The bigger the better? The consequences of land investments for land rights, soils and food sovereignty
Forum on Environment and Development
Bread for the World
Time: Wednesday, 26. January 2022, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. (CET), subsequent deep dive 6:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Languages: English, German, Portuguese
Many governments are increasingly counting on large-scale agro-industrial businesses via financially strong investors. In Africa, ten million hectares of land have been “acquired” for large-scale farming over the past 20 years, by private investors, listed companies and investment funds – with drastic social, economic and environmental repercussions: Smallholders lose their farmland because their legal situation is often unclear. The loss of land causes hunger and poverty. At the same time, large-scale land use goes hand in hand with an industrial model of agriculture that produces chiefly for exportation, e.g. of agricultural commodities. This type of farming is intended to achieve a short-term increase in the yields of monocultures, combined with the heavy use of external inputs such as mineral nitrogen fertilisers and pesticides. Both are critical from the perspective of biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation. The expert panel will discuss the social, economic and ecological impacts of large-scale land investments in Africa and South America, inter alia, on the basis of the Misereor study “Big Equals Better?”. The significance of secure land rights and the impact of mineral nitrogen fertilisers and pesticides on soil fertility are to be discussed. From the perspective of smallholder organisations, light will be shed on agro-ecological methods of soil management.