News, Analysis and research on Land Reform and Agrarian Change around the world
When Cuba faced the shock of lost trade relations with the Soviet Bloc in the early 1990s, food production initially collapsed due to the loss of imported fertilizers, pesticides, tractors, parts, and petroleum. The situation was so bad that Cuba posted the worst growth in per capita food production in all of Latin America and the Caribbean. But the island rapidly re-oriented its agriculture to depend less on imported synthetic chemical inputs, and became a world-class case of ecological agriculture.1 This was such a successful turnaround that Cuba rebounded to show the best food production performance in Latin America and the Caribbean over the following period, a remark- able annual growth rate of 4.2 percent per capita from 1996 through 2005, a period in which the regional average was 0 percent.
On World Food Day, it is estimated that almost a billion people around the world are now suffering from hunger and malnutrition - a dramatic rise in number since the soaring food prices over the last three years. Of these, about half are estimated to live in smallholder farming households, while roughly two-tenths are landless, another tenth are pastoralists, fisherfolk, and forest users, and the remainder live in the cities. This crisis of world hunger is set to deepen as livelihood resources such as land and water continue to be transferred from such groups to the financially powerful in ever larger areas and longer timeframes.
The writer is a researcher and lecturer at Airlangga University’s Faculty of Law, Surabaya. His book, Legal Pluralism in Industrialized Indonesia: A Case Study of Land Conflict Between Adat People, the Government, and Corporations regarding Industrialization in Middle Java, was published in Germany by VDM Verlag Dr. Müller.
Guest Editors: Lionel Cliffe, University of Leeds; Jocelyn Alexander, University of Oxford; Ben Cousins, PLAAS, University of the Western Cape, and Rudo Gaidzanwe, University of Zimbabwe
In this publication, data and recent analyses will be presented on the expansion of sugar cane monoculture for ethanol production in Brazil, and in particular on the monopolisation in the sector due to mergers and the takeover of production plants by foreign companies.
Nature 479, 472–473 (24 November 2011)
Simply giving people food is not enough to prevent famine, says Peter Rosset. Instead, we need to overhaul the policies that have upended the food supply.
Sélingué, Mali, 17 November 2011 – Today, more than 250 participants, mainly representatives of farmers’ organisations, from thirty different countries gathered in Nyéléni Village, a centre for agro-ecology training built in a rural area near Sélingué, in Mali, to participate into the first International farmers’ conference to stop land grabbing.
We, women and men peasants, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and their allies, who gathered together in Nyeleni from 17-19 November 2011, are determined to defend food sovereignty, the commons and the rights of small scale food providers to natural resources.