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Matuba Farm, Emvest’s land fund in Limpopo/ Chokwe, Gaza Province, Mozambique


UK private equity firm Emergent Asset Management launched an African Agricultural Land Fund in 2007, and has since acquired at least 100,000 ha in South Africa, Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. Emergent and Grainvest, a subsidiary of the South African agribusiness company RusselStone, entered into a joint venture to set up the company EmVest to operate the African Agricultural Land Fund (Agriland). In 2011, following the separation of the owners of Emergent, EmVest became an independent company, but governance of the two corporations remains convoluted. EmVest claims it controls 2,000 ha in Mozambique where it produces jatropha and 1,500-ha of disputed land in the Chokwe District (Matuba) for irrigated crops. The jatropha plantation has 560 ha planted and 800 cleared, and as of 2011, 760 ha was under production in Matuba for irrigated crops. EmVest has the right to utilize unlimited water from the canal for their irrigation needs. The land claims are unclear: disputing sources claim either 1,000 or 2,000 ha in Chokwe, and the company claims good relations with residents but the Oakland Institute quotes residents claiming only 1,000 ha belong to the company and they need the other 1,000 for their livelihoods. In 2013 Vanderbilt University in the USA divested $26 million from EmVest under pressure from the student body after the company was named in the 2011 Oakland Institute study on land grabs in Africa.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Matuba Farm, Emvest’s land fund in Limpopo/ Chokwe, Gaza Province, Mozambique
State or province:Gaza province
(municipality or city/town)Chokwe district
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Land acquisition conflicts
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Specific commodities:
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

Details of the project are unclear. EmVest's website details the project to be 1,000 ha, but claims it intends to double the size (to 2000 ha) in the 'second phase', of which no documentation was found. The lease is for 50 years, but according to the agreement in 2009 the majority of the investment is to be completed by 2011 (2 years). The concessions are entitled to unlimited access to water from the Limpopo River.

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Project area:2000
Level of Investment:5,200,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2011
Company names or state enterprises:Emvest Asset Management
Emergent Asset Management - Murrin)
Russell Stone Group from South Africa
Subsidiary from South Africa - Grainvest (South Africa)
TLG Capital from United Kingdom
African Agricultural Land Fund
Emvest Limpopo
Deulco Emvest
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Oakland Institute,
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
University students
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Shareholder/financial activism.
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Disinvestment from the company
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:The project continues.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Oakland Institute, 2011, 'Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa: Mozambique'
[click to view]

Oakland Institute, 2011, 'Deciphering Emergent's Investments in Africa'
[click to view]

Oakland Institute, 2011, 'Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa: Emvest Asset Management in Matuba, Mozambique
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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Oakland Institute, 'Tennessee students win divestment fight'
[click to view]

Reuters, 'African Agricultural Finance under the spotlight'
[click to view]

EmVest, 'EmVest Limpopo – Mozambique'

Repbublic of Mozambique, 'EmVest Limpopo Project (Matuba Farm)

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

, 2013, 'EmVest CEO Susan Payne makes case for Africa farmland'
[click to view]

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Oakland Institute, 'Emergent Asset Management ltd'
[click to view]

Other comments:The largest employment sector created is for security, with 36 jobs. Only 17 permanent and 85 seasonal positions were created.
Meta information
Contributor:Aliza Tuttle
Last update08/04/2014