The time has come for a transformation of Europe’s food systems. Small-scale food producers, peasants, community groups, environmental justice activists and others have been calling for years for a shift towards agriculture that nourishes communities, regenerates ecosystems, and provides decent and sustainable livelihoods. The concept of agroecology encompasses these ambitions, referring to the science, movement, and practice of working with nature to build food sovereignty. The climate crisis and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic have only made it clearer how urgent such a transformation is.
Who gets how much and what kinds of land, how, and for what purposes? These are the basic questions around the politics of land. The question of land politics has been resurrected in a big way recently, worldwide, and in ways significantly different from the past.
Land politics – who controls what land, how is it used, for how long, for what purposes and to whose benefit – is a central pillar of this debate. As politicians across Europe struggle to balance the urgent need for climate action with the need to strengthen equity and popular support for new policies, the risk of societal discord looms large, fuelled by farmer protests, perceptions of ‘agri-bashing,’ and long-running tensions between conservation movements and agricultural communities. This has been made more complicated by the interweaving of questions of land and national identity and an apparently increasing disconnect between those living in rural and urban areas.
While the overall amount of agricultural land in Europe is shrinking, it is also becoming increasingly concentrated in a few large landholdings and in the hands of relatively few big private business entities.
Law 1448 has been promoted as a demonstration of ‘good will’ by Santos' government in Colombia. The law’s main objective is to provide recognition to the victims of the Colombian armed conflict. This stands in contrast to the policy of denial enacted by the previous government.
New geopolitical dynamics and the surge for natural resources, such as land, accompany the rise of the BRICS countries in the global arena. In this paper, I discuss the case of Chinese agricultural land investments in the Central Asian state, Tajikistan. Emerging from a Soviet past, Tajikistan seems to be on its way to becoming one of China’s newest satellite states.
The Bangkok-based Sino-Thai company Choern Pakard Group (CP Group), Asia's largest and most prominent agro-food/feed corporation, has led an industrial maize contract farming scheme with (ex-)poppy upland smallholders in Shan State, northern Myanmar to supply China’s chicken-feed market. Thailand, as a Middle-Income Country (MIC) and regional powerhouse, has long-tapped China’s phenomenal economic growth and undersupplied consumer demand.
Jennifer Franco, Hannah Twomey, 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.
What are the class-differentiated implications of food sovereignty in a zone of ecological crisis—Bangladesh’s coastal Khulna district? Much land in this deltaic zone that had previously been employed for various forms of peasant production has been overrun and transformed by the introduction of brackish-water shrimp aquaculture.
Jun Borras, Jennifer Franco, Cristóbal Kay, Max Spoor
07 December 2011
A critical re-assessment of a UN FAO study on land grabbing finds that a too-narrow definition has obscured evidence of land grabbing on a wider geographical scale than previously thought; this research includes new evidence of cases in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Fisheries systems are widely considered to be ‘in crisis’ in both economic and ecological terms, a considerable concern given their significance to food security, international trade and employment the world over. The most common explanation for the crisis suggests that it is caused by weak and illiberal property regimes.
The Dawei region is a highly populated and prosperous region, significant because of its ecologically-diversity and strategic position along the Andaman coast. Thai interest in the region poses an environmental threat and risks massive expulsion of people.
In Argentina, the accumulation of new lands for expanding mining and large-scale agribusiness requires displacement of current occupants. However, peasant resistance is shaping to achieve far-reaching structural change.
European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC), Hands-Off The Land (HOTL) Alliance
24 June 2013
Land issues and 'land grabs' are mostly associated with the global South, however 13 country studies in this updated landmark report reveal an accelerating grab and concentration of land across Europe.
From 2000, onwards a growing trend of internationalization of Argentinian firms has emerged, with neighbouring countries as a main focus, particularly Brazil. Agricultural production (particularly "flex crops", such as soybean, linked to the new food-fodder-fuel complex) has constituted a central point of their business.