The Truth about Land Grab

“Next month, through a move by the Japanese government, which has a direct stake in locking down its own outsourced food supply, the Group of Eight most powerful countries are going to release a set of criteria to make these deals look “win-win”. The words will be smooth, but people won’t be fooled.” Grain


According to Grain, Madagascar is the only country who has not accepted land rent policy after a vast protestation from the population which ultimately cost the seat of the former president Ravalomanana. But the question is how long can Malagasy people can preserve their land from rapacious countries when the global trend is to grab farmlands as a strategy to secure basic food supply? The point is that these countries have no choice than to follow this way in order to survive, the Daewoo spokesman made it clear when he said that foodstuffs will become a big deal soon and South Corea have to be prepared. Unfortunately for them, they messed with the wrong country. Varun(an Indian company) for instance has immediately revised his contract after a passive outcry from private land owners when the cirisis was still raging; the latter protested that the contracts were in English and they don’t fully understand the contents. Fearing another mass protestation Varun seems to try to play the win-win game to shun the limelight. So why this rush to snatch the land of poor countries (poor here means low GDP according to WorldBank/IMF standard but very rich in natural ressources and fertile land) .

By the year 2000, Westerners have achieved the point of non return in industrial intensive farming and now subjugate the whole world to fulfill their needs . During the last 60 years, the lands -mainly located in South America — , were subjected to rather unorthodox methods in order to get high rate of yield. They have used a plethora of fertilizers and insecticide to achieve their expected yield rate against the warning of their own scientists about the possible consequences of fertlizers’overuse. Not the least is the GMO crops (France imports more than 60% of its food supply, the law forbid GMO cultivation but allow importation), proved to destroy slowly the soil. For instance, 2/3 of the humus in the USA has already disappeared by chemical floods. In 1948, they used 7500 tons of insecticide to only spare 7% of the crop. In 1988, 40 years later, the insects still eat the double despite the increase of insecticides to tenfold. The lands used by major agro-industry firms are useless now because the humus became like “tile”, the processus is irreversible. Above all, these companies got the 80% of the land in South America; in Brazil, less than 1% of big owners have the 46% of the land while 89% of the small-scale proprety owners have only 18% what’s left is used to grow biofuel plants using the same methods. As these lands became useless, sure that they will try to find elsewhere.

Recent figures have shown to be more alarming that a food crisis is expected soon. But to announce a food crisis in Madagascar is a bit foolish when we take a look to the fertile lands avalaible here, Madagascar has a capacity to feed 5 time of its own population, how can a food crisis possible ? The truth is that they prepare us psychologically to a possible food shortage while they grab the land, so you may not ask question when there is nothing to eat though they still continue their eatings habits. While you may die from starvation, they will die from high blood pressure caused by obesity; in western countries only 22% of cereal production is used in human food, the rest is in cattle feed (don’t forget growth hormons) used in Mac Donald and fast food industries (75% of their diet is from industrial process using 16.5% of energy). The quantity of cereals they use in livestock farming can feed the whole population of the globe. Only 1 hectare provides 7 800 000 calories with bread, 3 millions with milk but only 121 576 with meat. In terms of protein, it corresponds respectively to 255, 153 and 13 grammes. So let’s sum up: 80% of arable land are held by agro-industry companies, they grow GMO crop while using tons of fertilizers, the harvests are mainly for cattle (hamburger) and biofuel, they will extend land grabing to the South and Madagascar and in the end everybody has only their shit to digest.

Source: Wikipedia, VARUN Contract farming text,

Further information:

– URL:

– Email: info at

– In October 2008, GRAIN published “Seized: The 2008 land grab for food and financial security”, one of the first overall analyses of this new trend. It is available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Bahasa Indonesia.

– GRAIN also maintains a landgrab resource page bringing together GRAIN materials, other organisations working on the issues, and relevant actions & events. There are also a number of land grab maps from various sources.


GRAIN is a small international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems.


~ by tolotra on June 18, 2009.

One Response to “The Truth about Land Grab”

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