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The Global Land Grab

The Global Land Grab

Annelies Zoomers | Mayke Kaag


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The last two years have seen a huge amount of academic, policy-making and media interest in the increasingly contentious issue of land grabbing - the large-scale acquisition of land in the global South. It is a phenomenon against which locals seem defenceless, and one about which multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank, as well as civil-society organizations and action NGOs have become increasingly vocal. This in-depth and empirically diverse volume - taking in case studies from across Africa, Asia and Latin America - takes a step back from the hype to explore a number of key questions: Does the ‘global land grab’ actually exist? If so, what is new about it? And what, beyond the immediately visible dynamics and practices, are the real problems? A comprehensive and much-needed intervention on one of the most hotly contested but little-understood issues facing countries of the South today.
Mayke Kaag is a social anthropologist and a senior researcher at the African Studies Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands. Within the African Studies Centre she is the convenor of a collaborative research group on Africa in the World: Rethinking Africa’s Global Connections. Annelies Zoomers is professor of international development studies (IDS) at Utrecht University and chair of LANDac. She has published extensively on sustainable livelihoods, land policies and the impact of privatization, tourism and international migration.
'This collection provides a serious analytical contribution to our understanding of a phenomenon, which might seem to peak at the present, but which is deeply rooted in the past and will need steadfast scholarly and political attention in the future.'Professor Christian Lund, University of Copenhagen
'This is an excellent, original collection, on the global land grabbing phenomenon.'Robin Palmer, Global Land Rights Policy Specialist, Mokoro
'This collection of essays provides a uniquely well informed and comprehensive analysis of "land grabbing", describing developments across three continents and illustrating the variety of forms it has taken: it shall be of interest to anyone interested in the future of globalization and its impacts on the poor who rely on access to land for their livelihood.'Professor Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food
'The Global Land Grab represents an important break from the earlier wave of land grabs studies in at least three interlinked ways: it looks beyond the "here and now land deals" by historicizing analysis to facilitate better understanding of longer term implications of the phenomenon; it contains grounded local-national studies; and it offers a comparative perspective across regions of the world.'Dr. Saturnino M. Borras Jr., International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Front cover Front cover
About the editors i
Title iii
Copyright iv
Contents v
Figures, tables and boxes vii
Introduction: the global land grab hype – and why it is important to move beyond 1
Introduction: a twofold hype 1
The current global land rush: what do we know? 2
Understanding the current global land rush as a hype cycle3 5
Manifestations on the ground: the case studies presented in this book 8
Africa 15
1 Modernizing the periphery: citizenship and Ethiopia’s new agricultural investment policies 17
Introduction 17
Background 18
Table 1.1 Area of farmland acquired by private investors by region, 1992–2010 19
1.1 Food price index and proportion of investments, projects in Ethiopia, 1992–2010 20
Methodology 21
Table 1.2 Overview of the investment planning process 22
Overview of case studies 23
1.2 Topographical map of Ethiopia 24
Table 1.3 Overview of case study investments 25
Findings 26
Discussion and conclusion 33
2 Large-scale land acquisitions in Tanzania: a critical analysis of practices and dynamics 36
Introduction 36
Background to Tanzanian agriculture development and foreign investment 37
Land laws and land acquisition processes 40
Developments in the land policy and land acquisition processes 43
Do large-scale land acquisitions exist? 44
2.1 The number of new companies investing in agriculture, registered by the TIC annually, 2001–12 45
Concluding remarks 50
3 Kenya and the ‘global land grab’: a view from below 54
Introduction 54
The origins of the system of land grabbing 56
The Kenyan experience of land grabbing 58
From resistance to reform 59
The ‘global land grab’ viewed from Kenya 62
Table 3.1 Summary table of some recent large-scale land investments in Kenya 64
Conclusions 66
Latin America 69
4 The rapid expansion of genetically modified soy production into the Chaco region of Argentina 71
Introduction 71
The expansion of the soy frontier: how did it happen? 73
4.1 South American Chaco region 73
4.2 Argentina: current soy-producing provinces 76
Assessing the impact 80
Conclusions 83
5 Transnational land investment in Costa Rica: tracing residential tourism and its implications for development 86
Introduction 86
Guanacaste’s historical ‘land grabs’ and connections to North America 88
The current hype: residential tourism development in Guanacaste 90
5.1 Planned/announced and completed residential tourism entities (plots, houses and apartments) per type of town, research area 91
Externally led economic development 92
Access to land 95
Policy and community involvement 96
Conclusion 98
6 Water grabbing in the Andean region: illustrative cases from Peru and Ecuador 100
Introduction 100
Accumulation of water in the hands of the few 102
Case analysis of Peru 105
Table 6.1 Farm units, irrigated areas and number of irrigators in Peru 106
Table 6.2 Largest buyers of lots in the Chavimochic Project, 1994–2006 period 108
Table 6.3 Buyers of lots in the Olmos Project in auctions on 9 December 2011 and 12 April 2012 109
Case analysis of Ecuador 110
Table 6.4 Consumptive use of water according to rights 111
Table 6.5 Percentages of total and irrigated farmland in Ecuador, 2000 112
Table 6.6 Formalized concentration of well water 113
Discussion and conclusions 114
Asia 117
7 Land governance and oil palm development: examples from Riau Province, Indonesia 119
Introduction 119
Oil palm expansion in Indonesia 120
Box 7.1 The economics of Riau Province 123
Land governance and natural resources management 124
Table 7.1 Land tenure forms as recognized by the Basic Agrarian Law No. 5/1960 125
7.1 Land administration and responsible land agencies 126
Table 7.2 Forestland licensing recognized by P.50/2010, which was amended by P.26/2012 127
Box 7.2 The roles of the forestry sector in Riau Province 128
Regional autonomy and forestry decentralization 129
Box 7.3 Decentralization in Riau Province 130
Competing claims for land and natural resources 131
Table 7.3 The Indonesian economic corridors and their main economic activities 132
Concluding remarks 134
8 Vietnam in the debate on land grabbing: conversion of agricultural land for urban expansion and hydropower development 135
Introduction 135
Agricultural land conversion in Vietnam: an overview 136
Table 8.1 Vietnam land deals in other countries and foreign deals in Vietnam 137
Table 8.2 Land use change between 2000 and 2009 138
Hydropower dam development 145
Table 8.3 The poverty rate of households living in resettlement sites 150
Discussion and conclusion 150
9 ‘Land grabbing’ in Cambodia: land rights in a post-conflict setting 152
Introduction 152
Setting the scene: Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) and local communities 154
Land governance and local communities: legal and institutional framework 156
Impact on local livelihoods 157
Table 9.1 Timeline of indigenous communities, marking key events and trends 160
Drivers: forces leading to large-scale acquisition and foreignization of land 163
The EU sugar regime reform and the EBA 166
Conclusion 168
10 Beyond the Gulf State investment hype: the case of Indonesia and the Philippines 170
Introduction 170
The GCC investment narrative 171
Why deals did not materialize 175
Table 10.1 Announced and realized foreign investments in food crops in the Philippines 180
Conclusions 182
11 Tracing the dragon’s footsteps: a deconstruction of the discourse on China’s foreign land investments 185
Introduction 185
Unpacking the discourse: China’s global emergence and its hallmarks in foreign affairs 186
Who are these Chinese? Disaggregating Chinese actors in overseas land acquisitions 188
China’s land acquisitions in time and place: what is new and what is true? 190
11.1 Chinese overseas land-based investments, 1949–99 191
11.2 Chinese overseas land-based investments, 2000–08 193
11.3 Chinese overseas land-based investments, 2009–11 195
The impetus for China’s foreign land investments: state guidance and private interests 195
Going beyond the hype: rethinking the Chinese ‘land grabs’ discourse 197
12 Conclusion: beyond the global land grab hype – ways forward in research and action 201
The ‘global land grab’ revisited 201
Ways forward in research and action 210
Box 12.1 The Voluntary Guidelines 211
Final reflections: why the land grab hype was good 215
Notes 217
About the contributors 225
Bibliography 231
Index 256
Back cover Back cover