May 2013

Land grabs



It's been labelled 'the Earth's final round-up'. Investors are seeking to annex forests and farmland, anticipating food shortages, dwindling oil stocks and poor financial returns elsewhere.

We are four years into the phenomenon. And while the pace has slowed, the global rush for land in the developing world is still on. In this month's issue of New Internationalist, we travel to Mozambique - one of Africa's fastest-growing economies, where the drive to investment is intense. We meet rural communities dispossessed by powerful companies, speak to subsistence farmers at odds with Scandinavian foresters, Indian rice giants and biofuel projects. But, as well as the woes, we will hear about growing South-South resistance to unbalanced deals.

Land grabs lie at the heart of development debates today. Will Majority World nations take the easy option, outsourcing agriculture and buying into the quick-fix private-sector promise to end poverty? Or will they tackle hunger direct, by supporting long-neglected smallholder farmers? Do 'win-win' deals even exist? The path that governments choose will determine whether the peasants of today hold on to community land rights or become landless labourers of the future.



土地収奪は、今日の開発を巡る議論の中心にある。マジョリティー・ワールド(世界の過半数の人々が住む開発途上国)の政府は、農業の外注化、そして貧困を解決するという急場しのぎの約束をする民間セクターを安易に選ぶのだろうか? それとも、長い間顧みられなかった小規模農民たちへの支援を通じ、飢餓問題に直接取り組むのだろうか? はたして、「双方にメリットがある」取引などというものは存在するのだろうか? 農民のコミュニティーの土地の権利が確保されるのか、土地無し労働者が将来増えるのかは、各国政府が選択が決めることになるのだ。







Stories making the news this month
6 Mass agitation in Bulgaria
6 Baby milk battles
7 Energy for all
7 Introducing Beppe Grillo
7 Chadian dictator in court
8 Life after Chávez
8 Activist victory in Britain
9 Indonesian forests first
9 Bouncier babies
PLUS: Scratchy Lines by
Simon Kneebone, and Reasons to be cheerful.

Mixed Media
32 Music reviews
Alter by Nynke; and Albala by Samba Touré.

33 Film reviews
The Reluctant Fundamentalist, directed by Mira Nair; The Gatekeepers, directed by Dror Moreh; and Fuck for Forest, directed by Michal Marczak.

34 Book reviews
Children of the Days by Eduardo Galeano; The Poorer Nations by Vijay Prashad; A Death in the Lucky Holiday Hotel by Pin Ho and Wenguang Huang; and The Enigma of the Return by Dany Laferrière.

35 Also out there...

The Big Story
Land grabs
10 The smallholders' last stand
Investors are snapping up land in the Global South at an alarming rate. Hazel Healy goes to Mozambique to meet the farmers who are losing their homes and livelihoods.

14 Land Grabs - The Facts

16 Invest in small farmers
Time to turn back the clock on decades of neglect of peasant agriculture.

17 Cazizi village holds its ground
Communities are working to get forestry companies to clean up their act, with mixed results.

21 Securing the global commons
The land grab has not gone unchallenged. Find out more about how to stop it.

22 Hotspots
A global tour of controversial land deals.

24 The eye of the farmer fattens the beast
Zimbabwe proves small producers can compete with big farms.

Regular Features
4 Letters

5 Letter from Botswana
Wame Molefhe gets to grips with the importance of cows.

26 Country Profile: Indonesia

38 And Finally
Comedian, author and activist Rob Newman on austerity, welfare - and how the triangle could save Greece.

28 This is Africa
David Fedele relates a true and uncomfortable tale of a tardy Good Samaritan.

36 Coming back from the brink?
Can India’s dwindling vulture population be saved? Graeme Green investigates.

31 Mark Engler The case for a maximum wage.

37 Chris Coltrane Democracy only works when we know the truth.
PLUS: Polyp's Big Bad World cartoon.




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