About international land grabbing

Photo credit: Food Tank

These 15 organizations work protect the land rights of farmers and their communities and bring greater transparency to development projects.

The Land Battle: 15 Organizations Defending Land Rights

The increasing trend of international land grabbing—when governments and private firms invest in or purchase large tracts of land in other countries for the purpose of agricultural production and export—can have serious environmental and social consequences. Investors claim that land grabs can help alleviate the world food crisis by tapping into a country’s ‘unused’ agricultural potential, but such investments often do more harm than good, disrupting traditional land use and leaving half a billion family farmers vulnerable to exploitation.

According to the Land Matrix, approximately 130 million hectares of land (or more than 52.7 million football fields) has been acquired globally in settled and impending land deals over the last 15 years. In South Sudan, the country with the most transnational land acquisitions, land has been sold for as little as US$0.025 cents per hectare.

Approximately 60 percent of the food grown on acquired lands is intended for export instead of feeding local communities, according to Oxfam America. Nearly two-thirds of land grabs occur in countries with serious food security problems. In the Nacala Corridor of Mozambique, the Prosavana land grab will acquire 14 million hectares of land, displacing upwards of 500,000 people that already cultivate the area. According to The World Food Programme, about one-third of Mozambique’s 24.5 million inhabitants are malnourished and 500,000 children ages 6 to 23 months are undernourished.

Read the full article: Food Tank

Author: Willem Van Cotthem

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

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