Land Investment Revolution – Four Pillar Solution

Land Investment Revolution

 

Landgrab or reasonable investments? Large-scale land investments in developing countries.

 

Landgrabbing. A term that many know und many know: that’s not good! But for most landgrabbing is not more than a vogue expression from the other side oft he world, 6000 kilometres away.1

But that’s exactly what land investments aren’t anymore: On the Website Landmatrix.org, that tries to collect and evaluate the biggest deals, more than 49 million hectares are listed as sold. This area equals 67 million football fields or five times the size of Portugal.2

Under which conditions are these investments made? The biggest supporters are commonly the local governments but often end up at the so called Chiefs. These people that are legitimised by the common law lead a complete village. In the most cases, the Land is not owned by single people but by the total community which makes the decision to sell a decision of the chief, not of the local population. The enormous danger of corruption is threatening the local people and their nutrition. Many Chiefs prefer to take the SUV instead of securing the nutrition und living space of the community.

Exactly that is the point at which we stop talking about land investment and start calling it land grabbing. This term was only defined once in history by the International Land Coalition (ILC) in the Tirana Declaration as land investment that is

Football Fields Land Aquisition

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  1. made in violation of human rights,
  2. not based on free, prior and informed consent of the affected land-users,
  3. not based on a thorough assessment, or in disregard of social, economic and environmental impacts,
  4. not based on transparent contracts that specify clear and binding commitments about activities, employment and benefits sharing and is

not based on effective democratic planning, independent oversight and meaningful participation.

 

To stop landgrabbing and support sustainable investments is the aim of many international organisations. But how do we help a country in which the government is corrupt, die roads are heavily damaged and energy is non-existent? How do we help a country that lies on the other side of our planet? How does he help without heavily damaging our own economy? The solution is, as the problem itself, not one-dimensional, it consists of four pillars that rest on a stable foundation to form a solid building of fair and effective land investments

 

  1. Creation of awareness
    Four Pillar Solution - Land Investment Revolution

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    1. In the investors’ countries of the social media platforms, digital teaching materials for the schools and the Landmatrix, a monitoring platform for land investments, need to enlight the population to develop a higher compulsion to the investors through the consumers.
    2. In the developing countries, the local population has to be educated on the process of land investments. This should be done by information centres, the classic development aid through the aid workers and by the classes in the local schools.
  2. Transparent ownership
    1. In the developing countries an efficient and effective digital cataster system to be created, to make ownership rights transparent. The expansion of the necessary infrastructure is imperative. This should help the governments to gather better data on ground related taxes to increase their income and make theses inquires legitimate.
    2. Existing analogue deeds of ownership need to be digitalized and administrated in a central system to prevent any form of corruption. These need to be included into the cataster system.
  3. Creation of an efficient market
    1. To make the markets on international land investments transparent and efficient the creation of a central auction platform for land is essential. For the use of the platform, a provision is taken for every transaction that can be withdrawn if the investor ensured a sustainable economic activity. To ensure fairness the determination of a minimum price on basis of an independent assessment is important. The local population should be freed from the provision in a suitable extent.
  4. Intelligent agriculture
    1. Last but not least the local population needs to be supported by specific mediation of know-how on intelligent agriculture to ensure the nutrition of the region.
    2. Furthermore, the creation of a crop failure insurance should prevent the local population from hunger and poverty from natural disasters.

 

These four solutions can only be combined with a solid foundation, a foundation of motivation and the sufficient funds. Investors should be motivated to get a better image, the population to get a better life and the local government to increase their income and legitimation. Necessary funds should be collected from the provision of the auction platform, development funds of the EU and UN and from the development aid of the industrial countries. Furthermore, the creation of an anti-landgrabbing fund which also could be defrayed by the foreign investors would help to make this four pillar system come true.

 

Four Pillar Solution - Land Investment Revolution

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1: Distance Kiel-Kongo; www.luftlinie.org; 06.07.2017

2: Data and comparisons von www.landmatrix.org; 06.07.2017

3: Tirana Declaration of the International Land Coalition, page 2 point 4; http://www.landcoalition.org/en/resources/tirana-declaration; 06.07.2017

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Land Investment Revolution - Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg
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YES! 2017 Topic

 

(c) shutterstock.com / Attasit Ketted
Logo GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies Hamburg

 

Since 2000, about 26.7 Million hectares of land have been purchased by international investors in developing countries and emerging markets. This equals about two percent of agriculturally useful soil or the size of the United Kingdom plus Slovenia.
Some people call this landgrabbing and point to the non-transparent processes and the negative consequences for poor countries of origin. Contracts are brokered quite often behind closed doors and the previous land owners don’t take part in these negotiations. When small farmers get displaced, they very often lose their livelihood.

 

Others, on the contrary, speak of essential investments for the underfinanced agriculture and stress the chances for these countries. Often the local infrastructure like roads, schools and hospitals benefit from these investments. Jobs are created and the markets get closer to the small farmers. As a result, the farmers have a better and quicker access to seeds and fertilisers.

 

Those are two positions of the extreme and the truth is somewhere to be found in the middle. The investments must be checked individually to make a judgement on them.

 

In which context should investments be made and how should the people affected by it participate in the negotiations?

 

If you want to know more about the YES! 2017 topic “Landgrabbing or Reasonable Investments?” you can continue to read here.

 

The project “Landgrabbing or reasonable investments? ” was proposed by researchers of the GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies and the researcher Kerstin Nolte.

 

This topic has been selected to work on by the YES! team of the Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg. Learn more about the YES! 2017 team of the Helene-Lange-Gymnasium Rendsburg here on their profile page.