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New Report examines land grabbing in Africa
On 25 June 2010, the Brookings Institution published a report on transnational land grabbing in Africa and its effects on local indigenous populations entitled “African Land Grabbing: Whose Interests Are Served?”
Land grabbing is defined in the paper as the purchasing or long-term leasing of vast tracts of land for agricultural use by foreign actors. The FAO differentiates land grabbing from regular acquisitions by the fact that the actors are acquiring the land in order to extract agricultural output for internal consumption, as opposed to marketing the produce. While these deals lead to greater central government revenue, those local communities inhabiting the land often are not consulted in the agreement process or compensated for their loss.
Tenure issues arise out of the opaqueness of the land deals, combined with the recentralization of land held in customary tenure. The seizure of this land raises serious questions about potential violations of the free, prior informed consent (FPIC) requirement guaranteed to indigenous communities in the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
The UN Special Rapporteur on food security and International Food Policy Research Institute list land grabbing as notably occurring in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, and Somalia.
In the document, the Brookings Institution unequivocally calls for “respecting land rights of local small holder[s]” and for civil society advocacy of open agreements. Authors Ernest Aryeetey and Zenia Lewis argue for reforming land so that local communities have the power to conduct such contracts, instead of being overridden or circumvented.
Posted By Douglas Bojack at 1:04pm on June 29, 2010
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