News Land Grabbing / Agrofuels – October 2013

UNCTAD: Trade and Environment Review 2013: Wake up before it is too late: Make Agriculture truly sustainable now for food security in a changing climate



A recent report of UNCTAD[1] calls upon governments around the world for a “paradigm shift” in agriculture, in particular, a shift away from the agribusiness towards small scale farmers as the main actors in agriculture. Poverty, hunger and climate change should be treated as intertwined crises and agro-ecological family farming has the capacity to deal with these problems simultaneously. However, international policy responses to the food crisis of 2008 were “technical quick fixes” with a narrow focus on increasing yields from monoculture-based industrial agriculture. The results are disappointing: the agribusiness has not produced sufficient affordable food where most needed and it has accelerated global warming through its intensive use of fertilisers and chemical inputs. The report also warns that urgent solutions are necessary, because climate change will increasingly disrupt agriculture, in particular, in Sub-Sahara Africa and Asia.


The new way forward in agriculture is supporting small scale farmers while improving their productivity and food sovereignty. Next to being a food producer, a farmer should be considered and rewarded as a “manager of an agro-ecological system”, because he/she preserves biodiversity, soils, water and landscapes. This model of sustainable regenerative farming is capable to deal simultaneously with resource scarcities, effects of climate change and food security.


Read the press release here  & the full report here , and a press article here  



Stories from Africa


President of Tanzania: “Investors must surrender idle farmland”


Tanzania wants to repossess land from investors that fail to present a sound investment project, which contributes to national development. The aim is to reduce speculation on land and to put a stop to land bankers. In Tanzania land bankers have bought up large tracts of farmland without developing them in order to resell them at a higher price after a couple of years. These practices condemn subsistence farmers to poverty endangering the survival of family farming in Tanzania. Read the article



Ethiopia: Land policy revised


Ethiopia has been one of the prime destinations for investors looking to acquire large tracts of land. The Ethiopian government has welcomed foreign investors by low lease rates for land, low prices for land sales, tax sweeteners and supportive services for investors. However, the government has begun to review its land policy, because it has failed to produce the desired results. Land investment is often speculative of nature or investors develop merely a small portion of the allocated land, this means that the benefits for the Ethiopian economy are very limited. For this reason the Ethiopian government wants to limit the size of land attributed to investors and it will reclaim land that has not been developed by investors. Read the article   

[1] UNCTAD : United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

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