Our Land Our Lives

In the past decade an area of land eight times the size of the UK has been sold off globally as land sales rapidly accelerate. This land could feed a billion people, equivalent to the number of people who go to bed hungry each night. In poor countries, foreign investors have been buying an area of land the size of London every six days.

With food prices spiking for the third time in four years, interest in land could accelerate again as rich countries try to secure their food supplies and investors see land as a good long-term bet. All too often, forced evictions of poor farmers are a consequence of these rapidly increasing land deals in developing countries. As the world’s leading standard-setter and a big investor itself, the World Bank should freeze its own land investments and review its policy and practice to prevent land-grabbing. In the past the Bank has chosen to freeze lending when poor standards have caused dispossession and suffering. It needs to do so again, in order to play a key role in stopping the global land rush.

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