Responding to Land Grabbing and Promoting Responsible Investment in Agriculture
Harold Liversage, the Land Tenure Adviser for the International Fund for Agricultural Development argues that responsible investment in agriculture is possible if voluntary guidelines are backed up by an empowered civil society.
Land grabbing is an issue of concern broader than foreign land acquisitions. A range of actions are therefore required to address the threats and challenges we face. Governments in developing countries have a key role to play in fostering the development of small-holder farmers and in ensuring responsible investment in agriculture, with the support of international development partners and civil society organisations. Private sector investors - whether small or large, domestic or foreign - can play a positive role too. Social mobilisation is essential, but so is responsible governance in land administration. Guidelines and principles alone will not address the challenges being faced. Engagement in the process of defining them, combined with social mobilisation and some considered tactical alliances could, however, meaningfully maximise the opportunity which the concern about land grabbing has created for those concerned with the prosperity of small-holder farmers in the developing world.