Imagine living on a piece of land. You might cultivate some crops to secure your food production. Just like your parents and grandparents did before you. Then suddenly you are commanded to leave everything behind, because your land has been sold off to large investors. What if you can’t afford it to live on your own land anymore?
This has been happening to people in many areas in the world throughout the 21st century with the rise of foreign direct investments in agricultural land. Some describe it as large scale land investments that eventually will bring prosperity. Others name it neocolonialism and critize our financialized food system. However, land grabbing is taking place and it grows, while awareness at the other side of the food production chain is not.
Land grabbing appears in many different shapes: land for palm oil or bio fuel, but also for tourism and industrial parks. Resulting in the eviction of (indigenous) communities, denied access to food, water scarcity, deforestation, and loss of cultural heritage. For example palm oil is in most of the processed food we use. Do you know where it comes from?
On the 18th of May we learned about foreign direct investments in agricultural lands. Together we discussed the effects of our globalized food system on local communities.
**Lucy Oates is a researcher at LANDac, a network specialised in the pressures and conflicts concerning land and natural resources. She introduced us to land grabbing and its spreading around the globe.
**Daphné Dupont-Nivet is investigative journalist for De Correspondent, De Groene Amsterdammer and more. She told us about her research on Unilever, during which she came across large scale land acquisitions at Indonesian plantations and learned about the effects on local communities.
**Karin van Boxtel from Both ENDS joined us, an organisation involved with the sustainability of (inter)national agricultural policy. Among other themes, she focusses on land rights, sustainable land use, participatory spatial planning and land management in the broader sense of the word.
**Alke Gijrath is policy lead Land Governance and Land Rights for Oxfam Novib. She shared her experience in this field with us in the panel discussion and informed us about the landrightsnow.com campaign.