Editor: Rana Qaisar   
Founding Editor: Shafqat Munir   

Land for Food, Not for Profit – FIAN and Civil Society Call for Mobilization  

17 April 2013 09:37:30 nm

Land for Food, Not for Profit – FIAN and Civil Society Call for Mobilization

On this International Day of Peasants’ Struggles, FIAN International, together with social movements and other civil society organizations call for mobilization to reclaim our food system, which is increasingly being taken over by global capital, in the form of land grabs.  

Every day communities all over the world lose access to their lands and face food, livelihood and physical insecurity as a result of corporate greed. The Transnational Institute (TNI) together with the European Coordination Via Campesina (ECVC) and the Hands-off the Land Alliance (HotL), including FIAN International and others, released a report today entitled “Land concentration, land grabbing and people’s struggles in Europe,” which reveals the hidden truth about land concentration in Europe: that half of all European farmland is controlled by just 3% of landowners.

This massive concentration of land ownership and wealth demonstrates that the issues of land grabbing and access to land are as critical in Europe as they are in the global South. The report cites public policies, such as the subsidies given to large land holders under the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), as a contributing factor to the crisis. While land grabbing and land concentration practices are not new to Europe, they have accelerated in recent decades, particularly in Eastern Europe. Many land deals feature European companies, as well as investors from China and the Middle East, looking for profit from the increasingly speculative practice of buying and selling land, or the “commodification” of land.

“There has been increasing and overwhelming evidence in recent years on the negative impacts of large land deals on local communities, environments, and related human rights violations. As a result, several governments and international institutions have expressed concern over these deals, stressing the importance of regulation. However, land and resource grabbing continues unabated,” said Philip Seufert, FIAN’s program coordinator for Access to Natural Resources.

In solidarity with struggles for the right to land worldwide, FIAN, ECVC and the HotL Alliance demand that land once again be seen as a public good. Priority should be given to the use of land for smallholder and peasant agriculture and food production, rather than to private or commercial interests.

FIAN calls upon the public to denounce the practices which aid and abet land grabbing and demand that governments promote policies that guarantee access to resources for smallholders, such as implementing the Tenure Guidelines adopted by the Committee on World Food Security, thus ensuring food sovereignty and the right to adequate food.