Note on… Land grabs & agri-FDI

August 31, 2010

As a result of the 2008 world food crisis, many investors have engaged into a race for food production also known as ‘landgrab’. (See for instance here) That being said, it is interesting to note that although many press and NGO comments can be found on the net, very few official sources can be relied upon in order to draw reliable trends.

First, the ‘langrab’ issue importantly illustrates a general malaise as to the increasing demand for food in times where the means to anwer such a demand are limited. Second, the point allows suggesting that to some extend, the ability of money-rich states to acquire land in money-poor but land-rich states generates many issues. In many cases indeed, harvests may be integrally repatriated to the home-states’ markets, while host-states by contrast remain reliant on international food-aid. Problematically however, the ‘landgrab’ debate by putting the blame on foreign investors tends to fail to consider the very origins of such a trend. At this point, it is indeed difficult to find neutral reports and comments in which the “why” prevails on the “what”. While it should be recalled that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) are vehicules for development-funding which should be distinguished from greed, this essential aspect of the trend is hardly considered.

The Int’l Law Notepad therefore intends to open its columns to such a debate, and an ‘agri-FDI’ category is now available for this purpose. Notes should follow as soon as possible.

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