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Land grab Imperialismo Agrario Imperialisme Agraire

On Planning for Development: land grab
rural development - agrarian policies - agribusiness  - food - migration - poverty - globalization 

From The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank - 2011
Rising Global Interest in Farmland
Can It Yield Sustainable and Equitable Benefits?

Klaus Deininger and Derek Byerlee, with Jonathan Lindsay,Andrew Norton, Harris Selod, and Mercedes Stickler

Cover - Preface - Contents - About the Authors - Acknowledgments - Abbreviations

...the demand for land has been enormous. Compared to an average annual expansion of global agricultural land of less than 4 million hectares before 2008, approximately 56 million hectares worth of large-scale farmland deals were announced even before the end of 2009. More than 70 percent of such demand has been in Africa; countries such as Ethiopia, Mozambique, and Sudan have transferred millions of hectares to investors in recent years.
At the same time, in many cases the announced deals have never been implemented. Risks are often large. Plans are scaled back due to a variety of reasons including unrealistic objectives, price changes, and inadequate infrastructure, technology, and institutions. For example, we found that actual farming has so far only started on 21 percent of the announced deals. Moreover, case studies demonstrate that even some of the profitable projects do not generate satisfactory local benefits, while, of course, none of the unprofitable or nonoperational ones do.
Institutional gaps at the country level can be immense. Too often, they have included a lack of documented rights claimed by local people and weak consultation processes that have led to uncompensated loss of land rights, especially by vulnerable groups; a limited capacity to assess a proposed project’s technical and economic viability; and a limited capacity to assess or enforce environmental and social safeguards.


The 2007–08 boom in food prices and the subsequent period of relatively high and volatile prices reminded many import-dependent countries of their vulnerability to food insecurity and prompted them to seek opportunities to secure food supplies overseas. Together with the reduced attractiveness of other assets due to the financial crisis, the boom led to a “rediscovery” of the agricultural sector by different types of investors and a wave of interest in land acquisitions in developing countries. With little empirical data about the magnitude of this phenomenon, opinions about its implications are divided.
Some see it as an opportunity to reverse long-standing underinvestment in agriculture that could allow land-abundant countries to gain access to better technology and more jobs for poor farmers and other rural citizens. If managed well, new investments in agriculture could help create the preconditions for sustained, broad-based development.
Others say that an eagerness to attract investors in an environment where state capacity is weak, property rights ill-defined, and regulatory institutions starved of resources could lead to projects that fail to provide benefits, for example, because they are socially, technically, or financially nonviable. Such failure could result in conflict, environmental damage, and a resource curse that, although benefiting a few, could leave a legacy of inequality and resource degradation.


On the demand side, three broad groups of actors can be distinguished.
A first group includes governments from countries initiating investments, which, especially in the wake of the 2007–08 food crisis, are concerned about their inability to provide food from domestic resources.
A second group of relevant players are financial entities, which in the current environment find attractive attributes in land-based investments. These include the likely appreciation of land, the scope to use it as an inflation hedge, and the projection of secure returns from land far in the future, something of great importance for pension funds with a long horizon. Although land markets are quite illiquid, some of the more active investors might also benefit from steps to improve the functioning of land markets and, in some cases, use sophisticated quantitative techniques to identify undervalued land.
Third, with greater concentration in agro-processing and technical advances that favor larger operations, traditional agricultural or agro-industrial operators or traders may have an incentive to either expand the scale of operations or integrate forward or backward and acquire land, though not always through purchases.

1. Land Expansion: Drivers, Underlying Factors, and Key Effects

Land acquisition has evolved over time with variations across regions and commodities in the balance between area expansion and intensification, the role of large-scale and small-scale farming, and the resulting social and environmental impacts. To set the context for recent processes of large-scale land acquisition, this chapter discusses three issues.
■ It identifies the magnitude and key drivers of demand growth and area expansion in major commodities over the last decade and reviews estimates of how these may evolve in the near and medium terms. Land expansion, much of it through commercial farming in owner-operated units, is not new and is expected to continue. Given their relative land abundance, such land expansion is likely to be concentrated in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean.
■ To illustrate how natural endowments (such as climate or terrain), infrastructure, technology, and institutions affected nature and social as well as economic impacts of land expansion across the main regions, it differentiates structural change in the agricultural sector by region and reviews largescale cultivation trends across regions.
■ To provide the basis for assessing social impacts, it reviews key determinants of the structure of agricultural production—particularly the factors determining the competitiveness of owner-operated family farms and large corporate units—and the implications for determining fair land values and integrating large-scale agricultural investment into country strategies.

Past and Likely Future Patterns of Commodity Demand and Land Expansion
Future Demand for Agricultural Commodities and Land
Lessons from Past Processes of Land Expansion: Regional Perspectives
Factors Affecting the Organization of Agricultural Production
Can Large-Scale Investment Create Benefits for Local Populations?
Notes - References
2. Is the Recent “Land Rush” Different?

As chapter 1 highlighted, the expansion of cultivated areas through markets continues to be important in many regions. The jump in investment following the 2008 food price hike also affected countries not traditionally considered viable targets. To understand this “land rush” and the factors shaping it, we used three methods.
■ To characterize the demand for land from potential investors that may not (yet) have resulted in projects on the ground, we coded press reports on agreed or contemplated private investments. We find that putative investments have a strong focus on Africa, most of them have not started any work on the ground, and having weak land governance and poor recognition of local land rights is associated with increased investor interest in a country as evidenced by press reports.
■ To assess what is happening on the ground and governments’ awareness, we use official inventories of land transactions for 14 countries that featured prominently in press reports. Procedurally, we find that unclear responsibilities, lack of staff and capacity (and little outsourcing), poor land records, low payments (for example, for land and/or taxes), and limited emphasis on consultation, economic viability, and social and environmental criteria all reduce target countries’ ability to regulate investments and protect local property rights. These imply large implementation gaps and lower than expected generation of assets and employment. While local investors are more prevalent than foreign ones, policy is a main determinant of the volume of transactions.
■ To determine how actual livelihoods are affected, we conducted case studies of 19 projects in the field.We find that in many of the countries affected, public agencies lack the tools and capacity necessary to implement regulations or to monitor compliance. Negative impacts arise if local land and resource rights are unclear, if investors’ lack of capacity or unrealistic expectations lead to nonviable projects, and if responsibilities agreed to in consultations are not recorded and enforced. Case studies also demonstrate that well-executed projects can generate large benefits, which can then be shared with local people through provision of public goods, employment, access to markets and technology, or taxes paid by investors to local or national governments.

Evidence from Media Reports
Evidence from Country Inventories
Evidence from Project Case Studies
Notes - References
3. The Scope for and Desirability of Land Expansion

For an accurate assessment of future trends in land use, it is important to look at supply as well as demand (Hertel 2010). By focusing only on demand, many analyses of large land acquisition to date are investorcentric rather than country-oriented. This risks creating the impression that large land acquisition is inevitable or an end in itself rather than exploring how investments can help countries achieve their development goals most effectively. A country-level assessment of rainfed land resources available, the effectiveness with which these are used, and ways to move closer to utilizing the productive potential of these resources, has three advantages:
■ It highlights that large-scale land acquisition is only one of many options, the desirability of which has to be weighed against that of alternatives to increase output and improve smallholder welfare.
■ It highlights that, even if unused land is available, investors are likely to make socially optimal land use decisions only if current uses are appropriately compensated and if external effects are considered.
■ Having an independent assessment of land suitability to identify hotspots where investor interest may materialize in the future will allow countries to take measures in anticipation of such interest and can also provide a yardstick to assess whether investors do indeed focus on the most productive land.

Methodology and Potential Availability of Land for Rainfed Crop Production
Adopting a Commodity Perspective
Toward a Country Typology
Notes - References
4. The Policy, Legal, and Institutional Framework

The discussion thus far suggests that land potentially suitable for rainfed agriculture (both currently cultivated and not) where investment could generate considerable benefits is available in some countries but also that such investment invariably entails high risks. Experience highlights that policies are needed to ensure that private sector decisions properly account for potential external effects. It also suggests that, therefore, the extent to which available potential will be realized—and the associated benefits accrue to local populations and contribute to poverty reduction—will depend on the policy and institutional environment.

Respect for Existing Property Rights to Land and Associated Natural Resources
Voluntary and Welfare-Enhancing Nature of Land Transfers
Economic Viability and Food Security
Impartial, Open, and Cost-Effective Mechanisms to Implement Investments
Environmental and Social Sustainability
Notes - References
5. Moving from Challenge to Opportunity

The previous chapters indicate that land acquisition and associated large-scale investment in countries that have not traditionally been targeted by such investment needs to overcome technical and economic challenges and that, in many instances, limited recognition of local rights, highly centralized approval processes, and gaps in institutional capacity further increase the associated risks. These challenges notwithstanding, host countries have an opportunity to use investor interest to help them utilize the resources at their disposal in a way that can increase smallholder productivity and improve local livelihoods. To do so, it will be necessary for different stakeholders to work together to not only address the risks described in more detail earlier in this report, but also to interact at the country level to create awareness of policy frameworks, monitor actual ventures, and adapt policies in light of new experience. This is important because policies need to be adapted to the specific reality of every country while being flexible enough to be able to respond to evolving experience and changes in the broader environment.

Key Areas for Action by Governments
Civil Society
International Organizations
Conclusion: The Need for an Evidence-Based Multistakeholder Approach
Notes - References
Appendix 1: Methodology of and Issues Encountered in Collecting Inventory Data
Cambodia - Democratic Republic of Congo - Ethiopia - Indonesia - Liberia - Lao People’s Democratic Republic - Mozambique - Nigeria - Pakistan - Paraguay - Peru - Sudan - Ukraine - Zambia
Notes - References
Appendix 2: Tables
A2.1 Land Sizes and Origin of Projects in Country Inventories
A2.2 Reasons for Country Selection and Key Insights from Case Studies
A2.3 Projections of Global Land Use for Food, Feed, Biofuels
A2.4 Estimated Costs of Sorghum Production in Sudan
A2.5 Summary of Analysis of Farm Incomes for Smallholders Relative to Wage Employment on Large-Scale Farms
A2.6 Potential Land Availability by Country
A2.7 Land Availability by Region for Different Crops
A2.8 Wheat—Potential for Land/Yield Expansion for Key Producers and Countries with Uncultivated Land
A2.9 Maize—Potential for Land/Yield Expansion for Key Producers and Countries with Uncultivated Land
A2.10 Soybeans—Potential for Land/Yield Expansion for Key Producers and Countries with Uncultivated Land
A2.11 Sugarcane—Potential for Land/Yield Expansion for Producers and Countries with Uncultivated Land 
A2.12 Oil Palm—Potential for Land/Yield Expansion for Key Producers and Countries with Uncultivated Land
Appendix 3: Figures
A3.1 Yield Gap vs. Relative Land Availability, Africa
A3.2 Yield Gap vs. Relative Land Availability, Europe and Central Asia
A3.3 Yield Gap vs. Relative Land Availability, Latin America and the Caribbean 
A3.4 Yield Gap vs. Relative Land Availability, North America, Northern Europe, and Oceania
A3.5 Yield Gap vs. Relative Land Availability, Selected Countries
Appendix 4: Maps
A4.2.1 Mozambique Concession Overlap with Community Claims
A4.3.1 Maximum Potential Value of Output for Africa
A4.3.2 Maximum Potential Value of Output for Latin America and the Caribbean
A4.3.3 Maximum Potential Value of Output for Europe
A4.3.4 Maximum Potential Value of Output for the Middle East and Asia
A4.3.5 Maximum Potential Value of Output for Oceania
ECO-AUDIT: Environmental Benefits Statement
1 Principles for Responsible Agro-Investment xxvii
2 Using Auctions to Transfer Public Land in Peru’s Coastal Region xxix
I.1 Who Demands Land? 2
1.1 Are Crop Yields Stagnating? 14
1.2 Competitive Land Markets in Latin America 33
1.3 Can Smallholders and Large Farms Coexist? 35
1.4 Options for Engaging Small Farmers 36
1.5 What Is the Right Price for Land? 37
2.1 Management of Land Concessions in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic 60
3.1 Assessing and Valuing Indirect Impacts of Land Cover Change 82
4.1 Implementation of the Policy, Legal, and Institutional Framework Assessment in Peru 97
4.2 Using Auctions to Transfer Public Land 111
5.1 The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative 139
1 Potential Land Availability vs. Potential for Increasing Yields xxxvi
2 Yield Gap, Availability of Uncultivated Land, and Area Cultivated per Rural Inhabitant, Selected Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa xxxviii
3 Yield Gap, Availability of Uncultivated Area, and Area Cultivated per Rural Inhabitant for Selected Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean xxxix
1.1 Area Expansion and Yield Growth 11
1.2 Cropland Expansion, Deforestation in Mato Grosso, Brazil, 2001–04 18
1.3 Range of Returns to Oil Palm and Potential REDD Payments for Forest Conservation in Indonesia 21
1.4 Yields on Semi-Mechanized Farms, Sudan, 1970–2007 24
1.5 Maize Production Costs by Country 25
1.6 Evolution of United States’ Farm Size and Nonfarm Manufacturing Wage 30
2.1 Key Commodity Prices and Number of Media Reports on Foreign Land Acquisition 51
2.2 Frequency Distribution of Projects and Total Land Area by Destination Region and Commodity Group 52
2.3 Share of Projects by Commodity and Production Status of Capital 53
3.1 Yield Gaps and Relative Land Availability for Different Countries 86
3.2 Yield Gaps and Relative Land Availability for South Asia, East Asia and Pacific, and the Middle East and North Africa 87
3.3 Yield Gaps and Relative Land Availability for Latin America and the Caribbean 88
3.4 Yield Gaps and Relative Land Availability for Eastern Europe and Central Asia 90
3.5 Yield Gaps and Relative Land Availability for Sub-Saharan Africa 91
1 Large Land Acquisitions in Select Countries xxxiii
2 Potential Availability of Uncultivated Land in Different Regions xxxiv
1.1 Changes in Arable Area Used for Farming 10
1.2 Key Commodities Driving Land Use Change, 1990–2007 12
1.3 Mean Farm Sizes and Operational Holding Sizes Worldwide 28
1.4 Publicly Listed Companies in Agribusiness Value Chains 29
1.5 Yields and Cost Structure for Major Rice Exporters 33
1.6 Key Factor Ratios in Case Studies of Large-Scale Investments 39
1.7 Land Expectation Values for Perennial Crops 41
2.1 Estimated Probability that a Country Is Targeted by Investments 54
2.2 Challenges Encountered in Collecting Inventory Data 58
2.3 Large Land Acquisitions in Selected Countries, 2004–09 62
2.4 Key Insights from Case Studies 65
3.1 Potential Supply of Land for Rainfed Cultivation in Different Regions 79
3.2 Potential Area of Nonforested, Nonprotected Land Close to Market Most Suitable for Different Crops under Rainfed
Cultivation 80
3.3 Current Yield Relative to Estimated Potential Yield 82

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