Published: 27 Aug 2012
Since the food crisis in 2008, food security and sovereignty had become a key target for many countries. A global growing demand for food, especially meat, and fuel, drives government and companies to invest in land, leasing or purchasing vast agricultural areas in order to produce crops, often to be later imported back to their domestic markets.
While the phenomenon is often regarded as "land grabbing", its reasons and dynamics are more deep and complex than such a simple formula might infer, each country showing different historical and regulatory specificities of land deals.
Uncontrolled large-scale land speculations can be a threat for biodiversity and can trigger human-rights violations at the expense of some of the 1.5 billion local rights-holders and indigenous people whose life is based on small-scale farming and who are denied tenure or access to their lands. This form of competition for land is dramatically unbalanced, with low-income producers on one side, and foreign governments or large corporations, backed by local and national authorities, on the other. All this is happening regardless of the wide knowledge that small-scale producers can instead play a pivotal role in reducing poverty and food insecurity.
In 2012, our collective started a long term documentation on this phenomenon, investigating the drivers, the trends, the mechanisms and the impacts of land acquisitions across the world. The first chapters, in Brazil, Ethiopia, The Philippines and Ukraine, revealed a variety of historic and socioeconomic forces behind land investments and acquisitions, making it hard to label it with a simple definition, but also highlighting how the end result, in all these different scenarios, is often the same.
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Source: Terra Project