Land grabs and fragile food systems: the role of globalization

“Land grabs” is a term coined by the media to describe large-scale purchases or leases of agricultural or forest land on terms that do not serve those already living on the land. This paper is specifically focused on two forces that we argue have contributed significantly to the problem: First, globalization - more specifically, the deregulation of trade and foreign investment laws, which has greatly eased cross-border capital flows, relaxed the limits on foreign land ownership, and opened markets to agricultural imports. And second, the failures of the international trading system during the food price crisis of 2007-08, which eroded the confidence of food import-dependent countries in international markets as a reliable source of food and fed both speculative investment and investment in actual food production.

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