Land Sold Off Over the Past 10 Years Could Feed One Billion People

Modern society's land rush is causing hunger in poorer countries, Oxfam warns

By on October 4th, 2012 14:19 GMT

According to a new report from Oxfam, the World Bank must immediately quit financing developing projects having to do with buying or selling agricultural lands, otherwise the food crisis already ongoing in various developing countries will only get worse as the years go by.

Having investigated what happened to agricultural lands worldwide over the past 10 years, Oxfam can now emphasize the fact that the regions simply sold off throughout the past decade could have instead been used to grow sufficient food so as to provide for the needs of as many as one billion people.

To make matters even worse, Oxfam explains that roughly 60% of the money spent in order to purchase agricultural lands in various parts of the world targeted already vulnerable countries, which were struggling with hunger as it was.

As well as this, 50% of the lands that came to be owned by various people and companies in such countries were eventually used to grow crops intended to support the development of the biofuel industry.

Commenting on the findings of this report, Jeremy Hobbs, the executive director for Oxfam International, made a case of how, “The world is facing an unbridled land rush that is exposing poor people to hunger, violence and the threat of a life-time in poverty.”

Furthermore, “The World Bank is in a unique position to stop this from becoming one of the great scandals of the 21st century. (…) Investments should be good news for developing countries – but it is important that it is truly beneficial and does not harm people or consign them to greater poverty, hunger and hardship.”

In the aftermath of this report, several internationally acclaimed authors and actors have agreed to offer their support to Oxfam's cause and now ask the World Bank to put an end to this practice of “grabbing” lands in developing countries.

Just for the record, the lands sold off throughout the past ten years amount to eight times the size of the UK, so it need not come as a surprise that both the aforementioned organizations and the people supporting it saw fit to draw the general public's attention to this issue.

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