Land

While land grabbing has been going on since ages, today's massive assault on fertile farmland by investors, speculators and food and biofuel corporations is something big and new. Over the past ten years, ever since GRAIN first exposed the issue and put it on the global agenda, land grabbing has become one of our most active areas of work. 

GRAIN's contribution takes the form of research, information and outreach work. We also support the struggles of different civil society organisations against corporate land deals, especially in Asia and Africa. We do so mainly through capacity building, strategy development and alliance building together with partners that aim to turn the tide. 

New agricultural agreement in Argentina: A land grabber’s “instruction manual”

The Government of the Province of Río Negro, Argentina, and one of China's largest agribusiness companies are moving forward on an agreement that hands over thousands of hectares of land for the production of soybean and cereal crops for export. The Río Negro provincial government has touted this project as a “food production agreement” but local communities and people across Argentina are voicing their opposition, denouncing it as a land giveaway for industrial soy production. They call the agreement “a land grabber’s instruction manual”. This issue of Against the grain gives the details.

The Government of the Province of Río Negro, Argentina, and one of China's largest agribusiness companies are moving forward on an agreement that hands over thousands of hectares of land for the production of soybean and cereal crops for export. The Río Negro provincial government has touted this project as a “food production agreement” but local communities and people across Argentina are voicing their opposition, denouncing it as a land giveaway for industrial soy production. They call the agreement “a land grabber’s instruction manual”. This issue of Against the grain gives the details.

World Bank report on land grabbing: beyond the smoke and mirrors

On 7 September 2010, the World Bank finally published its much anticipated report on the global farmland grab. GRAIN's take on the report is that it is both a disappointment and a failure. Very little new and solid data about how these land grab deals are playing out on the ground is presented. The findings that the Bank does articulate -- that the land grab trend is huge and growing, that communities are not benefiting and that the conditions under which most of these deals are being pursued are extremely poor -- corroborate what many have been saying for two years already. The Bank's own direct involvement in the global land grab is hardly mentioned. Most of the report is smoke and mirrors talk about potentials and opportunities, leading us to the conclusion that there is a huge disconnect between what the World Bank says, what is happening on the ground and what is truly needed. Right now, numerous governments and civil society organisations are calling to put a brake of one form or another on these land grab deals, which the study essentially ignores.

On 7 September 2010, the World Bank finally published its much anticipated report on the global farmland grab. GRAIN's take on the report is that it is both a disappointment and a failure. Very little new and solid data about how these land grab deals are playing out on the ground is presented. The findings that the Bank does articulate -- that the land grab trend is huge and growing, that communities are not benefiting and that the conditions under which most of these deals are being pursued are extremely poor -- corroborate what many have been saying for two years already. The Bank's own direct involvement in the global land grab is hardly mentioned. Most of the report is smoke and mirrors talk about potentials and opportunities, leading us to the conclusion that there is a huge disconnect between what the World Bank says, what is happening on the ground and what is truly needed. Right now, numerous governments and civil society organisations are calling to put a brake of one form or another on these land grab deals, which the study essentially ignores.

Turning African farmland over to big business

The US’s Millennium Challenge Corporation was created by the US Congress in January 2004 and has a large budget. There is a big carrot dangling to lure countries in as the money is disbursed in the form of grants, not loans. With its land projects in Mali, Ghana, Mozambique and Benin it is plain the MCC is playing a key role in commodifying Africa’s farmlands and opening them up to US agribusiness.

The US’s Millennium Challenge Corporation was created by the US Congress in January 2004 and has a large budget. There is a big carrot dangling to lure countries in as the money is disbursed in the form of grants, not loans. With its land projects in Mali, Ghana, Mozambique and Benin it is plain the MCC is playing a key role in commodifying Africa’s farmlands and opening them up to US agribusiness.

The new farm owners

Corporate investors lead the rush for control over overseas farmland With all the talk about "food security," and distorted media statements like "South Korea leases half of Madagascar's land," it may not be evident to a lot of people that the lead actors in today's global land grab for overseas food production are not countries or governments but corporations. So much attention has been focused on the involvement of states, like Saudi Arabia, China or South Korea. But the reality is that while governments are facilitating the deals, private companies are the ones getting control of the land. And their interests are simply not the same as those of governments.

Corporate investors lead the rush for control over overseas farmland With all the talk about "food security," and distorted media statements like "South Korea leases half of Madagascar's land," it may not be evident to a lot of people that the lead actors in today's global land grab for overseas food production are not countries or governments but corporations. So much attention has been focused on the involvement of states, like Saudi Arabia, China or South Korea. But the reality is that while governments are facilitating the deals, private companies are the ones getting control of the land. And their interests are simply not the same as those of governments.

CGIAR joins global farmland grab

An internal document recently posted on the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) website reveals that IRRI has been advising Saudi Arabia in the context of its strategy to acquire farm land overseas for its own food production.

An internal document recently posted on the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) website reveals that IRRI has been advising Saudi Arabia in the context of its strategy to acquire farm land overseas for its own food production.

Korean women farmers on the Daewoo/Madagascar land deal

Daewoo Logistics is a subsidiary of the South Korean conglomerate Daewoo Corporation. In November 2008, world media reported that it was securing rights to 1.3 million hectares of farmland in Madagascar -- half the country's arable soils - to export back to Korea. A lot of people around the world were shocked by this news and called it neocolonialism. GRAIN sat down with Han Young Me of the Korean Women Peasants Alliance to learn what Korean farmers think of the Daewoo deal and of the Korean government's overall push to have corporations go abroad to produce the country's food.

Daewoo Logistics is a subsidiary of the South Korean conglomerate Daewoo Corporation. In November 2008, world media reported that it was securing rights to 1.3 million hectares of farmland in Madagascar -- half the country's arable soils - to export back to Korea. A lot of people around the world were shocked by this news and called it neocolonialism. GRAIN sat down with Han Young Me of the Korean Women Peasants Alliance to learn what Korean farmers think of the Daewoo deal and of the Korean government's overall push to have corporations go abroad to produce the country's food.

Seized: The 2008 landgrab for food and financial security

Today's food and financial crises have, in tandem, triggered a new global landgrab. On the one hand, “food insecure” governments that rely on imports to feed their people are snatching up vast areas of farmland abroad for their own offshore food production. On the other hand, food corporations and private investors, hungry for profits in the midst of the deepening financial crisis, see investment in foreign farmlands as an important new source of revenue. As a result, fertile agricultural lands are becoming increasingly privatised and concentrated. If left unchecked, this global landgrab could spell the end of small scale farming, and rural livelihoods, in numerous places around the world.

Today's food and financial crises have, in tandem, triggered a new global landgrab. On the one hand, “food insecure” governments that rely on imports to feed their people are snatching up vast areas of farmland abroad for their own offshore food production. On the other hand, food corporations and private investors, hungry for profits in the midst of the deepening financial crisis, see investment in foreign farmlands as an important new source of revenue. As a result, fertile agricultural lands are becoming increasingly privatised and concentrated. If left unchecked, this global landgrab could spell the end of small scale farming, and rural livelihoods, in numerous places around the world.