Previously: An Introduction to Land Grabs in Africa.
Before going further, it is important to recognize that land grabs are not only happening in Africa and, while there is a “global rush to lock up African farmland” by state-owned companies and private investors, different investors have different motives.  One group of investors are Arab investors, who have the appeal “that Islam has made significant inroads in Africa, creating cultural and religious links” in their land grabs. 
Within this group are Saudi investors, who began a push, thanks to the support of the royal Saudi government and its dictator King Abdullah II in 2008, to “acquire cropland abroad and grow food for export to the homeland.” 
Some of these land grabs include the acquisition of land in Ethiopia, in 2009, to grow rice and in Sudan to grow wheat, corn, and soybeans for export to Saudi Arabia.  For the land grab in Ethiopia, every day a group of 1,000 locals pick, pack, and load “hundreds of tons of fresh production onto waiting trucks. After reaching the capital, Addis Ababa, the product is flown to a handful of Middle Eastern cities, entirely bypassing Ethiopia, one of the hungriest places on the planet” as Nancy MacDonald describes it. 
The Saudis are not the only ones, as noted earlier, that engage in such land grabs in an effort to “produce food for the homeland” with countries which are “flush for cash but poor in arable land … rushing to secure vast amount of acreage in … underdeveloped nations” since the prospect of “food shortages has inspired a rush to protect their own countries” even if those in the supplying countries are not fed. 
Some of these countries include those which reside on the Persian Gulf, which may jump to 62 million people by 2050, who see land grabs as the only “sure way to guarantee adequate food supplies for the years ahead,” mainly with government backing.  Such areas where Persian Gulf states invest includes countries such as Ethiopia, where the Saudis own tens of thousands of acres, Brazil, where the Qataris are producing sugar, and Sudan, where the UAE owns 700,000 acres of farmland. 
Beyond such Persian Gulf states are Asian states such as China, India, and South Korea. Interestingly, South Korea was the first to experience concern worldwide about the phenomenon on land grabs, since Daewoo Logistics corporation, a South Korean corporation, was pushing to control about half of the arable land on Madagascar.  This crazed plan which was stopped by popular resentment which led to the resignation of Madagascar’s president and a new president canceling this deal shortly after taking office, declaring “Madagascar’s land is neither for sale nor for rent.” 
Despite this, other South Korean corporations have still looked for farmland abroad, with Korean companies gaining the right to develop 1.7 million acres of farmland in Sudan in 2008, and Hyundai, a South Korean corporation, planning to “buy to large parcels of farmland in Brazil.” 
Other countries have been concerned about the same factors as South Korea, such as “rapid population growth and the loss of domestic farmland,” countries which include China and India. 
For India, the so-called “Green Revolution in crop productivity … appears to be reaching its limits” while many seem to be following what Rana Kapoor says about land grabs:
“India may find it extremely difficult to depend on farm land within her boundaries for our future security needs … [To avoid a food shortage] it is thus imperative for policy makers of the country to seriously explore the option of transnational farmland opportunities.” 
India’s corporate and public leaders are following what Kapoor has to say. Examples include the state-owned Minerals and Metals Trading Corporation of India (MMTC) which is “buying land across sweeping stretches of Africa to grow legumes and vegetable oil” and the privately owned Karaturi Global of Bangalore, one of the top supplies of roses and cut flowers in the world, owning “770,000 acres to produce rice, palm oil, and sugarcane” in Ethiopia. 
China is following a similar root, even though its population is not growing at the rate of India’s, since it suffers from “a severe shortage of suitable farmland” because 2/3 of China is “arid grassland and desert,” with climate change worsening the situation.  As a result, it is no surprise that the Chinese government is calling for Chinese firms to engage in land grabs for arable farmland in foreign lands, starting in 2011, with the minister of agriculture saying that “the time is ripe for the country’s agricultural companies to embark on a ‘go outward strategy.’” 
Examples of this policy in action include a $7 billion plan to “grow soy in Brazil,” gaining huge tracts of land in Africa in deals that are very secretive, with available sources showing Chinese companies buying land in Mozambique, and in Zimbabwe, which has been “shunned by most Western governments” to farm 250,000 acres of corn.  Additionally, Chinese companies are also said to be active in countries such as Benin, Cameroon, Mali, Uganda and DRC, along with target countries outside Africa. 
Then there’s the Beidahuang Land Cultivation Group, which is largely responsible for feeding the inhabitants of China’s Heilongjiang province, which had said it wants to acquire another half a million acres of farmland in foreign lands to add to the 1.5 million acres it owns in China, all while it provides machinery and laborers in Venezuela and Zimbabwe, and had acquired land in Australia, by buying it, and in Brazil and Argentina, by renting it.  In Africa, such land grabs are even more possible today since two million Chinese live on the continent. 
Wealthy investors and land grabs in the former Soviet Union
There are foreign players beyond the governments of states in the Persian Gulf and East Asia. Such players include those “wealthy individuals and corporate investment funds [that] now regard arable land as a very lucrative asset” and they see a profit in the “forthcoming land shortages.” 
One conference in New York City’s lush Waldorf Astoria hotel, in 2011, which drew representatives from big firms such as Bank of America, Deustche Bank and Credit Suisse, was so packed “with hundreds of bankers, fund managers, speculators, and corporate executives that conference administrators had to warn the crowd not to block the fire exits.” 
There are numerous other conferences beyond this one in New York, all of which are about AgInvesting, in places such as Switzerland, Abu Dhabi and Singapore, while bankers and fund managers are speeding to “build up rural expertise in response to rocketing investor demand to buy entire farms as an inflation hedge,” with some of them sharing the views of advocates for buying farmland, many of whom believe that land grabs are “superior … to other resource investments.” 
This could lead to a problem, as consultant Paul Kantira points out, since shortage of tillable land may result in a peak as significant as peak oil: “The term ‘peak soil’ would soon become as common as ‘peak oil.’” 
Despite this, various banks and investment companies have still set up accounts to buy land across the world, including a subsidiary of Dow Chemical, Black River Asset Management, which had bout 125,000 acres of land in South America, and BlackRock, a major investment firm, creating an investment fund for farmland which has raised over $450 million dollars. Such moves are not surprising, because, as CEO Susan Payne points out, “anyone who controls large areas of farmland [has] the chance to accrue colossal profits” due to the significant food shortages expected by 2020. 
While such increased control would no doubt increase economic exploitation by monied investors of people in poorer parts of the world, it is clear that corporate forces and their friends see land grabs, whether through renting or buying land, as a great money maker in the future.
One of the supplying regions, beyond Africa, which was described in detail earlier, is the countries of the former Soviet Union (FSU). While they don’t garner as much attention as Africa, they are vital to the clash over land worldwide. Many of the lands in such FSU states have been “intensely used” but have since been abandoned, which has “provided an opening for foreign investors” who have changed the small plots of land into huge corporate farms thanks to “high-tech farming techniques … [and] the extraordinary fertility of the soil.” 
Some companies have taken large bets on this land, such as a British firm, Black Earth Farming, which controls 740,000 acres, an area bigger than Rhode Island, and a Swedish firm, Alpcot Agro, which controls 420,000 acres of Russian farmland.  Such investments are part of the 450 percent increase in foreign investment in Russian agriculture between 2005 and 2008 alone, which some say will grow even more. 
This isn’t all. FSU states in eastern Europe are also drawing major investors, with numerous investments in Ukraine including: Morgan Stanley controlling 100,000 acres in Ukraine, Landkom International controlling 182,000 acres of Ukrainian farmland, and AgroGeneration controlling 110,00 acres of farmland, which the companies wants to double.  Beyond Ukraine, foreign investors control about 12% of Romania’s arable farmland, the UAE is leased 250,000 acres in Ukraine in 2009 and pushing for buying land in Romania and Bulgaria while Qatar, in 2010, invested $100 million into Ukrainian agriculture, and investing in Moldova. 
In the FSU states, such land grabs are opposed in a way that has “been much more muted than in Africa,” but many people in Russia and Ukraine “resent the intrusion of foreign companies—especially Western corporations—into what they see as a core part of national identity,” with protests possible forestalled by Russian and Ukrainian governments introducing legislation in 2012 to bar “foreigners from buying land outright.” 
Land grabs and violence
With such land grabs and such a low level of opposition, some may say that maybe these land grabs aren’t really that bad after all. Some, such as “state-backed and private investors who acquire farmland” in foreign lands, have argued that the land grabs are a win-win scenario, which could help people through a specific region. 
However, some have been critical of this, by noting that large-scale land grabs representing “a significant disruption of traditional farming and herding communities …[which] risk[s] causing social displacement and unrest,” which is right on since foreign investors think that land they are buying is “uninhabited” when that is rarely true and the people who live on the land “often adhere to traditional belief systems that view the land as scared, and so perceive any attempt by foreigners to fence it off as a threat to their very identity.” 
Such views are reflected by one critic of land grabs ok’d by by the Ethiopian government who argued that “there is no empty land in Gambela with a history. They can’t sell that land. It’s not theirs. That land is ancestral land.” 
In other areas, bloodshed seems to be imminent, including in Kenya’s Tana River Delta, which was mentioned earlier, with Francis Kagema, of Nature Kenya, a conservation group, saying bluntly that when foreign investors come to “pick up their shares with their bits of paperwork … it will be war. The day is coming.” 
In other areas of the world, such as Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Sudan, Tanzania, and the Philippines, there have been clashes between “rural villagers and government agents,” all while violence increases as land grabs increased, since “more people are expelled to make room for foreign agricultural operations” in poor areas 
This violence follows the already existing conflicts over land ownership in the countryside between poor farmers and “distant … government bureaucracies,” since there is likely to be increased hostility when the owners of land are “foreigners who appear completely oblivious to the historic claims and customs of people they are displacing.” 
What can be done
Toward the end of his chapter on land grabs the global struggle for food, Michael Klare warns that there will be problems with increased land grabs in the future:
Although billions of people in the more affluent, climate blessed areas of the world are likely to have their nutritional requirements met in years ahead, billions more are destined to find themselves in countries too short of water or arable land to satisfy their basic needs. For anyone in this latter category [the climate-blessed areas], buying up farmland in more agriculturally favorable areas of the world may seem like an appealing option … [but this] is likely to prove ephemeral. As global climate continues to deteriorate and food becomes less abundant, it is doubtful that people in Ethiopia and elsewhere will allow the bounty of their fields to keep being shipped to other countries when their own children are starving. Exactly when and where this eruption will come cannot be foreseen, but it is hard to imagine that these pent-up pressures will remain dormant for long. 
There is no doubt that Klare makes a valid point. However, it also important to acknowledge that land grabs which benefit big state-owned or private mega-corporations no doubt hurt two groups of people, among others: small farmers and women. Even though “big farmers make headlines, small farmers still produce more of the food in Africa,” which means they will be hit the hardest by land grabs. 
Those small farmers that live outside Africa will also be hurting as well. As for women, since they grow much of the world’s food, including that which is done by hand and over half of that which is produced in Africa, they will also suffer.  This means that someone could follow the lead of ecofeminist philosopher Karen Warren, by highlighting the visibility of women in agricultural work and how that is affected by land grabs across the world.  Basically, one could argue that land grabs have a patriarchal side to them beyond or connected to the push for profit.
Moving beyond who would be negatively affected by land grabs, it is important to examine what could be done. Journalist Joel K. Bourne has the magical belief that the key is simple: leveraging investment in agriculture that benefits everyone, ensures that land rights are secure, markets are thriving and that productivity is increasing. 
However, I’d say this is not only naive, but is an approach that will not benefit those people whose land is being stolen via the method of land grabs. It is clear that foreign investors, corporations and governments are following the path of biotech corporations which are already “engaged in a quest to appropriate…ancient knowledge and wisdom of indigenous people.” 
However, in the case of land grabs, there is no appropriation of indigenous knowledge, rather there is the ignorance of it, with the buying or renting of land constituting what Indian economist Amartya Sen once called the “override view,” which is the view that “the family’s personal decisions are overridden by some agency outside the family, typically by the government of the country in question … [through an] explicit [or a non-explicit] use of legal coercion or economic compulsion … [since] override can take many different forms and can be of varying intensity.”
While this view is implemented, the land grabs themselves may add to the vulnerability of land since humans in certain areas already “make land more drought-prone and flood-prone … by removing the soil systems that absorb and store water.” 
There is much that can be done to stop land grabs. Perhaps its best to follow the lead of Derrick Jensen who wrote in the July/August 2009 edition of Orion magazine, an article focusing on the dangers of super-focusing on individual consumption, who said that citizens have a wide range of “available resistance tactics” which include “voting, not voting, running for office, pamphleting, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting” and the right to “alter or abolish” government, at least if you are following the Declaration of Independence. Maybe you could even engage in a creative action like the Church of Stop Shopping which has highlighted this very issue in the past.
Land grabs are destructive, but whether they are stopped is up to our actions and words, nothing more.
 Ibid, 183-4.
 Ibid, 184.
 Ibid, 185.
 Ibid, 185-6.
 Ibid, 187.
 Ibid, 187-8.
 Ibid, 190.
 Ibid, 191.
 Ibid, 191-2.
 Ibid, 192.
 Ibid, 192-3.
 Ibid, 193.
 Bourne Jr., 65.
 Klare, 193-4.
 Ibid, 194.
 Ibid, 194-5.
 Ibid, 195.
 Ibid, 201-2.
 Ibid, 202.
 Ibid, 202-3.
 Ibid, 203.
 Ibid, 203-4.
 Ibid, 204-5.
 Ibid, 205-6.
 Ibid, 206.
 Ibid, 206-7.
 Ibid, 207
 Ibid, 207-8.
 Bourne, Jr., 72.
 Warren, Karen J. 2000. Ecofeminist Philosophy: A Western Perspective on What It Is and Why It Matters. 9. New York: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. While the numbers are a bit outdated, Warren makes a valid point about women’s contribution to global agriculture and farming.
 Ibid, 10. Warren writes that “a failure to realize the extent of women’s contribution to agriculture…has contributed historically to the invisibility of women in all aspects of agricultural work: in ploughing, planting, caring for farm animals, harvesting, weeding, processing, and the storing of crops. It has also contributed to a failure to see ways in which women and their families have been deeply affected by development decisions and projects that have depleted the resource bases on which their productive activities depend…[additionally] women historically have often had little input into those decisions and projects.”
 Bourne Jr., 70.
 Sardar, Ziauddin & Davies, Merryl Wyn. 2002. Why Do People Hate America? 83. New York: Disinformation.
 Warren, 8.
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