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James Fairhead et al. Babiker, M. Mobile pastoralism and land grabbing in Sudan: Impacts and responses. En International Conference on the future of pastoralism, 9. Borras, S. Land grabbing and global capitalist accumulation: key fea-tures in Latin America. M, Franco, J. Amsterdam: Trasnational Institute. Bouchard, C. Clements, E.
Agrarian South: Journal of Political Economy, 2 1 , pp. Costantino, A.
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Continuidades y cambios entre el macrismo y el kirchnerismo. Cotula, L. The international political economy of the global land rush: A critical appraisal of trends, scale, geography and drivers. Journal of Peasant Studies, 39 , pp.
Feldman, S. Land expropriation and displacement in Bangladesh. Ghosh, J. Commodity speculation and the food crisis. Journal of Agrarian Change, 10 1 , pp. Grajales, J. The rifle and the title: paramilitary violence, land grab and land control in Co-lombia.
Journal of Peasant Studies, 38 4 , pp. It draws mainly from the farmlandgrab. Below are the main conclusions we have gleaned from this new and improved dataset, though we also expect and encourage others to analyse the data for themselves. The shock of the early years of the global farmland grab has subsided. Gone are news reports of diplomats shuttling in from Gulf countries to sign deals for half a million hectares with poor, agriculture-based countries. Gone are many of the opportunistic businessmen peddling farmland investments in faraway countries to pension fund managers.
Gone, too, are a number of companies that signed serious deals for tens or even hundreds of thousands of hectares, with ambitions to become top multinational agribusiness companies. The Indian-owned Siva Group, for instance, amassed a farmland portfolio of nearly one million hectares for oil palm plantations in only a few years. The company is now facing bankruptcy proceedings in the Seychelles. In another example, Foras, the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank—which was on its way to acquiring , hectares of farmland across Africa for a massive rice project—has vanished.
Even Karuturi, whose ,hectare concession in Ethiopia made him a poster child of the new farm owners, now has nothing to show for it. His flower business in Kenya has been liquidated and his Ethiopian farms have been sitting idle for the past two years. We culled failed deals and placed them in a separate table.
The large number of abandoned projects attests to the frenzy that erupted in , much of which eventually backfired.
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Whether due to incompetence, hubris, inexperience or poor planning, their collapse helps to explain why the growth in farmland deals has slowed since and why the overall number of hectares has declined. Much of the media attention on the early negotiations emphasised the geopolitics with images of wealthy sheiks taking over the lands of poor and hungry peasants in Mali or Pakistan in order to export food back to their home countries. The quest for food security has not, however, disappeared completely from the land grabbing story.
Despite early difficulties, Gulf governments are still promoting overseas farming and building or buying farms abroad.
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China, Japan and South Korea have also maintained official policies on overseas farming as part of their food security agendas. This mainly translates into support for their national corporations, which are not only acquiring lands overseas for farming but, just as importantly, securing control over trading routes to ship commodities back home and compete with the big Western multinationals on global markets. Africa remains a small, albeit important, part of food security-driven land grabbing, though these companies are currently focused on more accessible areas like Brazil and Australia.
While the food security hype has died down, plain old profit-driven agribusiness expansion is now the dominant agenda. The new database provides a stark picture of this, with companies integrating their operations both vertically and horizontally. In addition, more companies are getting into agribusiness and more finance is flowing in.
Geographically, plantations are expanding into new territories. Oil palm plantations alone are responsible for a large portion of land grabs in the food and agriculture sector in the last few years. Governments play a key role here. They are also signing new trade and investment agreements and aid packages aimed at facilitating the expansion of agribusiness. Several of the early players from the financial sector have by now vanished, and others have fallen extremely short of their initial projections.
The New York-based hedge fund Galtere is a good example.
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Galtere bought a couple of farms in Brazil and then dropped off the map. But new players from the financial sector are popping up all the time. Most have their sights on profiting from the real heavy weights among institutional investors: pension funds. The last few years have seen a spectacular rise in farmland investments by pension funds. By , several more were showing interest.
Today the number has ballooned. Pension funds are the source of much of the capital behind companies buying farmland globally. Another key set of players from the financial sector is the development finance institutions DFIs , the for-profit cousins of national development aid agencies. Without the involvement of these agencies, which are investing in land grabs using taxpayer money, there would be significantly fewer deals in our database.
Had we listed the origin of the foreign investors according to where they are registered, tax havens like the Cayman Islands or Singapore would rank as top land grabber countries! Nearly all the companies grabbing land in Mozambique, for instance, are registered in Mauritius. While they may be legal, such offshore structures can conceal corruption, hide the true owners and allow companies to avoid paying taxes. Communities and organisations on the ground are often the first to notice that companies acquiring farmland are not much interested in agriculture and appear to have been set up for entirely different purposes—such as money laundering, tax evasion or to con people out of their savings.
For example, African Land Limited of the UK, which ran a scheme to sell farmland in Sierra Leone, was found guilty of misleading investors. Local farmers and pastoralists in Senegal have long suspected the company Senhuile of money laundering. Proving the link between farmland investment and corruption or criminality is not easy, of course.
More recently, several deals entered into by Dutch Rabobank in Romania were investigated for forgery and fraud. Seeing land grabbers put behind bars, however, is a rare occurrence. In Cambodia, the Thai sugar giant Mitr Phol persistently boated about its standards of excellence, all the while being accused of illegally confiscating thousands of hectares from rural communities.
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In , the company finally withdrew from its plantations and the EU and Cambodian governments are now trying to audit the concessions. In Peru, the Czech-led Plantaciones de Pucallpa—member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Soy, which requires due diligence of its members—was linked to massive deforestation and human rights abuses and finally ordered to cease operations. Despite their lofty claims of due diligence, both Rabobank and TIAA-CREF were found to be buying lands from crooked businessmen known for using fraud and corruption to amass lands in Romania and Brazil, respectively.
The geographic scope of foreign investment in farmland has narrowed in the new database. Only a few deals have gone forward in some of the major initial targets such as Mali, Senegal, South Sudan, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines and Argentina. In Latin America, companies very active a few years ago in multi-country land deals such as El Tejar, Calyx Agro Louis Dreyfus and Cresud struggled to achieve profitability and eventually pulled out. Attention has now turned to countries where agribusiness is already established and the legal environment favours foreign investors and exports e.