"Barely 20 percent of these land-investment projects have reached an operational stage, so it remains difficult to assess their social, economic and environmental costs and benefits. Even once they launch, it may be difficult to measure their efficacy or impact. Given the significant potential consequences and the size of the investments involved, there exists distressingly little information about exactly how these deals are done—or who, exactly, does them. Investment procedures are shrouded in secrecy, and the identities of many investors remain unknown.
Last October, a study conducted by the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice at New York University School of Law surveyed private investment in agriculture in Sudan, Pakistan, Tanzania and Mali. The study found a near-total lack of transparency and noted the absence of regulatory frameworks within the host countries that could reliably scrutinize projects. The report also found evidence that these investments left displaced people, food insecurity and water shortages in their wake. Pakistan, for example, has announced its intention to make six million acres available to private investors, which threatens to displace 25,000 villagers." (Thanks Karim)