Saturday, March 30, 2019

“No Land, No Life!”

Millions of small-scale farmers and food producers including indigenous communities in poor countries have limited access to land and resources because the land is monopolised and controlled by landlords and big corporations. It is ironic that those who suffer severe hunger are those who directly produce food. We face today a world of increasing repression of rural communities and worsening threats to their rights to land and resources. We witness how landless peasants, farmers, farm workers, indigenous people, fishers, rural women and youth, and other marginalized rural sectors greatly suffer under authoritarian populist regimes. We see how massive infrastructure projects and agricultural “development” programs, many funded through onerous foreign debt and investments, displace rural peoples from their lands, livelihoods and cultures – all in the name of capitalist domination and plunder, local elite rule and private profits. Global powers – now counting emergent China – and their corporations continue to intensify their endless pursuit of and competition for control and exploitation of the world’s natural resources, including lands and all the wealth these hold and can produce. All this feeds the unabated concentration of land in the hands of a few at the expense of the vast majority who actually till and enrich the lands for generations.

Land grabbing and resource grabbing are strife. Land and resource grabbing is inherent in capitalism. Foreign businesses are buying or leasing agricultural land in developing countries for industrial food and biofuel production. Local elites in business and politics play a central role in facilitating these deals. Land and resource grabbers remain determined to take away what rightfully belong to the people. Without land to till or agriculture to depend on, people have no food or income for their families. Latest available estimates show that of the 570 million farms worldwide, 475 million are small holder farms (i.e. less than two hectares). While comprising more than 83% of the total number of farms, these small holder farms only operate about 12% of the world’s agricultural land. While small farms are concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia and could produce almost three-fourths of food commodities globally, these same regions account for 95% of the rural poor. Overall, eight out of every 10 of the world’s poorest live the rural areas, based on latest estimates.


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