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An economic analysis of natural resources in Mozambique 2005

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1. Introduction

The management of land resources and legal arrangements concerning land tenure have been a matter of heated dispute among Mozambican policy-makers and external agencies over the past
decade. The positions taken by many participants have been strongly influenced by circumstances and developments elsewhere in Southern Africa – notably Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Even so, much of the argument has paid little attention to actual conditions in Mozambique, in large part because of the lack of systematic data relevant to a proper understanding of land management. One major goal of this chapter has been the compilation and analysis of data on the demand for and supply of land for agricultural use in
order to provide a firmer empirical basis for future discussion.From an economic perspective the central issue of the land debate concerns the best strategy for promoting the intensification of agriculture, focusing on the expansion of more capital-intensive forms of land use aimed at production for the market rather than for subsistence. Within this overall theme, a major point of contention concerns the respective roles of commercial medium and large scale farming that is highly market-oriented and small-scale ‘family’ farming that has been, at least in the past, less capital-intensive and more concerned with meeting subsistence needs.

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