Today in things that should be obvious but aren’t: the best way to feed hungry people is not, as previously supposed, to turn all agricultural land over to investors for ‘development’. It’s to let them keep their farms.

The real concern behind the development of large‐scale investments in farmland is rather that giving land away to investors having better access to capital to ‘develop’ it implies huge opportunity costs, as it will result in a type of farming that will have much less powerful poverty‐reducing impacts than if access to land and water were improved for the local farming communities: there is a clear tension between ceding land to investors for the creation of large plantations, and the objective of redistributing land and ensuring more equitable access to land, something governments have repeatedly committed to.

Hunger is not the result of there being too little food produced; it is the result of massive rural and urban poverty, the latter often the result of former as slums around large cities have grown, following rural migration, because small‐scale farming was not a viable option for many. Accelerating the shift towards large‐scale, highly mechanized forms of agriculture will not solve the problem: it will make it worse.

What we need now is… a vision that goes beyond… providing policymakers with a check list of how to destroy global peasantry…

— Heavily exerpted, from How not to think about land grabbing by Olivier De Shutter

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