Land grabbers in rural urban centre in Kenya (allAfrica / News from Africa)

Read at :

Women project to fight land grab

A seven-month project involving a grassroots women’s group and the provincial administration and with the support from the SIDA through the Embassy of Sweden in Kenya could end the seemingly unquenchable quest by land grabbers in rural urban centres.

To help achieve this, the project aims to empower grassroots women to take the lead to map out public land within their localities. “People in authority have in the past grabbed land under their care leaving women without places they could earmark for markets, schools and Jua Kali sheds for their sons,” said John Kinyua, District Commissioner, Lari, Kiambu County.

Affirming what the DC said, Mrs Teresia Kimani, a women leader in Lari said women form the larger proportion of traders at any given market, but they also suffer the most as they had previously left the management of public land resources to the men-folk.

Speaking in Nairobi recently at the launch of a survey on public land in Lari Constituency, Kinyua said while all that people do before was to make noise when public land got grabbed, the new constitution however has empowered people, especially women and the youth to begin having a say on how public land is to be managed.

According to Kinyua, nothing testifies of the extent of land grabbing in the country than the Constituency Development Fund across many constituencies are spending money to purchase land for public projects. “This is a clear testimony that public lands have been grabbed and in private hands,” he said.


Legal frameworks regulating the land rush (IISD / IIED)

Read at :

Land Degradation Announcement List <>

Accountability in Africa’s land rush: what role for legal empowerment

Emily Polack, Lorenzo Cotula, Muriel Côte

In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in acquiring farmland for agricultural investments in lower-income countries. Whilst such investments can create jobs, improve access to markets and support infrastructure, many large land deals have been associated with negative impacts for local populations, including the dispossession of land and other resources and increased conflict over economic benefits. There is growing evidence on the scale, geography and impacts of large deals. But less is known about how the legal frameworks regulating this land rush shape opportunities and constraints in formal pathways to accountability; and how people who feel wronged by land deals are responding to seek justice, and to what ends.

This report assesses the state of evidence on pathways to accountability in the global land rush, with a focus on Africa. It also identifies areas for a new research agenda that places accountability at its centre.

Kate Wilson
Publications & Marketing Manager
International Institute for Environment and Development
80-86 Gray’s Inn Road, London, WC1x 8NH
Follow us on twitter:

Focus on Land Rights (IPS)

Read at :

World Bank to Strengthen Focus on Land Rights

The World Bank will be placing stronger emphasis on issues of land tenure and socially and environmentally sustainable agricultural investing, it announced Monday.

The bank, one of the world’s largest development lenders, also formally reiterated its concern over the large-scale corporate “land grabbing” that has affected vast swathes of Africa in recent years.

“The World Bank Group shares these concerns about the risks associated with large-scale land acquisitions,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement from the bank’s Washington headquarters Monday.

“Securing access to land is critical for millions of poor people. Modern, efficient, and transparent policies on land rights are vital to reducing poverty and promoting growth, agriculture production, better nutrition and sustainable development.”

Following on decades in which agricultural sectors were almost completely bypassed by international investors – including bilateral donors and multilateral lenders such as the World Bank – recent years have seen a surge of interest across all types of investors and development institutions.


Land Acquisitions in Tanzania (IISD / Mark PURDON)

Land Acquisitions in Tanzania: Strong Sustainability, Weak Sustainability and the Importance of Comparative Methods

Full text link:
This paper distinguished different analytical approaches to the evaluation of the sustainability of large-scale land acquisitions—at both the conceptual and methodological levels. First, at the conceptual level, evaluation of the sustainability of land acquisitions depends on what definition of sustainability is adopted—strong or weak sustainability. Second, a lack of comparative empirical methods in many studies has limited the identification of causal factors affecting sustainability.

An empirical investigation into the sustainability of land acquisitions in Tanzania that employs these existing concepts in a methodologically rigorous manner offers an opportunity to more clearly addresses ethical questions surrounding international land acquisitions. My findings indicate that it should not be assumed that sustainability necessarily hinges on issues of strong sustainability, particularly that all village lands represent critical natural capital.

As a result of its unique history of Ujamaa villagization, Tanzania villages often have ownership of significant tracts of unused land that mitigates the risk of violating conditions of strong sustainability. Issues of weak sustainability appear to be more important to villagers—particularly the degree of man-made capital benefits derived from projects. While compensation rates for lands acquired were low and the process lacked transparency, low compensation rates are not sufficient grounds for rejecting land acquisitions as unsustainable.

When projects deliver significant man-made capital benefits, low compensation rates were not a politically salient issue amongst villagers. Finally, results suggest that some prioritization of man-made capital over biodiversity can be ethically defensible when the decision-making process goes through legitimate village government bodies and benefits reach poor villagers.

Mark Purdon

PhD Candidate – Department of Political Science
University of Toronto


Globalization, Land grabs and fragile food systems (ELDIS)

Read at :

Land grabs and fragile food systems: The role of globalization

IATP have consistently argued that trade agreements need to respect and promote human rights, not drive a process of globalisation that privileges commercial interests and pushes public interests aside. This paper concludes that the globalisation enshrined in the free trade and investment agreements of the 1990s and 2000s have led to yet another manifestation of commercial interests trampling human rights – namely land grabs.

This paper is specifically focuses on two forces that IATP argue have contributed significantly to the problem: First, globalisation—more specifically, the deregulation of trade and foreign investment laws, which has greatly eased cross-border capital flows, relaxed the limits on foreign land ownership, and opened markets to agricultural imports. And second, the failures of the international trading system during the food price crisis of 2007-08, which eroded the confidence of food import–dependent countries in international markets as a reliable source of food and fed both speculative investment and investment in actual food production. This loss of confidence was compounded by climate change and the resulting destabilisation of weather patterns, which has resulted in less predictable agricultural production.


Fearing Foreign Land Grabs (IPS)

Read at :

Mozambican Farmers Fear Foreign Land Grabs

By William Mapote

Mozambican farmers’ unions believe that soon land will become very scarce for locals as the government leases more and more of it to foreign agribusinesses – thus displacing thousands of rural communities and smallholder farmers with no official title deeds to their land.

“As the UNAC (Mozambique’s National Peasants Union) we think that in the very short term land will become scarcest for Mozambicans because the government is attracting foreign investors, arguing that we have huge unused land, João Palate, a spokesperson for UNAC, told IPS.

Official figures from the Investment Promotion Centre estimate that Mozambique has around 19 million hectares (ha) of land with a potential for agriculture, forestry and cattle – though only 5.6 million ha are being utilised.


Nations to acquire quality agricultural land for food production (Science Daily)

Read at :

First Global Assessment of Land and Water ‘Grabbing’

As world food and energy demands grow, nations and some corporations increasingly are looking to acquire quality agricultural land for food production. Some nations are gaining land by buying up property — and accompanying water resources — in other, generally less wealthy countries.


The Green Belt Initiative and Land Grabs in Malawi (ELDIS)

Read at :

Authors: Chinsinga, B

Publisher: Future Agricultures Consortium, 2012

FAC Policy Brief 55
by Blessings Chinsinga and Michael Chasukwa

There is often a mismatch between the apparent benevolent intents and the practical manifestations of the large scale land deals. The empirical realities of the large-scale land deals call for critical scrutiny and interrogation of the underlying interests of the stakeholders involved to assess the extent to which they genuinely prioritize win-win scenarios. As the experiences of the Green Belt Initiative (GBI) in Malawi demonstrated, the smallholder farmer is almost always the loser.

This raises doubt as to whether the international initiatives such the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) voluntary guidelines on responsible governance of tenure of land and other natural resources; the World Bank’s principles for responsible agricultural investment; and the Africa Union’s (AU) framework and guidelines on land policy shall make any significant difference on the actual outcomes of the large-scale land deals across the continent.

Land Grabbing Race in Tanzania (IPS)

Read at :

Curbing Tanzania’s “Land Grabbing Race”

DAR ES SALAAM, Dec 19 2012 (IPS) – From January 2013, Tanzania will start restricting the size of land that single large-scale foreign and local investors can “lease” for agricultural use. The decision follows both local and international criticism that major investors are grabbing large chunks of land here, often displacing small-scale farmers and local communities.

The Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office Peniel Lyimo confirmed that the government would limit the amount of land leased to investors in this East African nation. Previously, there were no limits.

“For a large-scale investor who wants to invest in sugar, the ceiling has been put at 10,000 hectares. (The limit for) rice is 5,000 hectares. The ceiling for sugar is significantly higher due to the fact that it may also produce electric power,” Lyimo told IPS. Sugarcane fibre is used in the generation of electricity.

According to official documents, seen by IPS, from the Tanzania Investment Centre, a government agency set up to promote and facilitate investment: “Even within a seven-year period, an investor would not be able to use more than 10,000 hectares…”

The move will come as a relief to land rights organisations that have continually called for the government to curb the land grabs here.


Un acaparamiento de agua (GRAIN)

Read at :

[Novedades de GRAIN] Exprimiendo al África: detrás de todo acaparamiento de tierra hay un acaparamiento de agua.

Los alimentos no pueden ser producidos sin agua. En África, una de cada tres personas sufre escasez de agua y el cambio climático agravará esta situación. El desarrollo en África de sistemas indígenas de manejo de aguas, altamente sofisticados, podría ayudar a resolver la crisis, pero son estos mismos sistemas los que están siendo destruidos por los acaparamientos de tierra a gran escala, en medio de afirmaciones de que el agua en África es abundante, que está subutilizada y que está lista para ser aprovechada por la agricultura para la exportación. En nuestro último informe, GRAIN examina qué hay detrás de la fiebre por las tierras en África, y devela el ataque a los sistemas de agua dulce del continente, algo que tendrá desastrosas consecuencias para las comunidades locales que dependen de tales sistemas.

Lea el texto completo de este nuevo informe de GRAIN aquí:

The impact of large-scale land acquisitions on the continent’s farmers (IIED)

Read at :

Invest in farmers, not in farmland

Lorenzo Cotula | 22 February 2012

With land central to the livelihoods of millions of people in Africa, Lorenzo Cotula examines the impact of large-scale land acquisitions on the continent’s farmers and says that promoting agricultural development in Africa and addressing the world’s food security challenges requires investing in farmers – not in farmland.

“Land grabs” are now one of the biggest issues in Africa.

Over the past few years, companies and foreign governments have been leasing large areas of land in some of Africa’s poorest countries. Many commentators have raised concerns that poor villagers will be forced off their land and agribusiness will marginalise family farming. Others say that foreign investment can help African countries create jobs, increase export earnings and use more advanced technologies.


Seeking farms outside Brazil, probably in Africa, in a drive to expand its empire (African Agriculture)

Read at :

Brazilian agribusinesss Agricola looks to Mozambique for expansion

SLC Agricola turned the tables on the wave of foreign interest in Brazilian farmland by seeking farms outside the South American country, probably in Africa, in a drive to expand its empire.

The farm operator, based in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, unveiled an “internationalization plan” which will see it acquire, and plant, foreign farmland by 2015-16.

“The initial focus will be the African continent,” SLC Agricola said, adding that it was to study Mozambique “in depth.”

The foreign quest will supercharge a drive to increase its farmland by 2020-21 to 700,000 planted acres, of which 20% will be abroad, implying 140,000 hectares in foreign acquisitions. SLC’s current land bank spans 300,000 hectares, including conservation areas, all in Brazil.

The move contrasts with a scramble for South American land by many foreign investors, particularly in countries such as China and Saudi Arabia which are large food importers.


%d bloggers like this: