Large scale land acquisition for commercial agriculture is a fast-evolving type of investment in many developing countries. However, such investments entail negative impacts particularly on the local communities, who see their livelihoods hampered by land acquisitions. This study examined the socio-economic and environmental impacts of large scale land acquisition on local livelihoods in Bako Tibe woreda of Oromia National Regional State, Ethiopia. The analysis is done on the basis of the Sustainable Rural Livelihoods Approach. Data was collected through household interviews, key informant interviews, focus group discussions, direct observation and field notes of the researcher. Besides, secondary data have also been drawn from various sources to complement the primary data. After analyzing the data set, the study found that the investment project has no significant social benefits to the local communities, as measured by technological transfer, employment opportunity, crop production and local infrastructure development. It is also determined that the project has negative impacts on local economy in terms of loss of grazing land, crop land, grass land, firewood and water resources; all of which have negatively affected local livelihoods. Moreover, the investment project has negative environmental effects as demonstrated by clearing of vegetation cover, depletion of water resources and soil degradation. Thus, it is concluded that the Large Scale Land Acquisition in the study area has adverse socio-economic and environmental impacts on local livelihoods. The study then identified the coping strategies pursued by local communities in response to the impacts of the land acquisition. These strategies include changing land use, sharecropping, tenant farming, changing occupation and migration. Lastly, recommendations have been forwarded to stakeholders in order to enable them address the socio-economic and environmental impacts of land acquisitions on local livelihoods.
Key Terms: Large Scale Land Acquisition, Bako Tibe woreda, Local Communities, Investment Project, Sustainable Rural Livelihoods, Socio-economic Impacts, Environmental Impacts, Coping Strategy