Harold Liversage, the Land Tenure Adviser for the International Fund for Agricultural Development argues that responsible investment in agriculture is possible if voluntary guidelines are backed up by an empowered civil society.
The so-called “global land grab” continues the historic process of land enclosures described by Sir Thomas More in Utopia as “sheep eating men,” when English peasants were evicted from the commons to make room for private estates.
Since the first huge spike in global food prices back in 2007-2008, companies and foreign governments have acquired or signed long term leases for land in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia. Many of these transactions were negotiated quickly and in secrecy.
New data shows that less than one-quarter of the area of large-scale land concessions awarded to businesses since 2010-11 is being used for agriculture. This raises “serious questions” about the government’s land use policies.