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Jan 10 2019

Corporate engagement workshop with Illovo Sugar and local civil society organizations

Amongst agribusinesses, there is a growing understanding of the need to ensure that investments in land recognize and protect the land rights of smallholder farmers and communities living within the areas they operate. However, companies often do not know how to achieve this.

Over the past two years, Landesa has championed the idea that local civil society organizations (CSOs) often possess the skills and perspectives needed to help companies ensure that farmers and communities benefit from agricultural investment. Through its Commitment to Practice (C2P) Project, Landesa has helped foster partnerships between Illovo Sugar Africa, the continent’s largest producer of sugar, and local CSOs in Malawi, Mozambique, and Tanzania. This initiative, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and with in-kind contribution from Illovo Sugar, has resulted in the company having a significantly enhanced understanding of communities, as well as CSOs having a better understanding of what companies can do to help smallholder farmers and communities thrive.

Last November, Landesa and Illovo co-hosted a close-out workshop in Durban, South Africa, where it brought together Illovo staff and CSOs from across the region. Illovo management expressed strong support for the continued partnership because of CSOs’ local knowledge and ability to work with communities. CSOs also expressed a desire to continue to explore this new method of working with companies. The Project is likely to expand geographically, and the partnerships are likely to grow in the three project countries. In addition, Landesa’s forthcoming Social License Platform – an online platform that connects businesses with CSOs and other experts who can help them make more responsible investments in agricultural land – is another means Landesa will use to scale this work.

Through the C2P Project, Landesa also released the LandAssess Tool, which provides a self-assessment for companies looking to comply with international standards and best practices. Landesa has already and will continue to share this Tool with other companies.

Learn more about the LandAssess Tool

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