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Addressing the Drivers of the Global Rush for Farmland Acquisitions

The proliferation of large-scale foreign land acquisitions (FLAs) in poor countries have been a matter of concern to the international community over the last two years. Many of these deals are tantamount to land grabbing that violate the right to land and right to food of small farmers and fishers, especially women, pastoralists and tribal peoples.

To contain the backlash against these deals, proponents have put their weight behind the introduction of a code of conduct or principles to which land investments should adhere to make them acceptable. These regulatory principles appear desirable in principle in order to mitigate the negative impacts of FLAs. However, this policy approach is premised on the assumption that the proliferation of FLAs is the unavoidable consequence of and/or legitimate response to increasing food insecurity, particularly for capital-rich but food deficit countries.  It does not address the more basic problems that fuel the rush to FLAs and the factors that encourage them.

This brief asks what forces drive the land deals and what can be done to address them on the basis of a food sovereignty agenda.

Program area: Food, Agriculture and Rural Development
Date of publication: October 2010
No. of pages: 8

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