The wealthiest 10 per cent of rural populations control 60 per cent of the value of agricultural land, while the poorest half only have 3 per cent, according to the data that did not include corporate ownership.
"Growing inequality is the greatest obstacle to poverty eradication - in countries like Guatemala, extreme inequality costs lives," Ana Maria Mendez, Oxfam's Guatemala director, said in a statement. "As we confront the coronavirus pandemic and catastrophic hurricanes fuelled by climate change, the impact of land inequality is even more stark," she added. The widening gap in ownership and access to land especially hurts small and marginal farmers, women, and indigenous and rural communities, according to a report by the International Land Coalition (ILC) and anti-poverty charity Oxfam.
While rural and indigenous communities are being squeezed into smaller parcels of land or uprooted entirely, land is increasingly concentrated in fewer hands, mainly those of large agriculture businesses and investors, the research showed.
"As corporate and financial investments grow, ownership and control of land becomes more concentrated and increasingly opaque," said Ward Anseeuw, an analyst at ILC and co-author of the report.