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Default 'Red Star over Guyana': Colonial-style Grabbing of Natural Resources but New Grabbers Popular

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Janette Bulkan.pdf

By Janette Bulkan

Introduction: China has arranged free trade agreements (Coxhead 2007, Jenkins et al. 2007) which lay out in some details what is to be traded and on what terms in a WTO-compatible framework with large supply countries such as Chile and Peru, both significant for minerals. Smaller countries, including former colonies of European powers, may have experience of one-sided trading arrangements during colonial times and more recently are likely to have enjoyed the various trade shelters arranged by the European Commission, such as the Lomé Convention (1976-1999) and its successor the Cotonou Agreement (2003-2023). How are small countries now relating to a China hungry for renewable and non-renewable natural resources? After decades of lectures and conditionalities imposed by the donor agencies of the former colonial powers, how does the Chinese approach of an unconditional commercial relationship actually work out in practice? This paper deals with the case of Guyana, a small and politically isolated semi-socialist country, the only anglophone in South America.

Default A Land Grab Scenario for Indonesia? Diverse Trajectories and Virtual Land Grabs in the Outer Islands Popular

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McCarthy, Afiff & Vel 1.pdf

By John McCarthy, Suraya Afiff and Jacqueline Vel

Default A question of scale: the construction of marginal lands and the limitations of global land classific Popular

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Rachel A. Nalepa.pdf

by Rachel A. Nalepa, Boston University

With the growth of the biofuel complex, the concept of “marginal land” has emerged as a term commonly associated with the promotion of agrofuels. Remote sensing and other data are used to globally characterize land as marginal based on predominantly biophysical features that render them “non-competitive” for the purpose of commercial agriculture. “Marginality” is a relative and non-static term, however, dictated by the economics of localities—the scale on which land use decisions are actually made. This paper: (i) questions the very notion of “marginal land” as a relevant and prescriptive concept given its inability to be uniformly operationalized across scales and (ii) advances the notion that “marginal land” is an artificial spatial construct that serves to re-frame land in a way that neglects socio-ecological processes in order to re-frame it in support of principles based in resource productivism.

Default After titling: Oil palm landscapes and Afro-Colombian territories Popular

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Roosbelinda Cardenas Final.pdf

by Roosbelinda Cardenas Gonzales 

On September 28, 1994, Aroldo and a small group of other residents of Bocas de Guabal, a small village on the Mira River in Colombia’s littoral border with Ecuador, held a meeting to discuss the rapid rate at which their community’s mangroves were being destroyed. Mangroves were being exploited for the construction and leather tanning industries with dire consequences for locals’ livelihoods. For example, when the mangroves were cut, concheras, women who made a living collecting shellfish, lost their only source of income. But in addition to being an important source of money, mangroves were essential components in the villagers’ well being. During a conversation that we had in 2009, Aroldo explained the mangroves importance to me in detail. He described them as “daycare centers” where baby fish remained safe until they were large enough to swim in the river without being eaten by larger fish, and as “little houses” where crabs laid their eggs and made their homes. The disappearance of mangroves therefore meant a significant threat on locals’ source of sustenance. Also, a few families who lived on the river’s mouth had lost their houses when the Pacific Ocean’s waves, no longer contained by the mangroves’ powerful barrier, beat against the village’s residential areas.

Default Agrarian change below the radar screen: Rising farmland acquisitions by domestic investors in West.. Popular

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Thea Hilhorst - Joost Nelen - Nata Traoré.pdf

Agrarian change below the radar screen: Rising farmland acquisitions by domestic investors in West Africa Results from a survey in Benin, Burkina Faso and Niger

By Thea Hilhorst, Joost Nelen, Nata Traoré

In West Africa, domestic investors acquire plots of farm land using their connections, powers and resources. Some policy makers view these investments as a shift towards agribusiness and state that these “new actors” will modernise and professionalize farming and smallholders are asked to make space. Who are those new actors, how did they obtain the land, under what conditions, and how are they investing? Why are customary authorities engaging in these land transactions and what are the consequences for local farming, rural livelihoods and the environment? This paper presents results of a 2010 survey on the acquisition of rural land by agro-investors in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. We explore implications for agricultural “modernisation” and discuss local responses to regulate this phenomenon.


Default Agricultural Development Corridors equals Land-grabbing? Models, roles and accountabilities in a Moz Popular

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Randi Kaarhus.pdf

By Randi Kaarhus

Agricultural growth corridors have over the last years been launched as high-profile initiatives to increase agricultural production in Africa. These ‘corridors’ are presented as value-chain mechanisms, and as means to promote an African Green Revolution. As a model for agricultural development, the corridors can also be analysed in the context of shifting international policy discourses, where public-private partnerships (PPP) for development at present are gaining considerable influence. My claim here is that these PPP bring up important questions of accountability. Who is accountable if and when public-private partnerships to promote investments in agriculture get bogged down? Who is accountable if and when PPP drive processes which end up marginalising local people’s rights and interests in land? Who is accountable for what, and to whom?

The paper discusses some elements in the plans and processes aimed at establishing an agricultural growth corridor in Central Mozambique.1 The Beira Agricultural Growth Corridor (BAGC) has so far involved agricultural land that also historically was used for larger-scale commercial production. It is land that was alienated from local people at an earlier stage. Now, from a local smallholders’ perspective, there is concern that an initiative such as BAGC will involve further risks of marginalisation from the best agricultural land; while others see it as embodying new opportunities. With the Mozambican Land Law of 1997, rural people have in principle secure land-use rights. But these rights need to be affirmed and realized in local contexts of political negotiation and unequal access to economic resources.

Default Agricultural Foreign Direct Investment and Water Rights: An Institutional Analysis from Ethiopia Popular

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By Andrea Bues

This paper aims to analyse the impacts of agricultural foreign direct investment on the local institutional setting of water management in a country in which most of the population depends on agriculture. It presents the case of a small-scale irrigation scheme in Ethiopia where floricultural and horticultural farms have started to use the same canal water as local farmers. The study found that the institutional arrangement changed towards a setting that distributionally favoured the investment farms and led to a shift in blue and green water rights towards the foreign actor. This institutional change is explained by the diverging bargaining power resources of the actors.

Default Behind Dispossession: State, Land Grabbing and Agrarian Change in Rural Orissa Popular

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Deepak K Mishra.pdf

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.

Default Biofuels and Land Appropriation in Colombia: Do Biofuels National Policies Fuel Land Grabs? Popular

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Victoria Marin Jon Lovett and Joy Clancy.pdf

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

Default Biofuels and Wasteland Grabbing: How India’s Biofuel Policy is Facilitating Land Grabs in Tamil Nadu Popular

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By Jennifer Baka

Unlike the large scale, biofuels-induced land grabs occurring in Africa(Cotula et al. 2009; Sulle and Nelson 2009; World Bank 2010), the land grabstaking place in India involve smaller tracts of land and are more subtle and obscured. However, the outcomes on both continents pose equally deleterious threats to the rural poor. Motivated by both international and domestic policies to restrict feedstock cultivation to marginal environments, biodiesel companies in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu have slowly been amassing plantations of privately owned ‘wastelands’, the government’s term for marginal lands, by purchasing lands from farmers at low rates and/or re-registering farmer’s lands without their knowledge or consent. After short-lived attempts at raising biofuel plantations and likely after receiving government subsidies for seedling procurement and land preparation, the companies are in the process of selling lands into real estate for at least double the purchase price per acre, according to government land records. Thus, instead of minimizing threats to food security and enhancing rural welfare, growing biofuels on marginal lands appears to be doing the exact opposite by dispossessing farmers of their agricultural land.

This paper examines the mechanics of the biofuels-induced land grabbing taking place in Tamil Nadu and its impacts on agrarian livelihoods. As will be demonstrated through a detailed examination of land records and interviews with key stakeholders, India’s wasteland-centered biofuels policy is reducing the extent of agricultural area and dispossessing poor farmers of their ancestral lands, one of the few assets this class of farmers have. After a literature review on the politics of wasteland mapping, the paper briefly reviews India’s current biodiesel policy and wasteland assessment procedures in Sections 2 and 3, respectively. The land grabbing examination is presented in Section 4 and concluding remarks are offered in Section 5.

Default Building the Politics Machine: Tools for Resolving the Global Land Popular

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Michael Dwyer.pdf

By Michael B. Dwyer

Introduction: Laos and the global land grab
In August of 2008, the head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization shocked the world when he described a recent spate of transnational farmland investment as “a neocolonial pact for the provision of non-value-added raw materials” (Diouf 2008). He spoke diplomatically: it was not all such deals, he said, only some; what had transpired was not actually neocolonialism, but merely the risk of it; and it was the implementation of these deals, not their fundamental premise, that was the cause for concern. But Jacques Diouf’s message was clear nonetheless: he was sounding an alarm....

Default China’s Farmland Rush in Benin: Toward a Win-Win Economic Model of Cooperation? Popular

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By Paulette Nonfodji

The early seventies saw the re-establishment of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Benin after the breakdown of these relations in 1966. China’s role in Benin has ever since been growing through mutual agreements on trade and technological cooperation. In recent years, the rush on farmland in Africa by foreign and national investors has altered China’s role. China became worldwide the leading country in the international rush on farmland. In Benin, as in other countries, China has acquired considerable amounts of farmland for the production of fuel crops. This paper aims at analysing the Chinese market socialism strategies in face of the neo-liberal actors’ strategies deployed in Benin in the context of the rush on farmland. How do the Chinese market socialism’s strategies differ from the neo-liberal actors’ ones? What are the socioeconomic consequences of these strategies for the agrarian community in Benin? And finally to what extent can the Chinese’ approach in this case of the rush on farmland constitute a win-win situation in Benin? *

Default Conservation and Land Grabbing in Tanzania Popular

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Tor A. Benjaminsen - Ian Bryceson - Faustin Maganga - Tonje Refseth.pdf

by Tor A. Benjaminsen, Ian Bryceson, Faustin Maganga, Tonje Refseth

The discussion of global ‘land grabbing’ has mainly focused on large-­?scale land deals and direct foreign investments in food and biofuel production in developing countries. The land grabbing effect of conservation projects is, however, rarely heeded in these debates. In Tanzania, conservation areas have steadily increased since colonial times leading to loss of land and resource access for small-­?scale farmers, pastoralists and fisherfolk. Today, around 40 % of the land area of the country is under some form of environmental protection. This includes more recent areas under so-­?called ‘community-­?based conservation’, which in practice proves to be business-­?as-­?usual in terms of conservation taking 2 priority over local rights and livelihoods. This paper provides examples of how community-­?based conservation in wildlife, forests and coastal areas in Tanzania leads to local people’s loss of access to land and natural resources. The increasing commodification of biodiversity and natural resources driven by the boom in safari tourism as well as new climate mitigation initiatives such as REDD is accelerating this process. The main actors are big international conservation groups, foreign donors, and state agencies focused on recentralizing control over resources in order to capitalize on the increasing land rent.

Default Contemporary Land Grabs and their Alternatives in the Americas Popular

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By Sara Safransky and Wendy Wolford

Introduction: In 2007-2008, world food and fuel prices spiked sharply upward, doubling or tripling the cost of key food items and leading to a “wave” of protests and anti-government riots in more than 60 countries (IFPRI 2009). These protests, however sensational, were only the most recent and visible manifestation of growing levels of food insecurity, poverty, landlessness and environmental degradation around the world (Borras et al. 2011; de Schutter 2010; McMichael 2008). It is widely argued that the combined effects of global climate change, agro-industrial development, natural resource extraction, neo-liberal austerity policies and rapid urbanization have increased insecurity and vulnerability in rural areas across the globe and made it difficult for both the rural and urban poor as well as government agencies to foster and access the resources and capacities necessary for sustainable development (Deere and Royster 2008; McMichael 2008; WDR 2008).

Default Development by Dispossession: Land Grabbing as New Enclosures in Contemporary Ethiopia Popular

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Fouad Makki and Charles Geisler.pdf

by Fouad Makki and Charles Geisler Dept. of Development Sociology, Cornell University

The confluence of the world economic crisis with the global food and energy crises has set off a frenzy of land grabbing in Africa, accelerating trends of de-peasantization, large- scale commercial farming and tenure re-arrangements favoring international agribusiness. This process raises a host of issues concerning the socio-spatial dynamics of the contemporary restructuring of agrarian relations and the recurring ways in which states use cosmographies of power and terra nullius narratives to remake places identified as empty, underutilized or underproductive. In this paper we propose to examine the dynamics of large-scale land alienations in Ethiopia through the lens of enclosures and state projects of developmentalism. We conclude by suggesting that the spatial turn in the social sciences needs to pay more attention to the emptying out of space as a corollary to its social production, and to the various cosmographies of power that imaginatively constitute and reconstitute them in the form of ‘fictitious commodities’.

Default Dispossession, semi-proletarianization, and enclosure: primitive accumulation and the land grab ... Popular

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Miles Kenney-Lazar.pdf

Dispossession, semi-proletarianization, and enclosure: primitive accumulation and the land grab in Laos

By Miles Kenney-Lazar

Introduction: In April 2008, the Vietnamese corporation Hoàng Anh Gia Lai Joint (HAGL) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Laos (GoL) agreeing to finance the construction of a $19 million athletes’ village. HAGL financed this property complex in support of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, a biennial regional sporting event that the GoL was hosting for the first time from December 9th to 18th, 2009, in the capital of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), Vientiane . The aid provided by HAGL was divided into two parts: a $4 million cash grant and a $15 million interest-free loan. In return, the company was given the rights to explore for mineral potentials in Sekong and Attapeu provinces of southeastern Laos, log timber from and plant rubber on a 10,000-hectare (ha) plot of land in Attapeu, construct two rubber processing factories in Attapeu, and develop a real estate complex in Vientiane (VietnamNet Bridge 2008). The $15 million loan would be repaid in part via rental fees on the 10,000 ha.

Default Dynamics in land tenure, local power and the peasant economy: the case of Petén, Guatemala Popular

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Markus Zander and Jochen Durr.pdf

By Markus Zander and Jochen Dürr

This article analyses the ongoing process of land grabbing by cattle farmers and drug traffickers in south-eastern Petén, Guatemala and its socio-economic consequences. In the last decade, this process has strongly accelerated due to several factors, which made investment in land more attractive and resulted in sharply increasing land prices. In the 236 communities included in the field study, 30% of all peasant families have already sold their land, some of them hoping to escape poverty, others under often violent pressure from buyers mostly related to the drug trade, who are securing control over large territories. For lack of economic alternatives the landless families end up leasing plots for cultivation from their neighbours, working as day labourers on big cattle ranches or occupying land in the protected areas in northern Petén, with poverty and conflicts about resources on a steady rise. Value chain analysis shows that the conversion from small scale peasant agriculture to extensive livestock production reduces land productivity and diminishes local added value and employment, thus providing further arguments for changes in agricultural politics to halt or reverse the process.

Default Eating Bitter to Taste Sweet: An Ethnographic Sketch of a Chinese Agriculture Project in Senegal Popular

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Lila Buckley.pdf

By Lila Buckley

This is a case study of Chinese agriculture interventions in Senegal. As Chinese land-based investments multiply across the African continent, I focus on a single government-run agriculture demonstration centre outside Dakar to provide insight into the daily realities of Chinese and African interactions on African land. Using an actor-oriented analysis approach, I apply ethnographic methodologies to examine practices and discourses on agrarian change and management among Chinese and Senegalese informants. I show how differences in conceptualisation of Senegal’s agriculture produce unanticipated project outcomes as individual social actors select management actions from distinct repertoires of skills, ideologies, technical understandings, social connections and philosophies. This discussion reveals that while these processes may often be understood to occur on a battlefield, managing agrarian change is as much an improvisational dance as it is a battle, and that actors’ improvisations can sometimes lead to meaningful cooperation off-stage. Though this is not an example of a transnational commercially-driven ‘land grab’, I argue that understanding Chinese and African interactions in this agriculture intervention provides crucial insights into the relationship between corporate Chinese strategies in Africa and impacts on the ground. These findings thus contribute to a new framework of analysis and research methodologies for future studies of land deals in Africa.

Default Economic Empowerment for Pastoralist Women: A Comparative Look at Program Experience in Uganda... Popular

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Livingstone Ruhindi.pdf

Economic Empowerment for Pastoralist Women: A Comparative Look at Program Experience in Uganda, Somaliland and Sudan

By John Livingstone & Everse Ruhindi

PENHA (the Pastoral & Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa) is a regional NGO, focused on pastoral development, operating across the Greater Horn, with offices in Uganda, Somaliland, Sudan and Eritrea. PENHA has a longstanding commitment to gender equality, with a strong public statement in its Nazareth (Ethiopia) Declaration of 1995, and a series of contextspecific studies on gender and pastoralism. Subsequently, different PENHA country chapters pushed for increased attention to gender and efforts to promote social change, often against resistance from those wanting an almost exclusive focus on things such as animal health and water supply. There is now a broad consensus on the centrality of gender in development, but pastoralist women remain under-served by governments and development agencies, the marginalized of the marginalized. In 2007, PENHA undertook a regional Women’s Economic Empowerment program, funded by DANIDA. The program covers selected pastoralist communities in Uganda, Somaliland and Sudan.

This paper seeks to draw lessons from program experience in the three countries. It points to the effectiveness of business skills training for women’s groups in pastoral areas, when combined with grants for rotating funds that enable women to acquire productive assets and expand their micro-enterprises. While, microcredit may be difficult to implement with partly mobile communities in which women do own land or assets that can be used as collateral, it is increasingly viable in the growing towns and trading centres in and around which pastoralists are living more settled lives. The value of support for women’s micro-enterprises is recognized, with significant social impacts through increased household spending on children’s health and education, as well as strengthened women’s groups that can support a wide variety of activities outside the home. But, the paper also points to the need for efforts at the “meso” level to promote small and medium sized enterprises that can employ significant numbers of women, as well as to work at the macro (policy) level to promote a more business-friendly environment, with supportive transport and communications infrastructure and regulatory frameworks.

Default ENGLISH - Agrarian structure, foreign land ownership, and land value in Brazil Popular

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Sergio Sauer and Sergio Pereira Leite - ENGLISH.pdf

Agrarian structure, foreign land ownership, and land value in Brazil

By Sérgio Sauer and Sergio Pereira Leite

The recent world “rush for farmland” has targeted Latin America in general and Brazil in particular, with a huge increase in foreign investments on land purchase, including the financial enterprises of the last decade. Even with a very illiquid market, land deals and foreign investments in agribusiness are not new in Brazil, but they have increased considerably after 2002. According to some field researches, the most recent investments are related to the production of grains (especially soybean) and sugarcane (to obtain sugar and ethanol), resulting among other consequences in a great increase of land value in some regions of Brazil. Such land rush has led the Brazilian government to reestablish a legal mechanism to “control” foreign investment in land deals. But the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (in the Brazilian acronym, INCRA) has registered a large number of land titles in the name of Brazilian companies, and it seems that there is an ongoing cheating process in these land deals.

Thus, based on data of INCRA’s registration files, this article discusses the recent process of foreign investment in land purchase in Brazil, looking especially for the main causes of the investments and their main consequences, including land value and social impacts. The research will analyze the appreciation of land value in some regions, relating it with the recent investments in agricultural production in these regions.

It is important to acknowledge that the land value impacts directly on several public policies, such as the agrarian policies, as it is a determinant element in the governmental budget. It also deepens the land conflicts and is becoming a new cause for blocking the governmental policies and action in the process of recognition of the territorial rights of Indigenous peoples and communities of former African-descendant slaves. The article then reflects about the limitations and problems of the legal path taken by the Brazilian government and some popular proposals, such as the recent mobilization to set a ceiling (“limite máximo”) for land ownership in Brazil.

Future Aquicultures Consortium Land Deal Politics Initiative Journal of Peasant Studies Institute of Development Studies