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.
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.
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.
The RAI principles do not move further in navigating the slippery terrain of defining ‘responsible’ versus ‘irresponsible’ investment - possibly resulting in them doing more harm than good. It is essential to push back against a regressive use of the principles and monitor what other actors are doing in the name of the principles.
Jennifer Franco, Satoko Kishimoto, Sylvia Kay, Timothé Feodoroff, Gloria Pracucci
20 October 2014
Water grabbing refers to situations where powerful actors take control of valuable water resources for their own benefit, depriving local communities whose livelihoods often depend on these resources and ecosystems.
There are an estimated 500 million smallholder farms in the developing world which provide livelihoods for 2 billion people and produce about 80% of the food consumed in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. It is these small farmers who truly contribute to global food security.
Effective state policies and investments in support of small scale food producers does not only provide a socially just alternative to a model based on foreign direct investment in agro-industries, but it is also a safeguard against land grabbing.
'Policy Shift' identifies ten key policy changes that are required to support just alternative agriculture investments. The approach integrates human rights into the core of decision-making and is informed by practical, on-the-ground examples of positive agricultural investments that benefit both small-scale farmers and communities.
Horizontally structured initiatives, like farmer to farmer partnerships, are more equal forms of rural development than traditional public private partnerships (PPP). They provide equal access to technology and knowledge production, to land and markets.
Delegates of the 9th Asia European Heads of Government Meeting (ASEM9) may not have known that the luxury villas, in which they met, had displaced a thriving farming community. But the story of the land grab is all too familiar one and casts doubt on the commitment of Asian and European nations to work for food security and sustainable development.
Much touted "land investment" involves appropriation or landgrabbing. What positive alternative investments should public policy support which would strengthen the right to food, re-valorise agricultural work, and build up ecological capital?