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Displacement of small farmers, loss of incomes and livelihoods for rural people and depletion of productive resources are all reported, with consequences including increased poverty and food insecurity, social fragmentation and conflicts. The land rush was fuelled by the food price hike of — wealthier countries with a food deficit tried to secure supplies by buying land in developing countries with abundant natural resources.
Other factors were the rise of biofuels and portfolio diversification by investors worried by the fall of real estate, equity and bond markets. But the land grabbing phenomenon is also a reflection of an investment gap in developing country agriculture that has persisted for decades. Filling that gap with productive investment is urgently needed to stop land grabbing and reduce hunger and poverty. The world faces the formidable challenge of feeding a population that will exceed 9 billion in Today, one person in eight suffers from chronic hunger.
Achieving the goal in a sustainable manner that preserves natural resources will cost even more.
Farmers are the largest investors in agriculture, far ahead of any other sources. They also constitute the majority of the world's poor. Helping them invest more is essential to meet the twin challenge of feeding the world and reducing poverty.
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To this end, governments should put in place supportive policies and invest in key public goods such as infrastructure, education and agricultural research and development. Even then, farmers and governments will struggle to meet the enormous investment needs. Businesses also have an important role to play. They can contribute to increasing the productivity of agriculture in many ways such as transfer of technology, value addition and more efficient management.
But unfortunately not all corporate investments will have this positive effect. So the question is: FAO research shows that investments that involve local farmers as equal business partners, leaving them in control of their land, have the most positive effects on local development.
In Zambia, for example, a partnership between a co-operative of farmers producing sugar cane and a processing company gives farmers shares in the company and representation on its board.
Growing food on the unutilized land would help the Horn of Africa country address shortages that forces it to seek aid from international donors every year, former Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said at the time.
Agriculture investors are targeting African countries such as Ethiopia to meet growing global food requirements. The plots are located mainly in sparsely populated, heavily forested areas such as the western states of Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz that border South Sudan and Sudan.
Leases in some regions were awarded without checks on investors, environmental-impact assessments or performance-monitoring plans, he said. The state owns all land in a nation dominated by subsistence smallholders who mostly farm on less than a hectare. As of last month, only about 10, hectares of land have been developed, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Oct.
Dramatic decline in industrial agriculture could herald 'peak food'
Shapoorji Pallonji and Co. Ruchi Agri Plc, also based in Mumbai, obtained 25, hectares in Gambella. If all goes to plan, the operation may become profitable byhe said. China Project Other major investors such as Hunan Dafengyuan from China, which took a lease to grow sugarcane on 25, hectares in Gambella, have had their lease canceled, according to Keeley.