Landgrabbing: Contested meanings of land

September 2019
Transnational Institute – TNI (Sylvia Kay)

Argues that the role of the European Union in landgrabbing is manifold. EU actors are involved in the financing of large-scale land deals worldwide through forms of private finance, public finance and a combination of both. The EU’s position as an agricultural powerhouse is dependent on the huge import of agricultural commodities and inputs from the global South. Europe has a vast land import dependency with nearly 60% of the land used to meet Europe’s demand for agricultural and forestry products coming from outside its borders. On land governance the EU: hinders necessary and important land redistribution and restitution programmes; locks in onerous land deals, fosters land commodification; disempowers local legal resistance; impedes the reversal of abuses of illegitimate and unjust land and water deals; and limits the scope of progressive agrarian and agricultural policies that protect small-scale farmers and public health. By supporting this global investment regime, the EU seriously undermines efforts to stop and roll back landgrabbing, thereby legalising illegitimate activities.