Press Release: Experts gather to discuss solution to global land grab

12 October 2010
Press release

Leading academic experts gather in Rome to discuss how to solve growing social and environmental problems around the global land grab.


Monday 11 October 2010 - Leading academic experts will gather in Rome tomorrow to discuss how to solve growing social and environmental problems around the global land grab.

Competing views and Strategies on Global Land Grabbing is a side event to the Committee on World Food Security Meeting in Rome, and is being organised by the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty and the Transnational Institute (TNI).

The event will feature experts on land grabbing in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America. The UN’s Rapporteur for the Right to Food, Olivier De Schutter, will also take part in the discussion, along with FAO representatives.

The convergence of food, energy and climate crises has seen an explosion in worldwide land grabbing in recent years, where governments and multinational corporations buy up huge areas of land in poor countries to grow food and biofuels.

There has been much debate about what to do about the myriad problems that have arisen as a result –people being driven off their land, exploitation of peasants’ rights, degradation of land and failed investments,” said Jun Borras, co organizer of the event, TNI fellow and an academic who’s been involved in rural social movements internationally since the early 1980s.

The question now is what to do,” said Borras. “A recent World Bank report [1] proposes ‘principles for responsible agricultural investments’ while the FAO proposes voluntary guidelines. Which option, if either, is the correct one?” he side event will cover the key socio-political and economic patterns of land grabbing, how they link to official responses and where to from here. There will be activists from key countries present, with a more personal take on the issue.

Date and time: Tuesday 12 October, 18:00-20:00

Iran Room, Building B/ B116 FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome
METRO B, Stazione Circo Massimo


A list of participants is below. For a full outline of topics and issues to be covered at the event, please contact Jun or Kathy (below).

Contact: Jun Borras – 001 902 4527276 - junborras[at]

Kathy Cumming (Media – the Transnational Institute) – 0031657184159

[1]The World Bank’s Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can I yield sustainable and equitable benefits? Report was released on September 7.


Professor Ian Scoones - Institute for Development Studies, University of Sussex. Focus: biofuels.

Professor Philip McMichael - Cornell University, USA. Focus: the global industrial agrofood-feed-fuel complex.

Professor Ben White - International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), the Hague. Focus: patterns of landgrabbing in Southeast Asia.

Professor Wendy Wolford - Cornell University, USA. Focus: Latin America.

Dr. Oane Visser - Radbaud University, Netherlands. Focus: land grabbing in the former USSR, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Ruth Hall - University of the Western Cape/PLAAS South Africa and Oxford University UK. Focus: patterns of land grabbing in Africa.