Investors must stop land grabbing

Ahead of a global farmland investment conference opening today in London, civil society organisations have called on major agricultural investors to stop facilitating the practice of land grabbing.

In a joint press release, Friends of the Earth Europe, together with Anywaa Survival Organisation, GRAIN and Re: Common, urge the banks and pension funds attending the conference to ensure they do not invest in projects which threaten the food sovereignty of the local population. “Communities around the world are struggling to deal with the increasing land grabs.

Many small-scale land holders have lost their sole source of income and the consequences for the environment are often disastrous. Yet, investors are gearing up to accelerate the grab of the world’s most fertile farmlands”, said Anne van Schaik, Accountable Finance Campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe. At the Global AgInvesting Europe 2012 conference, taking place from 3 – 5 December, financial investors and pension funds will gather to explore investment opportunities in agriculture in Africa, Latin America and Russia. The event, attended and sponsored by agribusiness giants such as Bunge and Monsanto, brings together funds with more than USD3 trillion in assets.

Earlier this year, Friends of the Earth Europe published the report ‘Farming Money’, which investigated the agricultural investment activities of 29 European banks and pension funds, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Allianz: It revealed their contribution to food speculation, as well as the direct or indirect financing of land grabs. Due to ongoing critique, some banks have recently removed agricultural products from their portfolios and committed to refraining from speculating on basic food prices.