May 27, 2017

‘Land Grabbing’ in Africa: Biofuels Are Not Off The Hook

A village in Burkina Faso. Land investment in Africa is growing driven by rises in global food prices, companies who see market opportunities in biofuels, and overseas countries anxious to secure their food supplies through direct investment. (Photo by Tex, via IIED)

A new report by Dutch consultancy firm Ecofys claims that European demand for biofuels is not to blame for “land grabbing” in poorer countries. The report — commissioned by an organization that “represents the European renewable ethanol industry” — comes as EU law-makers discuss new biofuel legislation that could curb support to the sector. The report reviews deals accounting for 67 per cent of total ... Read More »

How Reliable is FAO’s Data on Global Hunger?

Shokuri Abdullai like most mothers in Bisle feeds her family boiled maize in the Somali region's Shinile zone (Ethiopia). (Photo by Jaspreet Kindra/IRIN)

In 2012 the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) attracted criticism for its methods of calculating the number of hungry people in the world in its annual report, the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI). The debate continues in 2013, with a calculated total of 842 million, or 12 percent of the world’s population, experiencing chronic hunger over the past ... Read More »

What Will Ukraine Gain from Farm Deal with China?

Ukraine used to be the bread basket of former Soviet Union. (Photo by Brian Woychuk, Creative Commons License)

A deal signed between Ukrainian and Chinese authorities last month may impact up to 3 million hectares of prime farmland in eastern Ukraine, a space roughly the size of Belgium. China, the world’s most populous country, with over 1.35 billion inhabitants, consumes 20% of the world’s food supply, but constitutes only 9% of the world’s farmland. As the country quickly ... Read More »

Land Disputes Add to Afghanistan’s Security Woes

Semi-nomadic Kuchis say they are getting pushed off their rangeland with land rights still not clearly established in Afghanistan.
(Photo by Bethany Matta/IRIN)

Fifty years ago, Dost Mohammad’s grandfather had 1,000 sheep grazing on the family’s plot of land on the outskirts of Kunduz City, Afghanistan. The family’s livestock numbers have since decreased significantly, but then, so has the size of their land. “We keep getting pushed further and further back,” said Mohammad. “We’re also having problems bringing our sheep to Badakshan. We ... Read More »

Ukraine Becomes China’s Largest Farmer in 3m Hectare Deal

Ukraine is one of the largest wheat producer in the world. (Photo by thisisbossi, Creative Commons License)

China will plough billions of yuan into farmland in Ukraine that will eventually become its biggest overseas agricultural project. The move is a significant step in China’s recent efforts to encourage domestic companies to farm overseas as China’s food demand grows in pace with urbanization. Under the 50-year plan, Ukraine will initially provide China with at least 100,000 hectares – ... Read More »

Agriculture Trade Rules Must Protect World’s Poorest

Screen Shot 2013-09-21 at 1.46.55 PM

The Agreement on Agriculture negotiated in the Uruguay Round was expected to bring about a structural change in the global agricultural trade and lead to efficient agricultural producers. Yet despite several further rounds of negotiations there has been minimal progress on all issues related to the Agreement and agricultural trade continues to be distorted. Given the prevalence of these distortions and ... Read More »

Dispatches from An Unfinished African Revolution

A train is transporting sugarcane from the fields in Zimbabwe. (Photo by by Ullisan, Creative Commons License)

After a struggle with white farmers over nearly two decades, Zimbabwe’s peasants are now owners of more than three-fourths of all agricultural land. The ZANU-PF’s success has been to take this autonomous movement and project this as an outcome of its policies. Read More »