Land grabbing in africa and the new politics of food

Future Agricultures | 22 June 2011

By Ruth Hall

In Kenya's Tana River delta, more than
25,000 people living in 30 villages will be evicted from their ancestral land by foreign corporations. Photo: Michael Laplace Toulouse

'Africa is for sale’ is how some characterise it; there is a ‘land grab’ underway. Others are more cautious, speaking of ‘large-scale land acquisi- tions’, while the World Bank notes euphemisti- cally the ‘rising global interest in farmland’. Whatever the prevailing terminology and ideologies, there is now ample evidence that large swathes of African farmland are being allocated to investors, usually on long-term leases, at a rate not seen for decades—indeed, not since the colonial period. The fact that much of this land is being acquired to provide for the future food and fuel needs of foreign nations has, not surprisingly, led to allegations that a neo-colonial push by more wealthy and powerful nations is underway to annex the continent’s key natural resources.

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