Investing in land: a commentary on the World Bank report

Sep 16 Posted by Administrator in FAC News 0
There is something for everyone in the long-awaited World Bank report, Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits? In some sections there is a damning critique, in others a positive spin, with a narrative offering a bright future. Not surprising then that the press has picked up different angles in the few days since its release. The Financial Times, for example, headlines with “World Bank backs farmland investment”, while Bloomberg reports the World Bank as saying, “Large Land Deals Threaten Farmers”. Both are equally valid interpretations of an often ambiguous report. The bottom-line, take-home message seems to be that external investment in land is a good thing in some places, especially those where there are “large tracts of suitable land, but also a large proportion of smallholders with very low productivity”, but that governance measures, based on a set of high-sounding principles, are required to make this happen equitably and sustainably. But what does this mean? How should we interpret this report?

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