Monday, June 24, 2013

Open data reveal extent of land grabbing The total area of land controlled by foreign investors globally is similar to the size of Poland, according to the most up to date estimates contained in an online database that aims to document large-scale land acquisitions or 'land grabs'. The database, called the Global Observatory, reveals that investors have acquired 32.8 million hectares since 2000 — up from its 2012 estimates of 26.2 million hectares.

Land grabs are often not conducted openly, which has made them difficult to monitor. However, the revamped online tool, revealed this month (10 June), allows for the crowdsourcing and visualisation of data as well as the verification of sources of such data, to promote transparency and accountability in land and investment decisions.

Most of that land has been acquired in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the top three investor countries being the United States, Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.

Land grabbing has recently moved to the forefront of the international development agenda. Following the global rise in food prices in 2008, investors and some foreign governments bought land in the global South — often parcels totalling thousands of hectares — to try to cash in on agricultural commodities and secure food supplies....

Terraced farms in Bolivia, shot by Christopher Walker, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

No comments: