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If there is a phenomenon – economic, cultural and social – of enormous importance, which the pandemic has not managed to curb in the least, it is that of “Land Grabbing”, ie the purchase or lease of land, mostly arable, to be part of states and multinationals, which every year steal millions of hectares of land from agriculture and local communities, allocating them to the most disparate economic activities, including intensive monocultures that have very little to do with sustainability. With very strong repercussions in terms of conflicts, expulsions, migrations, environmental impoverishment and disappearance of biodiversity, and on the struggles of farmers and indigenous peoples, as underlined by the annual report “The owners of the Earth”, signed by Focsiv – Federation of Organisms International Volunteer Service Christians the largest Italian federation of Christian organizations of international cooperation and voluntary service, which works to “promote the development of all people and of the entire human person”, both in the North and in the South of the world.
In 2020, according to the data taken from LandMatrix, an international database of free access, and from reports from civil society and researchers, the number of contracts concluded reached 2,384 for a total area of ​​93.2 million hectares, equal to Germany and France combined.
Of these, 31.099 million hectares are in South America, 30.454 million hectares in Africa, 9 million hectares in Asia, 19.46 million hectares in Eastern Europe and 3.424 million hectares in Oceania. Lands that, for just under a quarter of the surfaces, will be dedicated to mines (over 25 million hectares), then to the exploitation of forests (18 million hectares), plantations (less than 8 million hectares), food crops (6 million hectares) and biofuels (more than 3 million hectares).
At the top of the list of countries that have bought the most land, China (14 million hectares), followed by Canada (11 million hectares), United States (10 million hectares)
, Great Britain (9 million hectares), Switzerland (8 million hectares), Singapore (5 million hectares), Spain (4 million hectares), Belgium (4 million hectares), Japan (4 million hectares) and India (2 million hectares). The most “looted” country in 2020 was small Peru, with 16 million hectares of land sold to foreign countries and multinationals, then Russia (15 million hectares), Democratic Republic of Congo (9 million hectares), Brazil (5 million hectares), Indonesia (4 million hectares), Ukraine (3.5 million hectares), Papua New Guinea (3.5 million hectares), Mozambique (2 million hectares), South Sudan (2 million hectares) and Liberia (1.5 million hectares).
The effects, the report reads, are devastating, because the extractive sectors bring CO2 emissions and therefore climate crisis, but also degradation and reduction of the availability of fertile lands, which generates competition on increasingly scarce resources, increase in inequalities and social crises. , and again the reduction of biodiversity and the biological and health crisis, the expulsion of small farming communities and the food crisis.
According to the International Land Coalition, the richest 10% of the rural population in all countries involved in the study own 60% of the value of agricultural land, while the poorest 50% of the rural population, which is generally more dependent on agriculture. , it has only 3% of the value of the land. Inequalities are therefore growing
, and in inequalities girls and women – who make up 43% of the global agricultural workforce, while accounting for only 15% of owners – are the most discriminated against. Meanwhile, experiences of struggle around the world are multiplying, from the resistance of the Amazon to the Bolsonaro government and the agreement between the EU and Mercosur to the success of the indigenous struggles in Ecuador, from the African Peoples’ Tribunal against hoarding cases in 10 countries of the continent, including Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast in the class action against the multinationals for the trade of cobalt from the Congo.
Important signs, but what is missing, as the Focsiv “Masters of the Earth” report concludes, it is a framework of actions within which to move globally, which must first of all envisage the regulation of companies, with the obligation of due diligence by national laws to the EU directive; independent mechanisms for access to justice and against retaliation through development banks; orienting towards ethical finance with more investments in agroecology rather than agro-business. To date, however, only 2.7% of EU funds that pass through UN agencies provide for a minimum transition towards agroecology, and in a context of reduction in development aid, Italy’s contribution in 2019 has dropped to 0.22% of gross national income (latest OECD figure), equal to 3.9 billion euros.


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Marco Ribaudo

Marco Ribaudo

For the love of food and wine! Marco Ribaudo, Certified Sommelier, with 25 years in the food and beverage industry now invites you to join him in his latest adventure, the opening of la Cucina del Vino to share his culture and passion for creating unforgettable memories around the table.

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