August 19, 2013
Much has been made of the apparent acquisition of large areas of land mainly in Africa, but also in Asia and South America by rich, but land-poor countries as well as international investors, in order to grow food and biofuel crops. According to the headlines, vast tracts of land have been gobbled up at peppercorn prices to boost the food and fuel supplies of China, India and the oil kingdoms of the Middle East. According to development NGOs, tens of millions of hectares of land have been grabbed in this way with scant regard to the rights and needs of indigenous populations.
The reality of this process is likely to be much less startling. Many of the schemes have faltered, the most successful agricultural development schemes are turning out to be those where the local population is most involved and the actual area involved in these foreign land purchases is proving […]