When land is a commodity

While a strong emphasis is put on the importance of smallholder farming (2014 will be the International Year of Family Farming) there is an opposing trend that seems to be pushing ahead: land grabbing.

Nowadays, land grabbing means agricultural dispossession: land bought at very low prices by multinational corporations and private investors.  This land is supposed to be used for agricultural production, but it has also been grabbed for other purposes (mining, oil extracting, buildings, timber cutting).

For farmers and their families it means to be dispossessed. When people lose access to their land, they also lose their livelihood, their culture and traditions.

The amassing of lands has occurred many times also in the past, as Fred Magdoff states in the Monthly Review article Twenty-first-century land grabs: Accumulation by agricultural dispossession, the ways to do it have been changed but the goals are always the same.

Have a look at Land matrix, an interesting tool used for collecting and visualising information about large-scale land acquisitions.

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This blog is maintained by reference librarians of the David Lubin Memorial Library, Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN. Entries in this blog are for discussion purposes only. They express the views of their author(s) and not necessarily that of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The designations employed in this blog do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Links to other web sites are provided for the user's convenience and do not constitute endorsement of material at those sites, or any associated organisation, product or service.
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