Biofuel targets-key driver for land grab. - Oxfam
Land grab in the developing countries has been quite high in the past ten years and the acquired land could have produced enough food to feed a billion people, equal to the number of people who go hungry in the world, says international aid agency Oxfam in a new report.
The agency warns in its report titled Our Land, Our Lives that over 60 per cent of investments in agricultural land by foreign investors between 2000 and 2010 were in developing countries with serious hunger problems.
"But the sad fact is that very few, if any, of these land investments benefit local people or help to fight hunger. Two-thirds of agricultural land deals by foreign investors are in countries with a serious hunger problem," says the report.
Oxfam attributes the unprecedented rush in the land grab to biofuel manufacturers and international investors. It says already an area of land the size of London is being sold to foreign investors every six days in poor countries.
"Addressing the rush for land is key to tackling global hunger and must be at the heart of the debate when the UK government presides over the G8 next year. The UK should also show leadership in reversing flawed biofuels targets which are a main driver for land and are diverting food into fuel," said Oxfam's Chief Executive Barbara Stocking.
"Investment should be good news for developing countries - not lead to greater poverty, hunger and hardship."
Oxfam has called for a six-month freeze on land investments and urged the World Bank to "act now to freeze temporarily its agricultural investments in land so it can review its advice to developing countries, help set standards for investors and introduce more robust policies to help stop land grabs".
Oxfam has urged the UK to use its influence in the World Bank to implement the freeze.
It said the UK "can play a crucial role as president of the G8 next year by putting food and hunger at the heart of the agenda, and addressing land grabs as part of this. Critically, it can also press the EU to reverse biofuels targets - a key driver of land grabs".
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