Friday, September 10, 2010
Land grab goes mainstream
The World Bank report reckons that "one of the highest development priorities in the world must be to improve smallholder agricultural productivity, especially in Africa".
But the report deems that "when done right, larger scale farming systems can also have a place as one of many tools to promote sustainable agricultural and rural development". It then proceeds to detail many conditions for these deals to benefit developing countries.
"When assisted, family farmers have been able to compete in global markets. Many companies have successfully collaborated with local farmers," Lorenzo Cotula, who researches the topic for the London-based International Institute for Environment and Development, told IPS. The non-profit IIED promotes sustainable development.
"But national laws in recipient countries need to be changed and better implemented, so local people can have more secure rights to their land," he cautions.
The report states that farmland investments' adverse effects on local development are often due to the fact that host countries' governments "were ill-equipped and ill-prepared to deal with the sudden influx of interest". (Thanks Rania)