Europe’s young and aspiring farmers will face increasing barriers to entry as land is rapidly concentrated in relatively few big farms. Land is even more unevenly distributed than wealth. A steep decline in Europe’s small farms is underway with damaging consequences for food security, employment, and development.
A series of infographics that expose the massive concentration of land in Europe. Over the last decade, the EU has lost a third of all its small farms, 3% of its farms now own 52% of farm land, and land inequality has become worse than wealth inequality.
The European Union’s approach to bioenergy is shaped by contradictory policies. Climate concerns are highlighted in public discourse and assure broad public support for renewable energy, including bioenergy. Meanwhile, however, the EU’s corporate growth and trade agenda promotes the use of energy that actually increases the EU’s footprint on land elsewhere, with significant implications for environmental and social justice.
Zoe Brent, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Jun Borras, Gonzalo Colque, Sérgio Sauer
04 February 2016
The approval of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security in 2012 marked a historic victory. The high level of participation of civil society organizations and social movements in the negotiation of every word of this text sets this global policy document apart from the majority of other initiatives of this nature, to date.
Land politics and the social movements mobilizing around land have changed profoundly, inspiring a new generation of scholar-activists. Professor Saturnino ('Jun') M. Borras explores land politics, agrarian movements and scholar-activism in his inaugural lecture at the International Institute for Social Studies.
The new publication ‘Connecting Smallholders to Markets’ supports advocacy efforts by social movements on market issues by making the recommendations adopted at the Committee on World Food Security more understandable and accessible.
Jennifer Franco, Hannah Twomey, Khu Khu Ju, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer
28 January 2016
“Land is like our vein; it is vital for our living. After our land was confiscated, we don’t know what to do for our livelihood,” says a farmer from Kachin State in Myanmar. Today many inhabitants of rural communities in Myanmar live under threat of losing their lands in a battle for resources spurred by ethnic conflict, exploitative land laws, and powerful economic actors. The existence of a legal right to the land does not translate into that right being respected in practice, and people across the country are now working to protect their right to the land.
Governments are facing an existential crisis with respect to food security. What is their role in ensuring local food security and supporting domestic agricultural sectors, and particularly small- scale farmers, while the world is increasingly looking to market-based solutions to meet global food security needs?