World Bank endorses the land grabs in the name of productivity and sound investment (Food Crisis and the Global Land Grab)

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World Bank report decries global land grab while encouraging it

Uprising Radio | 10 Sep 2010

A new report by the World Bank called “Rising Global Interest in Farmland,” highlights the sharp increase in foreign purchases of vast tracts of land in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In 2009 alone, about 45 million hectares of land were bought. According to the World Bank, the recent food crises, and well as a growing interest in bio-fuels, are among the motives spurring the purchases by both governments and corporations. But while the report warns of a lack of transparency and the potential harm to poor people, it ultimately endorses the land grabs in the name of productivity and sound investment. An earlier version of the report with an entirely different title was leaked about a month ago but most media outlets have not connected the two this week. The leaked draft was publicized by the Bay-area based Oakland Institute, a think tank that has published in-depth reports on land grabs and the food crisis, critical of institutions like the World Bank. A year ago, the Oakland Institute was sounding the alarm with their October 2009 report entitled “The Great Land Grab: Rush for World’s Farmland Threatens Food Security for the Poor.” More recently, they challenged the World Bank with a report this past April entitled “(Mis)Investment in Agriculture: The Role of the International Finance Corporation in the Global Land Grab.”

GUEST: Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute

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Author: Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.

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