Land Grabbing: The New Colonialism?

I have been focusing my interests of late on the subject of “Land Grabbing,” a somewhat pejorative description of the phenomena that is taking place in many parts of the developing world. I recently came across this video produced by Oxfam that provides a fictionalized but interesting perspective on the problem.

What is “Land Grabbing“?

It is the acquisition of large tracts of land in developing countries (think: sub-Saharan Africa, eastern Europe, central and eastern Asia and Latin America) where corporations and foreign states acquire millions of acres of land for pennies to develop commodity crops for sale on the global markets. The problem lies in the all too common fact that these agricultural products are not sold on local markets, indigenous peoples (subsistence farmers, herders) are uprooted, often displaced and faced with greater poverty than prior to the acquisition of their lands.

This is a relatively new phenomena that has emerged from the global food crisis in 2008. However, the scale of this problem has grown dramatically. In a recent report by Oxfam, it is estimated that 227 million hectares of land, equivalent to the size of Western Europe, has been acquired through sales, leases or licenses since 2001. This dramatic buying spree is not abating soon.

The following video touches on an aspect of this land grab phenomenon and while a bit on the cynical side, it paints an all to real picture of the pecuniary motives of buyers, who see tremendous opportunities for wealth from developing countries.

Take a look.

About John Richardson

John Richardson is the CEO of JMR Portfolio Intelligence, a Washington DC based human rights consultancy.
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