SDC syposium: "Large-scale investment in agriculture and land – Opportunity and risk for food security"

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation | 15 October 2009

Symposium on the occasion of World Food Day 2009

Large-scale Investment in Agriculture and Land – Opportunity and Risk for Food Security, Bern, Switzerland, 15 October 2009

Over the past year, large-scale acquisitions of farmland in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia and Southeast Asia have made headlines across the world. A combination of higher and more volatile global commodity prices, demand for bio-fuels, population growth and urbanisation, as well as globalisation and overall economic development are likely indicators that such investments will constitute a growing trend around the world.

Investment in agricultural land poses risks and opportunities for developing countries and rural populations. Investments could help to develop infrastructure and modernise the agriculture sector, boosting production and creating new employment opportunities. However, in the absence of secure land tenure, sound agricultural policies and good governance, investments in the form of land acquisitions or long-term leases can undermine national food security and create conflicts with the basic human rights and development opportunities of indigenous and small-scale farming communities and pastoralists.

As a response to the international debate, there is a growing awareness in the international community of the need for coordinated action. At this event, international experts will give insights into key issues surrounding investments in agriculture. What do we know about investors and projects? What is actually in discussion regarding principles and standards for contracts between investors and host governments? What are the means to ensure transparency and informed consent of stakeholder groups? What is the role of international development actors, civil society and private investors?

In the afternoon workshop, there will be an opportunity for an indepth presentation by the Secretariat of the International Land Coalition and SDC’s global program on food security. There will also be an opportunity to discuss and present the activities of Swiss actors.

Presentations by keynote speakers

Largescale acquisitions of agricultural land: what are international drivers and trends? ( 1293 kb) / Abstract ( 72 kb)

Carin Smaller, International Institute for Sustainable Development, Geneva

Current initiatives to address land governance: How to mitigate risk and involve local stakeholders ( 1801 kb) / Discussion Paper ( 499 kb)

Michael Taylor, International Land Coalition, Rome

The role of private equity in international agriculture investment – balancing investment opportunities and sustainability criteria ( 841 kb)

/ Abstract ( 18 kb)

Bernd Schanzenbächer, EBG Capital, Zurich

Workshop documents

SDC's Global Programme Food Security ( 79 kb)

Andrea Ries, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, Bern

An introduction to the International Land Coalition ( 1367 kb)

ILC’s Commercial Pressures on Land initiative ( 120 kb)

Michael Taylor and Madiodio Niasse, International Land Coalition, Rome

Back-to-Office-Report on the workshop ( 55 kb)

Katja Gehne, nccr trade regulation, Bern

Summary of group work ( 20 kb)

Background reading

3D --> Trade - Human Rights - Equitable Economy: The Global Land Grab: A Human Rights Approach, 2009 ( 203 kb)

3D --> Trade - Human Rights - Equitable Economy: Holding the Actors Involved in the Global Land Grab to Account: The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Urges Action From Cambodia, Information note June 2009 ( 183 kb)

AGTER: Commercial Pressures on Land Worldwide: issues and conceptual framework for ILC, March 2009

( 346 kb)

Brussels Development Briefings: "Land Access and Rural Development: New Challenges, New Opportunities," February 2009

Cotula, L. [et al.]: Land grab or development opportunity? Agricultural investment and international land deals in Africa, IIED, FAO, IFAD, 2009 ( 1862 kb)

FAO: From Land Grab to Win-Win, FAO Economic and Social Perspectives Policy Brief 4, June 2009 ( 99 kb)

GRAIN: Landgrab resource page

Hallam, D.: International Investments in Agricultural Production, FAO Expert meeting on How to Feed the World in 2050, 24-26 June 2009 ( 80 kb)

IFAD: The Growing Demand for Land: Risks and Opportunities for Smallholder Farmers ( 1354 kb)

IIED: ‘Land grabs’ in Africa: can the deals work for development? IIED briefing, September 2009 ( 829 kb)

IIED: Legal empowerment in practice: Using legal tools to secure land rights in Africa, March 2008 ( 1474 kb)

IIED: Legal tools for citizens empowerment: getting a better deal from natural resource investment, 2009 ( 1224 kb)

Knaup, H. / Mittelstaedt J.: Die große Jagd nach Land, Der Spiegel 31/2009 vom 27.07.2009, S. 86


Oxfam: Investing in Poor Farmers Pays. Rethinking how to invest in agriculture, June 2009

Smaller C. / Mann H.: A Thirst for Distant Lands: Foreign investment in agricultural land and water. IISD, 2009. ( 442 kb)

Von Braun, J. / Meinzen-Dick, R.: "Land Grabbing" by Foreign Investors in Developing Countries, IFPRI, April 2009 ( 433 kb)

Woerz, E. [et al.]: Potential for GCC Agro-Investments in Africa and Central Asia, Gulf Research Center, September 2008 ( 2350 kb)
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Source: SDC

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