Quifel’s Hoyo Hoyo agriculture project in Lioma, Zambezia Region, Mozambique


Quifel Natural Resources is part of Portugals Quifel Group, a holding company controlled by Portuguese aristocrat, businessman and amateur racing-car driver Miguel Maria de Sá Pais do Amaral, and is involved in multiple sectors, from insurance and real estate to agriculture and energy. Its' first agricultural endeavors were in Brazil, but increasing land prices there pushed the company's attention to Africa. The company acquired large land concessions in coastal East African countries for oilseeds, and West African countries for fruit and vegetables. Quifel currently holds vast tracts of land in Mozambique, Angola, and Sierra Leone. The company's concession in Mozambique is in Lioma, Zambezia Region for 10,000 ha (not the requested 30,000 ha). In two meetings with select citizens (both held on the same day) the company promised grand results of hundreds of jobs, a health clinic, schools, water, electricity, and other benefits if the community approved the project. The contract was provided on the same day as the community meetings, and some did sign; but those farming the lands did not. The project has since created a variety of problems. Quifel did not complete a demarcation within one year (as required), and has continued to ignore all officially mandated time table benchmarks. As of January 2013 the required boundary posts were still absent. Additionally, only 400 ha of the concession has yet been planted, and the company has stated it does not intend to utilize the remainder of their lands (for their own crops nor the out grower scheme promised). Yet of those 400 ha hurriedly plowed and seeded before inspection many were already planted by local farmers, and some just ready for harvest. The first planting definitively displaced at least 200 families. Finally, in July of 2012 a GPS survey was conducted on the 3500 ha to be used in the coming season, in which 836 farmers with 1945 ha were within the boundaries. The farmers were not to be moved until after the resettlement land was cleared, but it seemed unlikely the land would be ready for the December planting season. The health clinic, jobs, and other promises never materialized. According to an Oakland Institute report the project has already run into a serious conflict with local communities and it is often used as an example of conflicts between large corporations and local populations. After an assesemnt requested by the citizens of Lioma, the Gurue District Administrator has called for an 'urgent intervention' to stop additional breach of agreements by Quifel.

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Basic Data
NameQuifel’s Hoyo Hoyo agriculture project in Lioma, Zambezia Region, Mozambique
ProvinceZambezia region
SiteLioma and Ruace (Ruasse)
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific CommoditiesSunflower (Bio Fuel), Sesame
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe concession is for up to 10,000 ha, but only 400 are planted. The lease is for 50 years, renewable for another 50. In the first two years of an awarded concession’s contract considerable progress is to be made – but rushed plantings right before inspections is the only sign of land utilization. 244 farmers are displaced, and the project has the potential to affect up to 15000 people.

Project Area (in hectares)10,000
Level of Investment (in USD)17,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population244
Start Date2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesQuifel Group from Portugal - Parent company
Quifel Natural Resources S.A. (QNR) from Portugal
Quifel Natural Resoruces Mozambique, Lda from Portugal - owned by QNR
Hoyo Hoyo Agribusiness from Portugal - Operated by QNR (Portugal)
Lioma Agricultura e Projectos de Gestao, Lda from Mozambique
Relevant government actorsMinister of Agriculture, Gurue District Administrator
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersOakland Institute
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Development of AlternativesGurue District Administrator: involvement of the Provincial Governor for immediate intervention to stop the breach of contract
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.The project continues despite complaints on many levels.
Sources and Materials

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Norfolk, Simon and Joseph Hanlon, 2012 'Confrontation between Peasant Producers and Investors in Northern Zambezia, Mozambique'
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Oakland Institute, 2011, 'Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa, Country Report: Mozambique'


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, 'Soya boom in Gúruè has produced few bigger farmers'
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Investor Summary#EN.PDF
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NPR, 'Mozambique Farmland is Prize in Land Grab Fever'
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Inter Press Service, 'Mozambican Farmers Fear Foreign Land Grabs'
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Quifel Natual Resources, 'Why does a European Investor engages in Agricusiness in Sub Saharan Africa?'

Quifel, 'Project Hoyo Hoyo'

Other CommentsQuifel also owns LeYa, which owns the largest publishing firm in Mozambique: Texto Editores and Ndjira. This could impact the governments involvement (or lack of) in the case.
Meta Information
ContributorAliza Tuttle
Last update24/06/2014