by Victoria Marin, Jon C. Lovett and Joy S. Clancy
Biofuels driven land grab is often identified with land transactions conducted in developing countries by transnational/foreign companies/governments for the production of biofuels/feedstock for exports. This captures only partially the dynamics of biofuels land grabs and misses different processes and elements at play in the local and national settings. An important dynamic is the increasing appropriation of land by local and national elites/corporations to produce biofuels/feedstock for the national market and exports, which often come accompanied by agrarian political struggles. National biofuels policies are key elements that need to be analysed in light of their influence on this dynamic. Colombia illustrates this influence by the way in which land appropriation for cultivation of feedstock has taken place since national policies were adopted to promote biofuels. In this paper, agrarian political struggles related to biofuelfeedstock cultivation and policies for the promotion of biofuels in Colombia are analysed from a political ecology perspective by exploring how policies influence access to and control over rural land by local/national elites and corporations. This analysis contributes to indentifying whether this land grab dynamic and the related political struggles are linked to agrarian structures rooted in historical vested power relations or are forms/products of new agrarian structures
Longgena Ginting, WALHI/FoE Indonesia, Jalan Selamet Ketaren 100, 20371 Medan, Indonesia and Oliver Pye, Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies, Bonn University, Nassestrasse 2, 53113 Bonn, Germany
This paper looks at a new major land grab in Indonesia, the Merauke Integrated Food and Energy Estate in West Papua, Indonesia, known more commonly by its acronym MIFEE. First of all, we introduce MIFEE and discuss some of its key defining features as well as the particular context of the project defined by the history of Indonesian occupation of West Papua. Because most of the project has yet to materialise, we have little to contribute to those questions posed by Borras et al. (2011) regarding the changes in agrarian structures, social differentiation and impacts of displacement and dispossession. We also do not discuss the policy narratives by the project proponents, as these are analysed very well in the excellent paper by Takeshi Ito, Noer Fauzi Rachman, Laksmi A. Savitri (2011). Rather, the focus of this paper is on the emerging resistance to the MIFEE land grab.
Land Deals and Commercial Agriculture In Nigeria: The New Nigerian Farms in Shonga District, Kwara State
Joseph A. Ariyo and Michael MortimoreNigeria’s long standing agrarian policy was to transform the entire peasantry of smallholders in the country into modern farmers producing for export (palm oil, cocoa and groundnuts) and national food security (the ‘subsistence’ sector). This was a common thread linking a succession of interventions in the agricultural sector under both colonial and post-colonial governments (Mustapha and Meagher, 2000). The oil boom, however, together with an over-valued exchange rate, brought about the collapse of groundnut and palm oil exports. Official statistics appeared to show a decline in the output of staple foods during the 1970s, indicating a ‘crisis’ in food sufficiency, thought to have been provoked by cheap food imports. But projections of mounting deficits were brought into question by evidence that production kept pace with population growth from 1970 to 1982, and that urbanization and the growth of internal markets were responsible for this (Forrest, 1993). This contradiction in perspectives has continued since the introduction of structural adjustment in 1986 and the implementation of numerous interventions (e.g., ‘Operation Feed the Nation’) by military governments. The strategies involved the provision of rudimentary rural infrastructure, skeletal extension services, education through radio and television broadcasts, occasional credit schemes (of very meagre amounts) and annual rituals of input distribution (in pitiable quantities). In a few places irrigation projects were established and targeted at specific communities (linked in government rhetoric with the need for drought adaptation). Rhetoric and intentions were only rarely matched by the persistence and scale of interventions.
This paper analyses the shifting role of South African farmers, agribusiness and capital elsewhere in the Southern African region and the rest of the continent. It explores recent trends in this expansion, investigates the interests and agendas shaping such deals, and the ideologies and discourses of legitimation employed in favour of them. While for the past two decades small numbers of South African farmers have moved to Mozambique, Zambia and several other countries, this trend seems to be undergoing both a quantitative and a qualitative shift. Whereas in the past their migration was largely individual or in small groups, now it is being more centrally organised and coordinated, is more frequently taking the form of large concessions for newly formed consortia and agribusinesses, and is increasingly reliant on external financing through transnational partnerships. As of early 2010, the commercial farmers’ association Agri South Africa (AgriSA) was engaged in negotiations for land acquisitions with the governments of 22 African countries.
This paper presents initial findings from a Future Agricultures Consortium (FAC) study to document and analyse major land acquisitions by South African farmers and agribusinesses, the processes through which these have occurred and are occurring, their impacts, and implications for land rights, livelihoods and the changing shape of agriculture. The research considers the changing character, scale and location of South African investments elsewhere in the region and the continent; and focuses specifically on the AgriSA-Congo deal (the largest deal concluded thus far), and acquisitions by the two South African sugar giants, Illovo and Tongaat-Hulett, for outgrower and estate expansion elsewhere in the region. The study addresses the degree to which South Africa is no longer merely exporting its farmers, but also its value chains, to the rest of the continent – and what this means for trajectories of agrarian change.
by Shelley Feldman and Charles GeislerLand grabbing accounts are now abundant, prompting scholars to seek patterns and regularities in the phenomenon across dissimilar geographies and histories. This paper examines the irregularities and pattern-defying expressions of land grabbing in Bangladesh and views such seizures through the lens of displacement. Within this land- scarce nation the variations of land grabbing are many and only rarely mirror the threats to sovereignty animated by the rush of overseas foreign investment in farmland. Their historical forms invite our attention and provide the context to examine three sui generis Bangladeshi land grab experiences. The first occurs in char areas, newly formed islands similar to polders in the Netherlands that are created from riverine and coastal sediment accumulation. These chars are in a constant state of formation and erosion which make them contested sites that are ripe for power plays that directly affect small producers who settle on or adjacent to them to cultivate their rich alluvial soils. Frequently peasant producers are forcibly removed (ex situ displacement) or intensely regulated in struggles for this limited resource (in situ displacement). In a second salient case, land grabbing results from government confiscation where its justification is cloaked in imaginaries of national security and nation-formation that is experienced as ex situ displacement. The Vested Property Act (and several antecedent laws) were the draconian means by which the East Pakistan and subsequently the Bangladesh state seized property from “enemies of the state,” primarily Hindu farmers. Though very recently withdrawn, the legislation established precedents for new relations of enclosure. Efforts at redress by original owners, including only some in the expatriate community, unsettle the national-foreigner distinction common to much land grabbing analysis. [Evidence of in-situ here as well?] In a third instance, land grabs or land capture by Bangladeshi elites is mediated through privileged access to government through bribery and the coercion of land officials to transfer title to themselves and deploy gangs to harass resident owners, primarily peasant proprietors, to relinquish their holdings. In contrast to land grabbing in other world regions that enjoy legal veneers including government approval, investor rights, willing-seller compliance, and codes of conduct, this back-door land grabbing strategy violates property rights through corruption and coercion that yields in situ and later ex situ displacement of owners and tenants.
Escalating Land Grabbing In Post-conflict Regions of Northern Uganda: A Need for Strengthening Good Land Governance in Acholi Region
By Samuel B. Mabikke
Since the mid 1980s, Northern Uganda- a region of over 13 districts has been devastated by armed conflict particularly by the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) as well as old age cattle rustling by armed Karamajong rustlers in the Karamoja region. As a result of insecurity, large sections of the population were displaced into either camps or in locations generally at 3 to 10 km away from the original homes. Many farming lands were abandoned due to insecurity and as a military strategy to cut food supplies to the LRA rebels, the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) army restricted farming activities only close to the camps. Since the Government of Uganda (GoU) and the LRA rebels announced their intention to negotiate a peaceful end to the 23 year conflict, there has been gradual improvement in the security situation, even with some pockets of normalisation as the peace talks between the GoU and LRA in Juba progressed, this prompted Government to announce the return and resettlement of the Internally Displaced People (IDP), within the framework of the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) for Northern Uganda (Rugadya et al., 2008). With relative peace returning to the region, the GoU has embarked on Post Conflict Reconstruction Programs (PCRP) aimed at supporting “Returnees” from camps to settle back to their original homelands.
The end of the African peasant? From investment funds and finance value-chains to peasant related questions
by Ward Anseeuw, Antoine Ducastel and Jean- Jacques Gabas
The last couple of years have been characterized by a "rediscovery" of agriculture as a sector for strategic activity. This sector had been gradually relegated both in the public policy agenda for whom the myths of an essentially urban growth and provision of agricultural produce at moderate cost contributed to maintain this chronic indifference, as well as in private investors’ strategies discouraged by the low financial margins and the risks inherent to this activity1.
In 2008, the food crisis aroused renewed interest in agriculture of these various actors. On one hand, the national and international authorities presently recognize the urgency of the agricultural situation in the developing countries. In 2009, at Aquila, US$20 billion were promised by the G8 members to fight the hunger2. However, these promises are yet to be materialized as the decline of public aid to development (PAD) focusing on agriculture engaged in since the 1980s continues3. (Re)-putting the agricultural question on the political agenda by governments and development agencies thus only represented a discursive "revolution". On the other hand, this crisis has resulted in an awakening of the private sector, and more particularly financial market Actors. The structural evolutions and the projections regarding the agricultural sector (increase of population, increased pressures on natural resources, dietary changes and energy tendencies) conjugated to the effects of the food price crisis of 2008 (questioning the myth of permanent low costs of food commodities) are pushing investors towards agricultural activities4. Perceptions have changed: henceforth, this sector presents interesting financial returns on investment perspectives. The financial crisis of 2009 strengthened this dynamic. Confronted to the uncertainties affecting financial assets (in particular those of the American treasury), investors use the farming sector as a refuge value.
by Nadia Cuffaro and David Hallam
The paper discusses the recent developments of FDI in land in developing countries. Three issues are analyzed: the first is the available evidence on the so called “land grab” and the associated question of the role of control on land in the internationalisation of developing countries agricultural production. The focus is on multinational enterprises in agriculture, although analysis of shifting FDI strategies requires value chain considerations. The second issue is the problem of the risks of such large land deals in the context of complex and insecure land rights. The third is the possible role of corporate social responsibility and of a model code of conduct promoted by international organisations in mitigating such risks.
By Deepak K Mishra
This paper seeks to examine the diverse forms and implications of land grabbing in Orissa, known for its abject poverty, starvation deaths and violent conflicts over the issue of displacement. Taking into account the historical processes of dispossession and marginalisation in rural Orissa, the paper attempts to argue that the current phase of displacement, involuntary depeasantisation and dispossession needs to be analysed in the broader context of agrarian transition in rural Orissa. In the backdrop of the debate over the (ir)relevance of the agrarian question in the age of globalisation, it is argued here that conceptualising ‘land grabbing’ as part of the continuing processes of primitive accumulation under globalisation provides greater analytical insights into the underlying political and economic forces that shape such massive reconfiguration of property rights over land. Linking the question of land to the larger dynamics of development, and drawing upon two rounds of primary survey in interior Orissa, the study brings out the linkages between catastrophic land grabbing and the classic processes of land alienation. Competition among national and State governments to attract foreign and domestic capital through liberal (and often illegal) concessions, has made state power an essential element of land grabbing. However, local economic and political processes such as peasant differentiation, agrarian distress, seasonal food and employment insecurity, social and spatial concentration of poverty, capture of the local state by a rentier elite, remain significant in explaining the specific dynamics of land grabbing in contemporary Orissa.