The global land rush: what the evidence reveals about scale and geography
Published: 23 Apr 2012
Posted in:  IIED
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IIED | April 2012

The global land rush: what the evidence reveals about scale and geography

Lorenzo Cotula, Emily Polack
 
In developing countries, millions of people depend on land for their food and livelihoods. But a global ‘land rush’ — moves to acquire large tracts of land across the world — is increasing competition for this vital resource. A growing body of evidence points to the scale, geography, players and key characteristics of the phenomenon. Some of this is based on media reports and some on country level inventories. Much of the data cannot be compared due to variations in methodology, timescale and the differing criteria for what makes a land deal. Further improving data and analysis is critical. But while exact numbers will keep changing, all evidence indicates that land acquisitions are happening quickly and on a large scale. So we urgently need to get on with developing appropriate responses.

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The International Political Economy of the Global Land Rush: A Critical Appraisal of Trends, Scale, Geography and Drivers, Journal of Peasant Studies
By Lorenzo Cotula
http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03066150.2012.674940
 
Over the past few years, agribusiness, investment funds and government agencies have been acquiring long-term rights over large areas of farmland in lower income countries. It is widely thought that private sector expectations of higher agricultural commodity prices and government concerns about longer-term food and energy security underpin much recent land acquisition for agricultural investments. These processes are expected to have lasting and far-reaching implications for world agriculture and for livelihoods and food security in recipient countries. This paper critically examines evidence of trends, scale, geography and drivers in the global land rush. While this analysis broadly corroborates some widespread assumptions, it also points to a more complex set of drivers that reflect fundamental shifts in economic and geopolitical relations linking sovereign states, global finance, and agribusiness through to local groups. Only a solid understanding of these fundamental drivers can help identify levers and pressure points for policy responses to address the challenges raised by large-scale land acquisitions.
 
Source:IIED