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‘Green grab’ of land leading to increased land inequality in India, says report

land inequality

NEW DELHI, MAY 14: A new report of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food) shows that land inequality and land degradation has increased in India. According to the report, 10% of India’s population own 45% of farmland while average farm size remain lowest in the world. Besides, the report also underlines that India’s 70% of arable land is undergoing one or more forms of land degradation.
The report titled “Land Squeeze: What is Driving Land Inequality”, states that there is a rapid change in land distribution, farm sizes and an increasing trend of land grabs in Asia and Africa. Bigger farms are burgeoning in these regions through grabbing the lands of smallholders through ‘green grabbing’.
According to the report, in Asia, overall land inequality has risen by 11% since 1980. Today, the top 10% of land owners in China account for 50% of land (in value terms), while some 50% account for only 11% of the land value; Similarly, in India the top 10% own 45% of farmland. Globally 1% of the world’s largest farms now control 70% of the world’s farmland.
The report also points out that India is a hotspot for land degradation in Asia as its lands face increasing threats of desertification leading to biodiversity loss and groundwater depletion, with detrimental impacts for agricultural productivity and for the lives and livelihoods of pastoralists and other communities.
The report, released today highlights the fact that financial institutions fund projects that convert large forests to cropland so as to concentrate the ownership within a few people. It exposes land grabs in various forms that have led to increasing land prices. These land grabs have been taking place in regions of high biodiversity.
The report reveals that land grabs in various forms have led to doubling land prices globally since 2008, and tripling in Central Europe, placing unprecedented strain on farmers and rural communities.
It also states that Land around twice the size of Germany has been snatched up in transnational deals worldwide since 2000, with 87% of land grabs occurring in regions of high biodiversity.
The report also highlights how ‘green grabbing’ of land has been on the rise due to globally devised green credit marketing mechanisms.
The report reveals pressures are exploding, including for carbon and biodiversity offsetting and clean fuel schemes, leading to huge swathes of farmland being purchased by Governments, corporations and investors, threatening food production.
This global trend of land grabs and green grabs is particularly affecting sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America.
Important take-aways:
1. India’s top 10% own 45% of farm land and 70% of total land is degraded.
2. Globally 1% of the world’s largest farms now control 70% of the world’s farmland.
3. More than half of land grabs are intended for water-intensive crop production, and 87% of land grabs occur in regions of high biodiversity.
4. Carbon offset markets i.e. ‘Green grabs’ now account for 20% of large-scale land deals. It is expected to quadruple in the next 7 years.
5. Over half of Government carbon removal pledges on land risk interfering with small-scale farmers & Indigenous Peoples.
(Courtesy: TNIE)