A report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, FAO, in seventeen Latinamerican and Caribbean countries discovered an intense concentration and foreign-held land process.
According to the report the phenomenon of land grabbing shows that the purchase of land for the production of food, with the participation of foreign governments is mostly restricted to Mercosur countries, mainly Argentina and Brazil, even when there is an interest for land in the whole region.
“The phenomenon of land concentration and foreign-held land and of the value chains in the forestry-agriculture sector is extended to most of the region”, says the report.
To that respect FAO Policies officer Fernando Soto-Baquero warns that the region’s governments must find ways of ensuring that the process of land concentration, and land in foreign hands do not have negative effects for the food security, farm jobs and the development of family farming.
“There is a massive resurgence in the interest to invest in land in the region. It is much stronger than we presumed be in terms of investment in land or the concentration phenomenon”, said Saturnino Borras professor at the Social Studies Institute from The Hague and who as a FAO consultant analyzed the surveys done on the 17 countries.
“We are facing a new wave of a foreign land grabbing process which is very important” said Martine Dirven, a specialist in South American rural development”.
“In ten years we have seen the value of land in Uruguay increase seven-fold and a tremendous concentration process of land in Latinamerica”, he underlined.
According to Fernando Eguren from the Peruvian Centre of Social Studies, Cepes, the concentration of landholdings is not only an economic phenomenon, “it is also a concentration of influences, of political power in the territorial areas where it is happening”.
“Finally it is also linked to restrictions on democracy” said Eguren following the presentation of the report at the FAO regional office during the seminar on “Dynamics of the farmland market in Latin America and the Caribbean