(Mis)investment in Agriculture

The Role of the International Finance Corporation In Global Land Grab – Linked with Oakland Institute.

Published on The Oakland Institute, 59 pdf pages, by Shepard Daniel with Anuradha Mittal, Foreword by Howard G. Buffett, Copyright © 2010 by the Oakland Institute.

… Introduction:

The global land grab, to a great extent, has been spurred by the events surrounding the Food and Financial Crises of 2008. In response to the crises, many developing countries looking to regain their economic footing increased their openness to foreign direct investment (FD I) in emerging markets—particularly in agribusiness and tourism. 

As part of this trend, fertile land is being offered to investors, often at giveaway prices, and especially in Africa. These and other factors have ignited a global rush for the world’s farmland by investors in what has become known as the global “land grab” phenomenon.

The World Bank Group (WB G), commonly referred to as the World Bank, took a lead role on the international stage following the food and financial crises with the formation of programs such as the Global Food Crisis Response Program (GFRP) in May 2008—part of what World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick called the “New Deal on Global Food Policy.” In FY 09, World Bank loans, grants, equity investments, and guarantees saw an unprecedented 54% increase over FY 08 as WB G assisted countries struggling in the wake of the financial downtown. Furthermore, the World Bank is the central organizer in a multilateral Agriculture and Food Security Initiative, with the G20 asking the World Bank in October 2009 to work with interested donors and organizations to establish a special multilateral trust fund to support a multibillion-dollar food security initiative.

Yet, despite its central role in what was intended to be a massive overhaul in international food policy and a vast improvement to food security in the developing world, evidence reveals that World Bank Group policies and efforts are doing just the opposite. For example, despite international commitments in favor of small farmers, many reports indicate that programs supporting food production have targeted farmers recognized as better off and more productive rather than marginal farmers and non-farming rural populations, such as small holders and pastoralists. In Ethiopia, which is the largest recipient of World Bank’s GFRP program, the use of imported fertilizers has been concentrated in only the “productive” areas …  //

…(full long 59 pdf-pages text).

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