Agrarian conflicts and struggles for access to land and natural resources are not new phenomena. However, a global process is currently underway whereby powerful foreign private and public investors conclude agreements with states to take possession or control of large surfaces of land, which has an influence on current and future food sovereignty in the host countries. This process is most commonly referred to as land grabbing.
Several factors contribute to the new rush on land: the increased demand for agrofuels; high food prices, leading states that are dependent on food imports to acquire cheap farmland in poorer countries; and the search for stable investment opportunities in the aftermath of the financial crisis. Investors are typically corporations, financial investors and the governments of rich countries. While precise details are hard to come by, it is estimated that at least 70 million hectares of agricultural land have been transferred in the last few years.
The lack of adequate and secure access to land and natural resources for the rural and urban poor is one of the key causes of hunger and poverty in the world. Land grabbing further exacerbates the highly unequal distribution of land ownership, thereby impacting the enjoyment of the human rights of the local population, particularly their right to adequate food.
FIAN, together with small-scale food producers’ organizations, calls for a stop to and a rolling back of land grabbing and supports the Global Alliance Against Land Grabbing, created by those people most affected. In addition, FIAN promotes the effective implementation of the FAO Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests as an internationally accepted standard of governance of land and natural resources, in order to combat poverty and hunger, and as one instrument to fight against land grabbing.
This paper was published by FIAN International for Hands off the Land Alliance
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