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US, Malaysia lead worldwide ‘land grabs’…..Oops.

June 11, 2013
Africa is the main target for ‘land grabs’ by foreign investors, according to a new report on large-scale land acquisitions around the world released yesterday.
“Africa is the place for cheap land deals and most investors are from western countries like the US and UK,” said Michael Taylor of the International Land Coalition (ILC).
Globally some 45 million hectares of land have been or are about to be signed over to foreign investors in Africa, southern Asia and Latin America. That’s equivalent to 60 percent of Europe’s farmland.
About half of this land is for food production and half for biofuels, according to data compiled by the ILC, a global alliance of nearly 100 civil society and intergovernmental organisations, including the World Bank and United Nations Environment Programme.
“Some investors aren’t actually farming and are only interested in land speculation,” Taylor told IPS.
Rural communities are being displaced from their agricultural, grazing, forests and traditional lands by international investors, Teresa Anderson of the Gaia Foundation, the UK partner of the African Biodiversity Network, told IPS.
Most of the food-producing lands in Africa are held in common by local communities. In Asia and South America, hundreds of millions of small landholders, pastoralists and indigenous people do not hold formal land titles. And when it suits governments, they ignore this customary land holding and sell or lease the land to private companies.
Private capital from pension funds and investment firms are chasing food-producing land since they see it as the next big profitable commodity.
“Investors are looking for annual returns of 20 and 25 percent and many are getting it,” said Taylor.
Experts at the University of Georgia recently completed an assessment of 34 land acquisitions in Africa and concluded that in most cases local people lost “their land and livelihoods often in the absence of any real benefits”.
Tracking via Land Matrix
The US, Malaysia, UAE and the UK are top foreign investors not only in Africa but in other countries, according to the ILC’s new Land Matrix Global Observatory. The Land Matrix is a website that provides the locations and details of nearly 1,000 land transactions all over the world.
The largest transnational land deals are in South Sudan and Papua New Guinea. The Land Matrix lists the individual land deals including the companies involved, the size of the acquisition and intended use. In Papua New Guinea, many of the land deals appear to be for palm oil production.
It is very difficult to track and detail land deals around the world and the ILC hopes that people will provide feedback and offer information, said Taylor.
“There is a huge number of land purchases going on that are not reflected in the Land Matrix,” he said.
Most of those are internal land purchases or leasing by elites within countries. Those are very difficult to document, he said.
“In the last three years, the government has sold more than 50,000 hectares of our land to companies,” said Lalji Desai, a Maldhari, a traditional shepherd in the state of Gujarat in India.
This is part of the state government’s plans for “development” but Maldhari and local farmers want to stay in agriculture.
“The land is very fertile, we don’t want to give it up,” Desai told IPS from Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
Up to 70 villages with 125,000 people now find themselves living in “special investment regions” and their lands are being parceled out to foreign companies like Suzuki and Hitachi, he said.
“These are not well-educated people. They won’t get jobs working for those companies,” he said.
Most companies are getting far more land than they need and are making money off reselling the land.
“Land prices have increased 20 times in last 10 years. Everyone wants to buy land, including powerful politicians,” Desai said.
Local people want to stay on their land and are working to strengthen their movement and get more public attention. “We want people to know the best use of our land is for food production,” he said.
This is the kind of situation that the ILC hopes to make public through the Land Matrix website.
The hope is that the Land Matrix becomes an important tool to address the lack of transparency that still surrounds large-scale land transactions, said Ward Anseeuw of the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement.
“The Land Matrix has evolved from a database into a public tool promoting greater transparency in decision-making over land and investment at a global level,” Anseeuw said in a statement.
– IPS
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. najib manaukau permalink
    June 11, 2013 5:10 am

    Malaysia is buying land in Africa so that Najib or his proxies can build the one million affordable houses he promises to build, that was something he forgot to mention to the people. He also forgot to tell the people he is building the one million affordable houses for those that did not vote for him or for Umno. Plus they are built for the Malay slaves taken there by the colonial masters some decades ago, how considerate he is ? Taking slaves to a country that was so well known for slaves.
    Or is he building a second Bugis Palace for his eventual ‘retirement’ when he is voted out in the next GE ? Very far sighted indeed !

  2. truthseeker permalink
    June 14, 2013 2:47 pm

    The Saudis are out of adept adroit leaders. The Saudis are in decline of crude oil output. The Saudis are seeing sharply reduced trade surpluses. The Saudis must contend with increasingly angry and stubborn citizens, who demand change and meaningful reform, if not an end to privilege. The surviving eager princes from which to choose the next leader are a pack of meager inbred insecure half-wit dullards who will preside over the Fall of the House of Saud. With it will go the Petro-Dollar into the sunset. The hidden events of significance include arrangements already struck between the Persian Gulf member nations and China & Russia. The Chinese have increased their presence in a significant manner in the gulf. They have established numerous trade pillboxes, like distribution networks and retail centers in almost every single gulf nation. The Chinese and the Russians have promised military support in the form of troops, armadas, and missile emplacements. The Petro-Dollar used to have a military component bearing a USMilitary flag. That is missing, along with the Saudi King. It has been replaced by a Chinese flag and Russian Onyx & Sunburn missiles (one generation ahead of the US Cruise missile). All the Eastern Alliance (BRICS, G-20, SCO) developments and progress toward a non-USDollar trade solution will soon receive a Saudi endorsement, even if implicit..

    BRICS Development Fund, creating Gold Trade Center Bank:

    By far the most dangerous and ominous channel is this fund. It has not been correctly reported in the Western press. It has intentionally been downplayed by the East. Surely it will initially serve as a source of funds for a series of projects, mostly infrastructure like railroads, super highways, mining mills, electric generating stations, and port facilities. My source has informed that the BRICS Development Fund will serve as a vast trading house to convert USTreasury Bonds into Gold bullion. It will eventually operate side by side with the newly formed Gold Trade Central Bank, with funds arriving from the emerging nation surpluses, mostly from reserves holdings, to be converted directly into Gold bullion. The Gold Standard is coming back, but in Gold Trade form, where the new fund will spin off Gold Trade Notes with legitimate and significant gold backing for conducting trade transactions. The new central bank will not be located in banking and currency. It will be centered in trade settlement, done brilliantly outside the current system that is dominated by the corrupted London and New York banking elite. The scales will soon fall off the Western analyst eyes, as they realize the BRICS are creating a Gold Trade Central Bank which will recycle toxic Western sovereign bonds, primarily USTBonds. They will convert their hard earned trade surpluses held in reserves into true tangible wealth. They will forge gold on the back of USGovt debt. Details are found in updates almost every month in the Hat Trick Letter. They will drain the West of its gold. Toxic impaired USTBond debt securities will be returned to sender, the USGovt, in very large volume, which will surely overwhelm the USFed and its Weimar press.

    http://www.silverdoctors.com/jim-willie-ustbond-return-to-sender/

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