Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Great International Land-Grab; Foraging for Crop-Land

Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Land grab site


GRAIN is launching today a new website that offers the mostcomprehensive information tool on the global land grab for outsourcedfood production: http://farmlandgrab.org. This new site is an improvedversion of the site initiated by GRAIN last year, which provides anopen, up-to-date and easy to search library of over 800 articles,interviews and reports on farm land grabs around the world published since the outbreak of the food crisis in 2008.

The global trend to buy up or lease farmlands abroad as a strategy tosecure basic food supplies, or simply to get rich, is not slowing down-- it is getting worse. The scale is becoming more apparent now, withresearchers counting some 20 million hectares of good cropland alreadysigned off to foreign investors, or soon to be, worldwide. Morecountries and corporations are getting involved, from Sri Lanka toCongo or Hyundai to Varun. Farmers' organisations, human rights groupsand other social movements are agitating against this obscene approachto feeding their countries, while at least one government – theRavalomanana regime in Madagascar -- has been brought down because ofits involvement in such a deal.

Next month, through a move by the Japanese government, which has a direct stake in locking down its own outsourced food supply, the Group of Eight most powerful countries are going to release a set of criteria to make these deals look "win-win". The words will be smooth,but people won't be fooled.
Like its predecessor, this new website contains mainly news reports,videos and audio interviews to help people track and understand whatis going on. However, its role as a public clearinghouse on otherwise secret deals will be stronger:

- The new site is open-publishing, meaning anyone can register and upload material.
- The website will contain as many land grab contracts as possible,releasing them into the public domain because the secrecy surroundingthese deals is unacceptable. (Please contact us if you have any such documents to share. Anonymity will be respected.)
- The website will serve as an active forum for debate and proposalson how to turn things around, with free and open space to write yourown piece, comment on someone else's or create new sections.

The site is updated daily, with all posts entered according to theiroriginal publication date. If you want to track updates in real time,you can subscribe to the RSS feed. If you prefer a weekly email, withthe titles of all materials posted in the last week, you can subscribeto the email service.

This land grab blog is an open project. Although currently maintained by GRAIN, anyone can join in posting materials or developing it further.
Further information:
- URL: http://farmlandgrab.org
- Email: info@farmlandgrab.org

- In October 2008, GRAIN published "Seized: The 2008 land grab for food and financial security", one of the first overall analyses of this new trend. It is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabicand Bahasa Indonesia.


- GRAIN also maintains a landgrab resource page bringing together GRAIN materials, other organisations working on the issues, andrelevant actions & events. There are also a number of land grab mapsfrom various sources. http://www.grain.org/landgrab/
GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles forcommunity-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems.

Click on title above to go to GRAIN site;

Posted by Rami Zurayk at 8:51 PM

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