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On Planning for Development: land grab
rural development - agrarian policies - agribusiness  - food - migration - poverty - globalization 

 Final call for organisations to sign the Dakar appeal against land grabbing!!
June 2011

During the World Social Forum in Dakar, Senegal, in February 2011, social movements and organisations released a collective appeal against land grabbing. Over 150 organisations have already signed. If your organisation would also like to support this appeal, please do so before 15 June 2011.
The Dakar Appeal, together with the names of organisations endorsing it, will be presented during the mobilizations against the G20 Agriculture Ministers' meeting in Paris on 22-23 June.
Read and sign the petition here:

Organisational signatures so far

US universities in Africa 'land grab'
John Vidal and Claire Provost - Wednesday 8 June 2011

Harvard and other major American universities are working through British hedge funds and European financial speculators to buy or lease vast areas of African farmland in deals, some of which may force many thousands of people off their land, according to a new study.
Researchers say foreign investors are profiting from "land grabs" that often fail to deliver the promised benefits of jobs and economic development, and can lead to environmental and social problems in the poorest countries in the world.

From How We Made It in Africa

Land for a bottle of whisky? Rethinking land grab in Africa
Claude Harding - June 13 2011

Unregulated land purchases by foreign investors are forcing millions of African smallholder farmers off their land in order to make room for export commodities such as cut flowers and biofuels.
A series of investigative reports published by the US-based Oakland Institute says that these investments are increasing price volatility and supply insecurity in the global food system. Titled Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa, the reports examine the impact of “land grabs” in a number of African countries, including Tanzania, South Sudan, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Mali and Sierra Leone.

Why Did the Oakland Institute Publish its Findings on Land Grabs in Africa?

Our mission at the Oakland Institute is to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues in both national and international forums.
Land grabs encompassing the size of France, displacing thousands of families, building miles of irrigation canals without concern for environmental impacts, allowing crops to be planted that do not improve food security for Africa--done with little or no consultation with those directly impacted, and have no accountability or transparency--are exactly the kind of issues the Oakland Institute was established to investigate and make public.
For the public to be fully engaged it needs to be informed. Everyone would agree that investors need information. Isn't it fair that those who make policy are fully informed as well, or is the right to know a privilege of the investor class only.
We know that once families are displaced, once the canals are built, once the small farmers lose their livelihoods, and once the environmental damage is done there is no going back. This would not and could not be repaired.
For those who make agricultural policy, for the small family farmers, for those advocating food and water security issues, for those who care deeply about the ecological health of the planet, and for those who invest from the sense of a social justice perspective, we humbly offer this information with the hope that it will be of some benefit to your work and lives.
- Jeff Furman, Oakland Institute Board and Chair of the Ben & Jerry's corporate board and a trustee of the Ben & Jerry's Foundation
For further explanation of the Oakland Institute's motivation for making this information public, please read FAQs on Food Security and Western Investors.
(Mis)Investment in Agriculture: The Role of the International Finance Corporation in the Global Land Grab
Going Against the Grain: World Bank’s Leaked Report on Land Grabs Contradicts its advice to the Developing Countries
The Great Land Grab: Rush for World’s Farmland Threatens Food Security for the Poor

From The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank - 2011
Rising Global Interest in Farmland
Can It Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits?

Klaus Deininger and Derek Byerlee, with Jonathan Lindsay,Andrew Norton, Harris Selod, and Mercedes Stickler

...the demand for land has been enormous. Compared to an average annual expansion of global agricultural land of less than 4 million hectares before 2008, approximately 56 million hectares worth of large-scale farmland deals were announced even before the end of 2009. More than 70 percent of such demand has been in Africa; countries such as Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Sudan have transferred millions of hectares to investors in recent years.
At the same time, in many cases the announced deals have never been implemented. Risks are often large. Plans are scaled back due to a variety of reasons including unrealistic objectives, price changes, and inadequate infrastructure, technology, and institutions. For example, we found that actual farming has so far only started on 21 percent of the announced deals. Moreover, case studies demonstrate that even some of the profitable projects do not generate satisfactory local benefits, while, of course, none of the unprofitable or nonoperational ones do.
Institutional gaps at the country level can be immense. Too often, they have included a lack of documented rights claimed by local people and weak consultation processes that have led to uncompensated loss of land rights, especially by vulnerable groups; a limited capacity to assess a proposed project’s technical and economic viability; and a limited capacity to assess or enforce environmental and social safeguards.

The Economist, May 7th 2011, page 61, summarized the findings of this report as follows:
"...some conclusions seem warranted. When land deals were first proposed, they were said to offer the host countries four main benefits: more jobs, new technology, better infrastructure and extra tax revenues. None of these promises has been fulfilled..."

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Food for the cities

Food, Cities and Agriculture: challenges and priorities.

A briefing note: "More and more of the world’s population is becoming concentrated in and around large cities. Ensuring the right to have access to safe and nutritious food to the billions of people living in cities represents a global development challenge of the highest order.
  - An FAO briefing note highlights the major issues related to food, agriculture and cities and provides a set of recommendations for action at the global, national and local level" (
link to the document).
  - Open discussion now on Web-based forum at: 
                                                   (November 5, 2009)

International investments in agricultural productions
(David Hallam, FAO.)

There has been a recent resurgence of interest in international investment in agricultural land. Purchases and leasing of agricultural land in Africa by investors in various Gulf States for food production in support of their food security strategy have perhaps attracted most attention until now, although these are just one of a variety of actual or planned investment flows with different motivations. Other countries outside Africa are also being targeted and major investments have also been made or are being planned by Chinese and, rather controversially, investors of the Republic of Korea. Investment companies in Europe and North America are also exploring opportunities motivated by potentially high expected returns on investment partly due to higher food prices and especially where biofuel feedstock production is a possibility.
The main driver for the recent spate of interest in international investment in food production appears to be food security and a fear arising from the recent high food prices and policy-induced supply shocks that dependence on world markets for foods supplies or agricultural raw materials has become more risky. Investment in food production overseas is one possible strategic response among others. At the same time, a number of developing countries in Africa are making strenuous efforts to attract such investments to exploit “surplus” land, encouraging international access to land resources whose ownership and control in the past have typically been entirely national.
Not surprisingly, the apparently anomalous situation of food insecure, least developed countries in Africa selling their land assets to rich countries to produce food to be repatriated to feed their own wealthier people has attracted substantial media interest. It has also attracted international concern more generally, including at the recent G8 agricultural ministers’ meeting. Some argue that these investments could mark the beginning of a fundamental change in the geopolitics of international agriculture. Certainly, complex and controversial issues – economic, political, institutional, legal and ethical – are raised in relation to food security, poverty reduction, rural development, technology and access to resources, especially land. On the other hand, the low level of investment in developing country agriculture, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, over decades has been highlighted as a matter of concern and the underlying root cause of the recent world food crisis so any possibility of additional investment resources cannot be dismissed out of hand. The focus needs to be on how these investments can be made “win-win” rather than “neo-colonialism”.

Global protocol could limit Sub-Saharan land grab, Monday November 2 2009
by Nick Mathiason
Aggressive moves by China, South Korea and Gulf states to buy vast tracts of agricultural land in sub-Saharan Africa could soon be limited by a new global international protocol. A scramble for African farmland has in recent years seen the equivalent of Italy's entire arable land hoovered up by businesses from emerging economies. The Food and Agriculture Organisation...
Developed countries face threat of soaring prices and food shortages
The Observer, Sunday November 1 2009
by Nick Mathiason
America and Europe should prepare for massive rises in oil and food prices, a leading analyst at Goldman Sachs has warned. Tomorrow the World Bank, the United Nations and politicians from a number of countries gather in London to discuss food security. Concern is growing that global population growth, climate change, pressure on water supplies and increasing warned pressure to grow biofuels would eat further into food production.

GRAIN is an international non-governmental organisation which promotes the sustainable management and use of agricultural biodiversity based on people's control over genetic resources and local knowledge.
Seized: The 2008 landgrab for food and financial security
Annex: The 2008 land grabbers for food and financial security
Author: GRAIN Date: October 2008
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.
A food system that kills - Swine flu is meat industry's latest plague
April 2009
Mexico is in the midst of a hellish repeat of Asia's bird flu experience, though on a more deadly scale. Once again, the official response from public authorities has come too late and bungled in cover-ups. And once again, the global meat industry is at the centre of the story, ramping up denials as the weight of evidence about its role grows. Just five years after the start of the H5N1 bird flu crisis, and after as many years of a global strategy against influenza pandemics coordinated by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), the world is now reeling from a swine flu disaster. The global strategy has failed and needs to be replaced with a public health system that the public can trust.
Corporate candyland - The looming GM sugar cane invasion
April 2009
One of the most destructive developments in agriculture over the past two decades has been the boom in soya production in the southern cone of Latin America. The corporations that led that boom are now moving aggressively into sugar cane, focusing on large tracts of land in southern countries where sugar can be produced cheaply. If these developments are not resisted, the impacts are likely to be severe: local food production will be overrun, workers and communities will face displacement and exposure to increased levels of pesticides, and foreign agribusiness will tighten its grip on sugar production. We look at the intersection between the development of genetically modified (GM) sugar cane and transformations in the global sugar industry.
The soils of war
March 2009
In this Briefing, we look at how the US’s agricultural reconstruction work in Afghanistan and Iraq not only gives easy entry to US agribusiness and pushes neoliberal policies, something that has always been a primary function of US development assistance, but is also an intrinsic part of the US military campaign in these countries and the surrounding regions. Seen together with the growing clout that the US and its corporate allies exercise over donor agencies and global bodies – such as the World Bank, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) centres, which influence the food and farm policies adopted by the recipient countries – this is an alarming development. These are not unique cases born from unusual circumstances, but constitute a likely template for US activities overseas, as it continues to expand its “war on terror” and pursue US corporate interests.

Food crisis and the global land grab
Governments and corporations are buying up farmland in other countries to grow their own food - or simply to make money

This site provides an open, up-to-date and easy to search library of over 800 articles, interviews and reports on farmland grabs around the world published since the outbreak of the food crisis in 2008. This site is open-publishing, and anyone can register and upload material.

From The Economist - 21 May 2009
Buying farmland abroad
Outsourcing's third wave

Rich food importers are acquiring vast tracts of poor countries' farmland. Is this beneficial foreign investment or neocolonialism?

EARLY this year, the king of Saudi Arabia held a ceremony to receive a batch of rice, part of the first crop to be produced under something called the King Abdullah initiative for Saudi agricultural investment abroad. It had been grown in Ethiopia, where a group of Saudi investors is spending $100m to raise wheat, barley and rice on land leased to them by the government. The investors are exempt from tax in the first few years and may export the entire crop back home. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) is spending almost the same amount as the investors ($116m) providing 230,000 tonnes of food aid between 2007 and 2011 to the 4.6m Ethiopians it thinks are threatened by hunger and malnutrition.
From Foreign Policy in Focus
Global Land Grab
By Alexandra Spieldoch, June 18, 2009
With the food crisis still a fresh memory, land-poor countries are staking huge claims to arable land in the Global South.

International Investments in Agricultural Production
David Hallam
Paper presented at the conference “Land Grab: the Race for the World’s Farmland”, Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC, 5 May 2009.
...Not surprisingly, the apparently anomalous situation of food insecure, least developed countries in Africa selling their land assets to rich countries to produce food to be repatriated to feed their own wealthier people has attracted substantial media interest. It has also attracted international concern more generally, including at the recent G8 agricultural ministers’ meeting. Some argue that these investments could mark the beginning of a fundamental change in the geopolitics of international agriculture. Certainly, complex and controversial issues – economic, political, institutional, legal and ethical – are raised in relation to food security, poverty reduction, rural development, technology and access to resources, especially land. On the other hand, the low level of investment in developing country agriculture, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, over decades has been highlighted as a matter of concern and the underlying root cause of the recent world food crisis so any possibility of additional investment resources cannot be dismissed out of hand. The focus needs to be on how these investments can be made “win-win” rather than “neo-colonialism”...

“Land Grabbing” by Foreign Investors in Developing Countries: Risks and Opportunities
Table of media reports on overseas land investments to secure food supplies, 2006-09
Joachim von Braun and Ruth Meinzen-Dick
International Food Policy Research Institute Policy Brief 13 • April 2009
One of the lingering effects of the food price crisis of 2007–08 on the world food system is the proliferating acquisition of farmland in developing countries by other countries seeking to ensure their food supplies. Increased pressures on natural resources, water scarcity, export restrictions imposed by major producers when food prices were high, and growing distrust in the functioning of regional and global markets have pushed countries short in land and water to find alternative means of producing food. These land acquisitions have the potential to inject muchneeded investment into agriculture and rural areas in poor developing countries, but they also raise concerns about the impacts on poor local people, who risk losing access to and control over land on which they depend. It is crucial to ensure that these land deals, and the environment within which they take place, are designed in ways that will reduce the threats and facilitate the opportunities for all parties involved.

Destroying African Agriculture
By Walden Bello - 7 June 2008

Biofuel production is certainly one of the culprits in the current global food crisis. But while the diversion of corn from food to biofuel feedstock has been a factor in food prices shooting up, the more primordial problem has been the conversion of economies that are largely food-self-sufficient into chronic food importers. Here the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) figure as much more important villains

M. Lamine Gakou (1987) Genral editor: Samir Amin
The crisis in African agriculture - Studies on African Political Economy
Our aim in undertaking this work is to demonstrate, or provide further confirmation that the crisis affecting Africa particularly - even though it is more widespread - has its profound roots in the integration of African economies into the world capitalist system.
The agricultural sectors and the rural areas are most often the ones most affected because of this integration.
The case of agriculture, which, in most countries, is in crisis because it is essentially oriented towards the world market and not towards the feeding of the local people, shows that it is idle for the underdeveloped countries, and particularly for Africa, to seek solutions to their problems in the framework of a system whose modus operandi and rules of the game operate in such a way that it is always the poorest and economically weakest that suffer the most serious consequences of the crisis.
If the developed capitalist countries can make the underdeveloped countries bear at least a part of the burden of their own crisis, in these countries and in Africa in particular, the so-called 'non-modern', 'traditional' sectors, agriculture above all, bear more of the burden. Other explanations can be found for the crisis, but we feel that these explanations can be no more than secondary, the fundamental cause being the integration of Africa into a system over which it has absolutely no control.

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UNCTAD´s annual report on the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) is the most comprehensive, and authoritative, source of socio-economic analysis and data on the world s 48 most impoverished nations.
This year, it raises the following important questions:

Why, at a time of record resource flows to developing countries, is the LDCs share of external finance falling?
Why, twenty years after the Green Revolution, have many LDCs failed to improve their agricultural productivity?
Why, at a time of unparalleled prosperity, are the populations of nearly half the LDCs getting less to eat than ten years ago?
What can the international community do to help those LDCs that have experienced serious civil strife for over a decade, and whose economies are in regress?

From The World Bank Group archives
Public and Private Roles in Agricultural Development
Proceedings if the Twelfth Agricultural Symposium
J. R. Anderson and C. de Haan, editors - 1992
File Copy 11505
From the Foreword: The tradition of the Annual Agricultural Symposium is now well established...Our deliberations got off to a spirited start with the Opening Address of Mr. Mahbub ul Haq, formerly of the World Bank and of many senior positions in Pakistan and, most recently, of UNDP. His address "The Myth of Friendly Markets" led to a vigorous debate with participation by many of the very large audience of Bank staff.
The theme of this year's Symposium - Public and Private Roles in Agricultural Development- is one that is to the fore of debate on many aspects of Bank operations...the contributions ranged accross roles in marketing, credit, research, extension, input supply, seeds, veterinary services, and grassroots development initiatives.

Table of contents:
Opening Session:
Opening Statement, by Lewis Preston
The Myth of the Friendly Markets, by Mahbub ul Haq

Governments and the handling of purchased ibputs and marketed outputs
The art of privatizing after decades of planning, by Robert L. Roos
How to privatize a parastatal, by Wilfred Candler
Rural finance in developing countries, by Jacob Yaron

New approaches to supporting agricultural research and Extension
An initiative involving the private sector in meat and livestock research, by Nigel H. Monteith
The United Kingdom experience in the privatization of extension, by Paul Ingram

Agricultural delivery systems
From agricultural extension to rural information management, by Willem Zijp
Energizing the communication component in extension: a case for new pilot projects, by Bella Mody
New technologies in soil fertility maintenance private sector contributions, by Dennis H. Parish
Public and private sector roles in the supply of veterinary services, by Cornelis de Haan and Dina L. Umali
Fostering a Fledging Seed Industry, by Alexander Grobman
The development and marketing of new material from biotechnology in the commercial sector, by Sue Sundstrom

Long-term issues affecting the environment in which public and private roles are played out
The global supply of agricultural land, by Pierre Crosson
Land use planning and productive capacity assessment, by Wim Sombroek
Update on aquaculture: small-scale freshwater fish culture in South Asia, by Darrell L. Deppert
Nutritional considerations in World Bank lending for economic adjustment, by Harold Alderman

Nongovernmental organizations
Private voluntary initiatives: enhancing the public sector's capacity to respond to nongovernmental organizations needs, by Anthony Bebbington and John Farrington
Nongovernmental organization alternatives and fresh initiatives in extension: the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme experience, by Shoaib Sultan Khan

Closing session
Closing remarks, by Michel Petit

Mexico - Agricultural Development and Rural Poverty Project Vol. 1 (English)(1997)
Mexico - Protected Areas Program Restructuring Project Vol. 1 (English)(1997)
Mexico - Rural Finance Technical Assistance and Pilot Project Vol. 1 (English)(1996)
Mexico - Third Integrated Rural Development (PIDER III) Project Vol. 1 (English)(1990)
Mexico - Second Integrated Rural Development (PIDER II) Project Vol. 1 (English)(1986)
Mexico - Integrated Rural Development (PIDER) Project Vol. 1 (English)(1983)
Mexico - Third Integrated Rural Development (PIDER III) Project Vol. 1 (English)(1981)
Mexico - Third Integrated Rural Development (PIDER III) Project Vol. 1 (English)(1981)
Mexico - Second Integrated Rural Development (PIDER II) Project Vol. 1 (English)(1977)
Mexico - Second Integrated Rural Development (PIDER II) Project Vol. 1 (English)(1977)
Centro de Documentación de Desarrollo Rural
El estado mundial de la agricultura y la alimentación 2000 (FAO website)
Cumbre Mundial sobre la Alimentación.-1996
Organización de las Naciones Unidas para la agricultura y la alimentación
Inter-Réseaux. Développement Rural
La situation mondiale de l'alimentation et de l'agriculture 2000 (FAO website)
Sommet mondial de l'alimentation.-November 2001
Sommet mondial de l'alimentation.-1996
Organisation de Nations Unies pour l'alimentation et l'agriculture

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