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Land Grabbing Essay

1026 words - 5 pages

Basically, since after the 2008 food price hike, the World Bank has been at the forefront of propagating private investments on lands with a win-win rhetoric that these deals would ensure food security for all as well as improve agricultural and living conditions in the host countries. Through its private sector arm – the International Financial Corporation(IFC) – and the Foreign Investment advisory Service (FIAS), the World Bank finances agro-investments, promotes and encourages policies aimed at cutting down on red tapes that could inhibit foreign direct investments in developing countries.
IFC primarily finances private sector investments. Following its conviction that the food crisis has provided an opportunity for agricultural development in emerging markets, it has tailored its response in two directions: transferring of technologies and know-hows to improve productivity and ensuring the use of unused or underutilised lands for agricultural productions. Accordingly, in the fiscal year ended in June 2008, its investments in the agribusiness was valued in excess of $1.3 billion. In 2009, it entered into a $ 625 million alliance with Altima Partners aimed at identifying “farming talents” in developing countries and helping in expanding farm production with the help of additional capital and the introduction of modern farm technologies. This is just one instance out of many; in fact, IFC Annual Report 2008 has it that the numbers of agribusiness projects supported by IFC moved from 17 in 2005 to 32 in 2008, just to show an idea of the rate at which its involvement in supporting agribusiness might be going. Less visible than financing private sector investment, perhaps, is IFC’s work of providing Technical Assistance and Advisory Services (TAAS) to developing country governments. Even when it is not financing a project, often it is collaborating with FIAS in promoting investment climate reforms which in real terms implies reducing administrative and institutional barriers, developing investment promotion agencies in these countries, and advising governments on changes to tax, customs, and land laws. And this has been the area of the World Bank Group’s work that has mostly significantly facilitated the land grab rush.
To facilitate investor access to lands in developing countries, FIAS has developed three products targeted at reducing constraints to foreign investment possibilities, namely; 1. Access to Land product, 2. Investing Across Border product, and 3. Land Market for Investment product. Access to land product focused on three areas – accessing, securing and developing land; and through it FIAS assists governments in implementing achievable short-term reforms to encourage investment and lay the groundwork for longer-term reforms that increase the overall investment climate of the country. Records exist of the implementation of this product in Vietnam and Benin. Arguing that unclear land right inhibits land deals, it swiftly moves on...

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