Under the initiative of the Indian Ocean Commission, Madagascar is the focus of a large project to produce and export agricultural products to ensure the food security of this regional space, raising the spectre of land grabbing.
As land is grabbed and earmarked for development, this often has implications for the water nearby, for local people's land and water rights and environmental sustainability.
Mats Widgren provides an update on a Swedish company's land grab for sugar cane production in Tanzania.
Foreign investors in the agricultural sector are under regulated in the current framework of international investment law, voluntary guidelines and fragmented national investment legislation, and over protected in regional and bilateral investment treaties and domestic regulation.
With the largely self-evident agreement that land grabbing is wrong and all efforts should be made to prevent it, debate and effort can focus more on (i) how to prevent land grabbing, and (ii) how to enable forms of land-based investments that actually bring real benefit.
“We are aggressively looking for new areas in Sulawesi, Central Kalimantan and South Sumatra that are environmentally safe to expand our oil-palm footprint,” says president-director of the company’s oil-palm plantations in Sumatra.