Marc Schober is the editor of Farmland Forecast an educational blog devoted to investments in agriculture and farmland.
A code of conduct for land grabs
Nov 03, 2009
An international code of conduct for land deals should be completed by the end of the year, according to the head of the United Nations’ International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). In 2008, food prices increased and many countries tried securing their food supply by buying foreign farmland, or entering into long-term leases on foreign farmland. These sales and leases have often been referred to as “land grabs” because both the buyer and seller do not always benefit.
“We have the Kimberley framework for mining, so why don't we put together a framework in the agricultural sector?" Kanayo Nwanze, president of the IFAD said in a recent article from Reuters. The Kimberley Process helps prevent diamond trading that will fund civil conflicts.
The code of conduct for land grabbing will help set in place guidelines so that both parties, the buyer and host country, will benefit from a land sale or contract. The guidelines will certainly help less powerful countries since often times, land grabs are negotiated behind closed doors.
Host countries should benefit by receiving new technology and creating opportunities for local farmers to grow and sell crops, according to the Reuters article.
Supporters of the IFAD have increased pledges by 67%, allowing the program to run from 2010 through 2012.
The guidelines are being compiled by the IFAD, UN's Food and Agriculture Organization, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, and the World Bank, according to Nwanze.
Land grabbing has recently become a big issue in developing countries. When powerful countries had negotiated a land sale, often times the host country had not seen many benefits besides monetary payments. The code of conduct will push for technology since many farmers have not been able to increase crop yields in developing countries in over 40 years, according to a recent article in Business Week.
Land deals over the last 50 years often would bring schools, infrastructure, roads and clinics. Nwanze thinks that those benefits for host country local economies need to be updated in current land deals.
Read more about farmland and agriculture at farmlandforecast.colvin-co.com.