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Land grab or development opportunity' Agricultural investment and international land deals in Africa

This report presents the main trends and determinants of land grab, the contractual arrangements that support it, the terms and conditions of land acquisition, and implications in terms of access to land for local communities. The document is focused on large-scale land acquisitions (more than 1,000 ha) located in Sub- Saharan Africa.

The document finds a increase in agricultural activity in those areas, in the amount of large-scale deals and the presence of foreign investors (mostly from the private sector). This increased interest of investors can be explained by food security issues, biofuel production needs, a search for increased agricultural investment rates of return. Those deals may pose risks that should be minimised, and present opportunities that should be maximised.

The report generally finds that there is a significant gap between law and practice, a lack of transparence and that constracts are too simplistic. The report makes recommendations for policymakers, foreign investors, rural organisations, and international organisations. They particularly involve adopting a new business model, establishing fair and transparent contracts, creating and strengthening property rights, increasing transparence for civil society, etc.

IIED, FAO, IFAD - 2009

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24 January 2013

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