Oxfam calls on World Bank to freeze land investments that affect food supply
Land the size of the California, Texas, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico combined was sold off globally in the last decade, enough to grow food for the one billion people who go hungry today.
Oxfam has released a report, "Our Land, Our Lives," which shows that land deals tripled during the food price crisis in 2008 and 2009 because land was increasingly viewed as a profitable investment. With global food prices again hovering near record levels, Oxfam is calling for urgent action to stop the threat of another wave of land grabs.
“Tens of thousands of poor people are being kicked off their land, often violently, without consultation or compensation. The World Bank can act today and prevent this from becoming one of the great scandals of the 21st century," said Paul O’Brien, Vice President of policy and campaigns for Oxfam America.
Join Oxfam in calling on the World Bank to temporarily freeze its agricultural investments in land so it can review its advice to developing countries, help set standards for investors, and introduce more robust policies to prevent land-grabs.
How are land grabs and hunger related?
Oxfam's report warns that more than 60 percent of investments in agricultural land by foreign investors between 2000 and 2010 were in developing countries with serious hunger problems. However, two thirds of those investors plan to export everything they produce on the land. About 60 percent of global land deals in the past decade have been to grow crops that can be used for biofuels.
What is Oxfam calling for?
Oxfam urges Jim Kim to take leadership on this issue at the World Bank’s Annual Meetings in Tokyo on October 12-14 and send a strong signal to global investors to stop land-grabbing and to improve standards. Specifically, Oxfam is calling for:
- Transparency – ensuring that information about land deals is publicly accessible for both affected communities and governments.
- Consultation and consent – ensuring communities are informed in advance, and can agree or refuse projects.
- Land rights and governance – strengthening poor people’s rights to land and natural resources, especially women, through better land tenure governance as set out by the Committee for Food Security.
- Food security – ensuring that land investments do not undermine local and national food security.