Commercial Pressure on Land

Land & Investments

Investments in agricultural land may be essential for achieving food security and promoting economic growth, but what are the potential costs and benefits for local landholders and the environment?

Investments in agricultural land may be essential for achieving food security and promoting economic growth, but what are the potential costs and benefits for local landholders and the environment?

Investing in land, and in activities requiring land, occurs around the world. As a broad category, “land and investments” encompasses a wide range of scenarios: investments may be small or large in terms of the amount of money invested and scale of the land acquired. Investments may be undertaken for activities ranging from agriculture or forestry to infrastructure, extractive projects, renewable energy, or even tourism; and may involve a variety of actors, such as local smallholders, national governments, local investors, or foreign corporations, among others.

Given the breadth of what falls within investment in land and land-related activities, the concept of land investments is not inherently controversial. For example, the most significant source of agricultural investments tied to land in low- and middle-income countries comes from farmers themselves—not only by land investments, such as acquiring new land, but also by investments in agriculture, including in crops, improvements to the land they already hold, and new equipment or structures to make their land and activities more productive [1]. Such investments are indisputably important.  Yet the types, forms, and scale of investment deemed appropriate remain highly polarizing in many contexts, especially with respect to agricultural activities and land investments more generally. Large- and medium-scale land investments that require a transfer in rights to use land raise particularly difficult concerns, given their potential to negatively affect existing land users and local communities—leading in some cases to charges of “land grabbing.”

Strong land governance systems and secure land tenure (i.e. the certainty that landholders’ rights to the land will be recognized, protected, and enforceable if challenged by others) can support land users’ sustainable investments in land and agriculture, as well as their ability to make decisions regarding whether to retain or transfer their land rights in the context of incoming investors who seek to use their land. Weak or conflicting land governance systems and insecure tenure, on the other hand, may lead to less sustainable land use, or may create a greater likelihood that legitimate land rights are violated as other land investors move in. While various guidelines and principles explicitly address responsible investment in land and in agriculture, there are still challenges associated with ensuring that land investments respect land rights and human rights, are sensitive to gender and environmentally sustainable, and result in expected benefits rather than conflict. Governments and investors may find that such issues are even more difficult when they constitute “legacy issues” that must be addressed after investments have occurred or operations have been ongoing [2]. And although transparency around large land-based investments is slowly increasing, information regarding such investments often remains inaccessible to those affected and the general public, limiting understanding of their implications and impeding accountability.

 

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parties indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.

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    Media

    Latest News

    27 September 2017
    Global

    The app will provide weekly satellite deforestation data in 17 tropical countries including Brazil

    RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A mobile app launched on Tuesday will allow indigenous people, forest managers and law enforcement officials in remote areas to monitor deforestation and fires regardless of connectivity, according to developers.

    "Forest Watcher" is designed to allow offline access to real-time satellite maps and data collected by Global Forest Watch, a U.S.-based charity that monitors changes in forest cover.

    Protesters demonstrate against land rights NGO Equitable Cambodia in Phnom Penh earlier this month.
    29 September 2017
    Cambodia

    The Ministry of Interior yesterday ordered the temporary suspension of land rights NGO Equitable Cambodia for allegedly violating its own by-laws and the controversial law regulating NGOs passed in 2015.

    In a letter signed yesterday, Interior Minister Sar Kheng ordered NGO Director Eang Vuthy to “temporarily suspend Equitable Cambodia’s activities for thirty working days”.

    According to the letter, the organisation violated Article 5 of its own by-laws, as well as Articles 10 and 25 of the Law on Associations and NGOs.

    25 September 2017
    India

    Land rights defenders from 29 countries call for greater vigilance in ensuring governments comply with laws

    MUMBAI, Sept 22 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Dozens of land rights defenders from 29 countries have written to the United Nations to draw attention to the increasing violence they face from states and corporations, and calling for greater vigilance in ensuring governments comply with laws.

    As States Create Land Banks for Private Investors, Conflicts Erupt Across India
    19 September 2017
    India

    State governments are building land banks, using both private and common lands, to attract investment in manufacturing and infrastructure, but at the cost of people’s rights.

    Latest Blogs

    Africa

    By Frank Pichel, Interim CEO & Chief Programs Officer, Cadasta Foundation

    Across the continent, insecure rights to land are robbing millions of financial stability and long-term prosperity. While new technology is giving people the tools to define what’s theirs, governments must recognize that certainty of ownership is a prerequisite of sustainable development.

    Latest Events

    26 February 2018 to 28 February 2018

    Location

    United Arab Emirates
    AE
    Iran
    Iraq
    Jordan
    Lebanon
    Qatar
    Saudi Arabia
    Syrian Arab Republic
    United Arab Emirates
    Yemen

    The Government of the United Arab Emirates in partnership with the World Bank, the Global Land Tool Network, UN-Habitat, the Arab League and the Arab Union of Surveyors is pleased to announce the first Arab Land Conference that will be hosted by the Dubai Land Department and held in Dubai, UAE, between 26-28 /February/2018.

    27 November 2017 to 30 November 2017

    Location

    Teresina, Piauí, Brasil, 64000-000
    Piauí
    Brazil
    BR
    Brazil

    A Comissão Organizadora da IV Reunião Nordestina de Ciência do Solo já definiu a data do evento, que ocorrerá entre os dias 27 a 30/11/2017 na cidade de Teresina, PI. Segundo o Coordenador do evento, o Dr. Henrique Antunes de Souza, da Embrapa Meio-Norte, nos próximos dias será disponibilizado o site do evento contendo informações sobre programação, preço das inscrições, modelo de resumo, normas de submissão, etc. A seguir são apresentados os membros que compõem a Comissão Organizadora da IV RNCS:

     

    Coordenador

    Cabbage plantation areas on the slope of mount Gede Pangrango Sukabumi, West Java, Indonesia.   Photo by Ricky Martin/CIFOR
    11 October 2017

    Location

    Lebanon Room
    FAO Headquarters
    Rome
    Italy
    IT
    Africa

    DFID's Land: Enhancing Governance for Economic Development (LEGEND) programme is promoting learning and innovation through 7 CSO-private sector partnerships in diverse agri-regions in 5 African countries; USAID and others are supporting similar initiatives. This side event will share and discuss early insights from these pilots and explore what can be achieved through these approaches: 

    23 August 2017 to 25 August 2017

    Location

    Curitiba, Brasil Curitiba
    Brazil
    BR
    Latin America and the Caribbean
    Brazil
    Portugal
    Spain

    Nos dias 23,24 e 25 de agosto do presente ano, levar-se-á a cabo o TERCEIRO CONGRESSO IBEROAMERICANO DE SOLO URBANO na cidade de Curitiba, Brasil, com o tema “O solo na nova agenda urbana”, organizado de maneira conjunta pelo Colégio Mexiquence AC, a Universidade Federal do Paraná, a Universidade Pontifícia Católica do Paraná e a Universidade Positivo.

    Debates

    Rubber Plantation in Ratanakiri Cambodia
    Open
    9 October 2017 to 20 October 2017
    Facilitators
    Jean-Christophe
    Terry Parnell
    South-Eastern Asia

    Since the 1990s, a new wave of large-scale land acquisitions for agricultural investments has emerged world-wide and in the Mekong region, in particular. Land grants for agro-industrial concessions are not new and can be traced back to the colonial era. However, the convergence of the food, financial and energy crises in the mid-2000s has intensified interest in large-scale forms of agriculture to unprecedented levels. In the Mekong region, significant areas of land have been granted to companies for agro-industrial investments, i.e.

    Open
    22 September 2017 to 1 October 2017
    Facilitators
    Fiona Flintan
    Babatunde Ajao
    Kenya
    Tanzania
    Nigeria

    The PROCASUR Corporation in Africa in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have partnered with the International Land Coalition, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Land Portal Foundation and Resource Conflict Institute (RECONCILE) to present the Learning Initiative: Innovative practices and tools to reduce land use conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers, taking place in Kenya and Tanzania, between the 22nd September and 1st October 2017 under the framework of the PROCASUR-IFAD Programme “Strengthening Capacities and tools

    Open
    22 August 2017 to 29 September 2017
    Facilitators
    LIZAHMY
    Monica
    Global
    Kenya

    Background

    From August 22nd to September 15th 2017  the Land Development  and Governance Institute (LDGI) and Land Portal Foundation will co- facilitate an online debate that will involve the contribution of major stakeholders focusing on contemporary Kenyan land governance issues.

    Closed
    5 June 2017 to 16 June 2017
    Facilitators
    Godfrey Massay
    Lukasz Czerwinski
    Global
    Tanzania

    From June 5-16, 2017, Landesa and the Land Portal will co-facilitate a dialogue through which a variety of stakeholders will contribute to discussion on the principles and practices of land-based investments, with a focus on the Tanzanian context. This is intended as part of the broader conversation on responsible investment in land principles, guidelines and practices that has proliferated since, at least, the 2009 food crisis and subsequent ‘land grabs’ that swept the global south

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    Men displaced from Shangil Tobaya farm rented land for the rainy season in Dali, close to Tawila in the Sudanese state of North Darfur. They are part of a community of displaced persons who have set up camp in Dali, fleeing the heavy fighting that took pl
    Policy Papers & Briefs
    October 2017
    Africa

    The Land: Enhancing Governance for Economic Development (LEGEND) Challenge Fund supports innovative partnerships between non-profit organisations and agricultural investors with the goal of encouraging responsible agricultural investment. The £3.65 million fund is a core component of DFID’s LEGEND programme.

    Reports & Research
    October 2017
    Mozambique

    This report is a product of a partnership between Terra Firma and the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), contributing to a study of changing land access in sub-Saharan Africa supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

    Journal Articles & Books
    October 2017
    Mozambique

    Mozambique has a land governance system that allows for strong protection of community-based land rights, community consultation with respect to partnerships with investors, and also secure rights to land for investors. However, the implementation of legislation has been slow and the capacity among state actors is weak. Tensions exist between a government keen on promoting foreign investment and agro-industry and a rural population that is insufficiently aware of and not always able to exercise their legal rights.

    Jurisprudence
    October 2017
    Mozambique

    O presente relatório inscreve-se nas actividades desenvolvidas no âmbito do Projecto GCP/MOZ/069/NET, estabelecido entre a Organização das Nações Unidas para a Agricultura e a Alimentação (FAO) e o Governo da República de Moçambique, cujo objectivo geral é o de apoiar a implementação de três diplomas legais recentes e inovadores no ordenamento jurídico moçambicano: a Lei de Terras, a Lei do Ambiente e a Lei das Florestas e Fauna Bravia.
    Este objectivo geral desdobra-se em quatro objectivos específicos, assim escalonados:

    Reports & Research
    Policy Papers & Briefs
    September 2017
    Malawi
    Africa

    This study uses data from the complete computerization of agricultural leases in Malawi, a georeferenced farm survey, and satellite imagery to document the opportunities and challenges of land-based investment in novel ways. Although 1.5 million hectares, or 25 percent, of Malawi's agricultural area is under agricultural estates, analysis shows that 70 percent has expired leases and 140,000 hectares are subject to overlapping claims.

    Responsible Investments in Land Perspectives from Tanzania and Globally
    Reports & Research
    September 2017
    Global
    Tanzania

    Landesa (strengthening land rights for the world’s poorest people) and Land Portal co‑facilitated the online dialogue on “Responsible investments in land: perspective from Tanzania and globally” from June 5 -16, 2017.

    For details on the dialogue follow this link.