could be a „win-win“ situation. In order to assess this perspective, this article looks at the longue durée of agriculture in its global context. While the periphery provided cheap food to the centre during the 19th century, fossil fuels reversed this after World War II. With the fossil energy regime’s frontier looming on the horizon, the periphery is once again being asked to produce staple food stuffs and export materials to the centre, as well as produce biomass for energy. As a result, the direct access to land has become crucial again. However, the peak in fossil fuels also puts the agro-regime into question; since fossil fuels are vital to industrial food production, capital growth and consumer demand are likely to come under pressure as fossil fuels reach their limits. Drawing upon the case of Tanzania, this article looks at the longue durée of conflicts over land use under capitalist premises. The colonial state expanded raw material production, which then declined as a result of the boom in petrochemical fibres during the postcolonial era. Extensive land conflicts arose from socialist modernization, which were then intensified by neoliberal adjustment and the attempt to install land markets. Under such conditions, different Tanzanian agriculture trajectories are possible, yet none of them appear to provide a „win-win“ outcome.