The phrase ‘global land grab’ has become a catch-all phrase to describe and analyze the current explosion of (trans) national commercial land transactions. Around the world, various state, corporate and civil society groups have reacted, albeit in different ways.
Some see this as a major threat to the lives and livelihoods of the rural poor worldwide, and so opposes such commercial land deals. Others see economic opportunity for the rural poor, although they are wary of corruption and negative consequences, and so calls for the improving land market governance feature prominently. And, of course, between these two extremes for and against large scale land purchases/sales are a range of intermediate positions offered by other groups.
In this context, in-depth and systematic enquiry is urgently needed in order to have deeper, meaningful and productive debates around causes and implications. FAC research will study the extent, nature and impact of what we define as define as cross-border, large-scale land deals that involve changes in land use and land property relations – through land purchases, land leases, and contract farming.
The idea of ‘sustainable intensification’ has gained traction in recent years. But what does it mean for Africa?
In a new blog post, Ian Scoones argues that advocates of SI should pay more attention to social contexts and political choices about the direction of technology.
The critical dialogues on food sovereignty held 14 – 15 September 2013 in Yale University, USA, and 24 January 2014 at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) brought together the world’s leading scholars and activists, both sympathetic and supportive of the idea of food sovereignty, as well as those highly skeptical of the concept. Resources from the two dialogues including videos, working papers, journal articles and photos are now available for download.
Parliamentarians from Southern Africa met on (11 – 12 August 2014 to debate how foreign agricultural investment can bring benefits to local people, in the context of the ‘land rush’.
Land rights, food security and jobs are among the themes discussed at the Pan-African Parliament/SADC Parliamentary Forum event. This is the last in the current series of regional meetings on the topic.
For more information, see the event page: Making Agricultural Investment Work for Africa: A parliamentarian response to the land rush
A new topic guide on the subject of land, by Anna Locke (Future Agricultures Land theme) and Giles Henley, has been published. This is the latest in the Overseas Development Insitute’s ‘Evidence on Demand’ series.
It covers the following:
- Growing interest in land: large-scale land acquisition
- Reactions to rising interest in land at the national and international level
- Land reform and policy: types, impacts and risks
- Land in fragile and conflict-affected states
‘Scarcity’ is a key term in debates about the global rush for land and other resources.
A new working paper from our project on Land and Agricultural Commercialisation in Africa looks at different narratives of scarcity related to the future of food and farming in Africa and globally, and finds that political questions – about distribution, needs, uses and social difference – are often ignored.
The story highlights the links between water, energy and farming and what happens when plans go wrong. With displacements and relocations for some, and economic gains for others, it also raises questions about who wins and loses from big infrastructure projects.
A ‘critical dialogue’ on food sovereignty took place on 24 January 2014 at the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague. Two participants from Future Agricultures, Ian Scoones and Ruth Hall, have blogged about the event, looking at the relationship between food sovereignty movements and critical agrarian studies.
- Missing politics and food sovereignty by Ian Scoones, Future Agricultures blog
- Food sovereignty: a growing activist and intellectual movement by Ruth Hall, PLAAS blog