Report: Global Food Security and Sovereignty Threatened by Corporate and Government “Land Grabs” in Poor Countries
the foreword to the Oakland Institute report “Investment in Agriculture: The Role of the International Finance Corporation in the Global Land Grab” is by the farmer and philanthropist Howard Buffett, son of the billionaire Warren Buffett. Howard Buffett writes the following, of land grabbing in Africa, he says, “These deals will make the rich richer and the poor poorer, creating clear winners who benefit, while the losers are denied their livelihoods…[Africa] does not need policies that enable foreign investors to grow and export food for their own people to the detriment of the local population. I’ll be even bolder—such policies will hurt Africa, fueling conflict over land and water…Africa is not a commodity. It must not be labeled ‘open for business.'”
AMY GOODMAN: What is the most important movement, would you say, to take note of in the world now in fighting back?
ANURADHA MITTAL: Well, Amy, the beauty of it is, the struggle that’s happening at the grassroots level. I’ve been in India, wherein POSCO—the local communities in Orissa, villages in Orissa are fighting back against the South Korean steel company POSCO, which has been trying to take over forest land, denying communities who depend on the forest products for their livelihoods. We know in Madagascar, it was the grassroots revolt which toppled the government, which was selling off half of the country’s arable land to a South Korean company, Daewoo. So, on one hand, we have to support these grassroots struggles, which might not be known internationally, but which are fighting back, because it is a matter of life and death. It is about livelihoods. It is about centuries of doing things of agriculture that they have practiced. At the same time, we have to challenge institutions such as the World Bank, that are once again coming forward with a paradigm, which is going to promote development, which we know is a completely false model and in fact will create these huge, big plantations with small-holder farmers who will become sharecroppers.