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Food Security

, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp 271–283 | Cite as

Global land acquisition: neo-colonialism or development opportunity?

  • Beth Robertson
  • Per Pinstrup-AndersenEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Increasingly, developing nations which are land rich are sanctioning the sale or transfer of user rights of large tracts of farmland for foreign investment. While this issue is of relatively recent origin, caused in large measure by the recent global food crisis and related to desires by food importing countries to have greater control over their food supply, the impact on food security could be very significant. Because of the newness of the matter, most of the available evidence is found outside traditional academic literature. Poor, smallholder farmers without formal land titles currently occupy much of the land sold in these transactions, threatening the internal food security of the lessor state. Factors driving the global acquisition of land include development aid shortfalls, the global food crisis, the burgeoning middle class in middle- and high-income nations, and the increasing acceptance of biofuels as a viable alternative source of fuel by governments of these nations. The risks associated with the global acquisition of land on food security of the seller country are manifold. This article reviews the current literature available on the subject and makes policy suggestions for equitable investment and benefit-sharing for all stakeholders. Opportunities and risks abound but if the risks are mitigated, then the global acquisition of land has the potential to be an unparalleled development opportunity for lessor states.

Keywords

Food security Hunger Developing countries Africa Land grabbing Land acquisition 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. & International Society for Plant Pathology 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cornell Institute for Public AffairsCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Food, Nutrition and Public PolicyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  3. 3.Applied Economics and ManagementCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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