At the turn of the 21st century, farmland was still considered an investment backwater by most of the financial sector. Although some insurance companies have had farmland holdings for years, most financial investors found farmland, and agricultural investment in general, unappealing compared to the much higher returns to be made in financial markets.
Jennifer Franco, Pietje Vervest, Tom Kramer, Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, Hannah Twomey
16 February 2015
Myanmar's National Land Use Policy promises to make profound changes to the current economic, social, and political-institutional landscape. This is an important and bold step, but its impact will depend on how it addresses the often “messy” details of actual land based social relations.
Using the case study of the 2012 illegal occupation of farmland owned by the University of California (“Occupy the Farm”), this paper investigates the promises and practical limits of constructing food sovereignty through direct action in the global North. Many grassroots activists find inspiration in the work of the Landless Peasant Movement (MST), La Via Campesina, and the concept(s) of Food Sovereignty (FS); many also express desires to transcend the market/state dichotomy through the creation of “commons”.
On June 15, 2012, seventeen people— farmers and police officers—were killed in Curuguaty, Paraguay. This report focuses on the enabling conditions in the land governance structure that allowed this massacre to take place, detailing a climate of violence and impunity, the absence of protections for small and landless farmers, and the use of state repression in the service of the country’s powerful landed elite.
The island of Bali is home to a rich and unique system of agriculture, based around traditional water management systems developed over the last 1200 years. However, growing pressure from the expansion of the tourist trade as well as the effects of climate change are putting these systems at risk. Farmers are fighting to preserve their livelihoods and maintain a base for local food sovereignty in Bali, but significant changes to policy and practice are needed to protect their rights to land, water, and seed.
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.
A concise and indispensable critical guide to the global phenomenon of land grabbing. Find out how the global land grab is justified, what is driving it, why transparency and guidelines won't stop it, and learn about alternatives that could enable people and communities to regain control of their land and territories.
Shifting cultivation is a form of agro-forestry in which the cultivation of annual agricultural crops is combined with fallowing long enough for trees to grow before the plot is cultivated again. Why is shifting cultivation so controversial, and why do different stakeholders hold such divergent views - for some a valuable and honourable tradition but for others virtually a criminal activity?
With two-thirds of the world’s poor rural poor, rural democratisation is clearly relevant and urgent, but at the same time an especially difficult--and underestimated--challenge. If democracy is to be organically rooted in any society, the struggle to “get there” must systematically be opened up to integrate rural poor citizens system-wide, taking stock of their aspirations and, more importantly, their existing efforts to gain control of decision-making affecting their lives.
This assessment is in response to the 6th draft of the NLUP, released in May 2015, following months of public and expert consultations. It outlines some of the key positive and negative points of the new draft.
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.