By Ryan Schlief
The Witness Blog
This week the World Bank is hosting an online consultation with global civil society based on its controversial report released last week: “Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can It Yield Sustainable and Equitable Results?”
Why the controversy on the ‘rising interest in farmland’?
Because the World Bank reports that the ‘rising interest in farmland’ has led to farmers, especially in Africa and Asia, being forced from their farmland through deals made by international investors, food-importing countries and national governments in the name of development – also known as “land grabs.” (See the WITNESS backgrounder on development-induced displacement.)
The World Bank walks a delicate line by supporting these “land grabs” but advising investors to adopt guidelines to limit or prevent the widespread abuse it outlines elsewhere in the report.
Land grabs rising globally
According to The Economist, between 37 to 49 million acres of farmland were put up for sale in deals involving foreign nationals between 2006 and mid-2009. When food prices soared in 2008, countries dependent on food imports looked for cheaper alternatives. What resulted and continues to occur en masse is the large-scale purchase of farmland – especially in Africa and Asia – by international multinational corporations to grow commodities and then sell abroad to food-importing countries.
Read full post at The Witness Bloglast year.