The race for land

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Maria Nsindo, a member of the natural resource management committee Umoji in Metangula district, Mozambique, which is ensuring the communities’ rights to land. Photo: Kajsa Johansson
Afrika Grupperna, Forum Syd and Swedish Cooperative Centre | December 2012

The race for land
 
The race for land in poor countries has escalated in recent years - investing in land has become a growing business, carving up millions of hectares worldwide. Investors are leasing fertile farmland at bargain prices in order to produce food, feed and agro-fuels for an export market. The phenomenon of land grabbing – large-scale investments in agricultural land in developing countries – has been accompanied by evictions of poor farmers from their land, destruction of livelihoods and severe violations of human rights. Local food security is threatened in many countries.
 
Who are the actors and what are the drivers behind this global rush for land? How can peasants’ rights to their land be ensured? Guidelines and standards for ‘responsible’ investments have been presented as a way to mitigate the negative aspects of the investments. Is this a solution? What are the alternatives to large-scale land investments?
 
This report examines different drivers behind the recent escalation of land deals as well as common arguments legitimating land grabbing. The report discusses land tenure rights and land governance, and presents case studies from Cambodia and Mozambique. How have Cambodian subsistence farmers been affected by investments in industrial sugar plantations? How has the civil society in Mozambique been able to influence the country’s land law and investments in agriculture?
Original source: Forum Syd
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