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World Bank report on land grabbing: Beyond the smoke and mirrors

October 13, 2010 • Daily Email Recap

GRAIN | 15 September 2010

Against the grain

Last week, on 7 September 2010, the World Bank finally decided to publish its much anticipated report on the global farmland grab. After years of work, several months of political negotiation and who knows how much money spent, the report was casually released on the Bank’s website – in English only.(1)

The report is both a disappointment and a failure. Everyone was expecting the Bank to provide new and solid on-the-ground data about these “large scale land acquisitions”, to use their terminology, that have created so much controversy since 2008. After all, the Bank should have access to governments and corporations in a way that journalists and non government organisation (NGO) researchers never would. The Bank itself says this was its central ambition. But there is hardly anything new in the whole 160-plus page document. The Bank said it was going to look concretely at 30 countries, but it only looked at 14. As it turns out, companies refused to share information about their farmland investments, as did governments providing the lands. So the Bank turned instead to farmlandgrab.org , a website run by GRAIN, made a database of all the deals that the media reported on there, and then sent out teams of consultants to see if they were real or not.(2) Is this the best that the World Bank could do?

For full article, visit:
http://farmlandgrab.org/15542


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