Monday, April 28, 2014
Karen Coates, a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, has a short piece at Slate on how a combination of informal land rights and the global rush for agricultural land is seperating Cambodian peasants from their traditional farming areas:
Land disputes frequently exacerbate the problem, yet land rights rarely enter the global conversation about the future of food. These days it seems every major think tank and analyst has answers to the “9 billion people problem,” involving five-step plans and solutions-oriented conferences aimed at feeding the world. Many experts agree: The world will need to ramp up food production by 70 percent in future years.
There’s a big push for “big ag” in the developing world. But shifts toward mechanized agriculture with amped-up production “will not solve the problem: it will make it worse,” writes Olivier De Schutter, the U.N. specialist on the right to food. Large-scale investments in farmland do less to reduce poverty “than if access to land and water were improved for the local farming communities.”