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New LANDac Publication: The Global Land Grab – Beyond the hype

The last two years have seen a huge amount of academic, policy-making and media interest in the increasingly contentious issue of land grabbing – the large-scale acquisition of land in the global South. It is a phenomenon against which locals seem defenceless, and one about which multilateral organizations, such as the World Bank, as well as civil-society organizations and action NGOs have become increasingly vocal.

This in-depth and empirically diverse volume – taking in case studies from across Africa, Asia and Latin America – takes a step back from the hype to explore a number of key questions: Does the ‘global land grab’ actually exist? If so, what is new about it? And what, beyond the immediately visible dynamics and practices, are the real problems?

Annelies Zoomers, chair of LANDac and Mayke Kaag, partner in the LANDac consortium have edited this comprehensive volume which builds on a range of LANDac research and related research projects. Including contributions from current and completed LANDac PhDs Lucia Goldfarb, Femke van Noorloos, George Schoneveld and Maru Shete who draw from their research in Argentina, Costa Rica and Ethiopia.

More information can be accessed via Zed Books.

‘When the dust settles, and the sensationalists and opportunists have moved on, we will still have to grasp the nature, the dimensions and the consequences of ‘land grabbing’. This collection provides a serious analytical contribution to our understanding of a phenomenon, which might seem to peak at the present, but which is deeply rooted in the past and will need steadfast scholarly and political attention in the future.’ – Professor Christian Lund, University of Copenhagen

‘This is an excellent, original collection, on the global land grabbing phenomenon. It covers Africa, Latin America and Asia and a number of interesting themes including urban land grabbing in Kenya, GM soy cultivation in Argentina, residential tourism in Costa Rica, water grabbing in Peru and Ecuador, new land conversions in Vietnam, and the Gulf States’ investments in Indonesia and the Philippines.’ – Robin Palmer, Global Land Rights Policy Specialist, Mokoro

‘The increase of international trade and investment over the past three decades was justified by the hope it would help to achieve efficiency gains, maximizing the comparative advantage of each region. But it also results in sharpening the competition for the land and water on which agricultural production relies. As the competition has become global, it also has grown deeply unequal, pitting poor communities of the global South against deep-pocketed investors and wealthy consumers. This collection of essays provides a uniquely well informed and comprehensive analysis of ‘land grabbing’, describing developments across three continents and illustrating the variety of forms it has taken: it shall be of interest to anyone interested in the future of globalization and its impacts on the poor who rely on access to land for their livelihood.’ – Professor Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food

‘The Global Land Grab represents an important break from the earlier wave of land grabs studies in at least three interlinked ways: it looks beyond the ‘here and now land deals’ by historicizing analysis to facilitate better understanding of longer term implications of the phenomenon; it contains grounded local-national studies; and it offers a comparative perspective across regions of the world. Academic researchers, activists, and development-policy practitioners who are interested in understanding global land grabbing, its origins, meanings and implications should read this book.’ – Dr. Saturnino M. Borras Jr., International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), The Hague

Table of Contents
Introduction: the global land grab hype – and why it is important to move beyond – Mayke Kaag and Annelies Zoomers

1. Modernizing the periphery: citizenship and Ethiopia’s new agricultural investment policies – George Schoneveld and Maru Shete
2. Large-scale land acquisitions in Tanzania: a critical analysis of practices and dynamics – Jumanne Abdallah, Linda Engström, Kjell Havnevik and Lennart Salomonsson
3. Kenya and the ‘global land grab: a view from below – Jacqueline M. Klopp and Odenda Lumumba

Latin America
4. The rapid expansion of genetically modified soy production into the Chaco region of Argentina – Lucia Goldfarb and Annelies Zoomers
5. Transnational land investment in Costa Rica: tracing residential tourism and its implications for development – Femke van Noorloos
6. Water grabbing in the Andean region: illustrative cases from Peru and Ecuador – Rutgerd Boelens, Antonio Gaybor and Jan Hendriks

7. Land governance and oil palm development: examples from Riau Province, Indonesia – Ari Susanti and Suseno Budidarsono
8. Vietnam in the debate on land grabbing: conversion of agricultural land for urban expansion and hydropower development – Pham Huu Ty, Nguyen Quang Phuc and Guus van Westen
9. ‘Land grabbing’ in Cambodia: land rights in a post-conflict setting – Michelle McLinden Nuijen, Men Prachvuthy and Guus van Westen
10. Beyond the Gulf State investment hype: the case of Indonesia and the Philippines – Gerben Nooteboom and Laurens Bakker
11. Tracing the dragon’s footsteps: a deconstruction of the discourse on China’s foreign land investments – Peter Ho and Irna Hofman

12. Conclusion: beyond the global land grab hype – ways forward in research and action – Annelies Zoomers and Mayke Kaag

About the Authors:
Mayke Kaag is a social anthropologist and a senior researcher at the African Studies Centre in Leiden, the Netherlands. Her research focuses mainly on African transnational relations, including land issues, engagements with the diaspora, and transnational Islamic NGOs, on which topics she has published widely. Within the African Studies Centre she is the convenor of a collaborative research group on Africa in the World: Rethinking Africa’s Global Connections.

Annelies Zoomers is professor of international development studies (IDS) at Utrecht University and chair of LANDac. After finishing her PhD in 1988, she worked for the Netherlands Economic Institute (Rotterdam) and the Royal Tropical Institute (Amsterdam) on long- and short-term consulting assignments for various organizations (e.g. the World Bank, IFAD, ILO, EU, DGIS) in various countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Between 1995 and 2007 she was associate professor at the Centre for Latin American Research and Documentation (Amsterdam) and was professor of international migration at the Radboud University (Nijmegen) between 2005 and 2009. She has published extensively on sustainable livelihoods; land policies and the impact of privatization; tourism; and international migration.