International land deals for agriculture
This report (PDF) by Land Matrix provides detailed information on who is buying up farmland in which regions of the world and how this land is being used. It elaborates on differences in food security impacts of land deals in different countries. Food crops continue to play the major role in land deals. The report explains that food security impact is distinct in two group of countries. The first group consists of countries with a high Global Hunger Index (GHI) and a high dependence on their agricultural sectors, like Laos, Cambodia and Sierra Leone. Here impact is mixed. On the one hand, land acquisitions can attract investments in agriculture, with the aim of producing more food and creating jobs. However, it can also ensure loss of land to small-scale producers and indigenous peoples, who are often highly dependent on land for their own food security and have few alternatives for income generation. The second group of countries have a much lower GHI and agriculture is proportionally less important to their national economies, such as Russia, Ukraine, Brazil and Uruguay. Here, the context and hence the process is very different from those in the first group. For instance, in Eastern Europe land acquisitions take place in the context of a transition from centrally planned state economies to more capitalist and free market economies, which has involved unique challenges also in the field of food security. In South America, unlike other continents, land acquisitions mostly involve the purchase of land in transactions between private land-owners, without the involvement of the state as an intermediary. The direct impact on food security is therefore also less.