Investments in agricultural land may be essential for achieving food security and promoting economic growth, but what are the potential costs and benefits for local landholders and the environment?

Investing in land, and in activities requiring land, occurs around the world. As a broad category, “land and investments” encompasses a wide range of scenarios: investments may be small or large in terms of the amount of money invested and scale of the land acquired. Investments may be undertaken for activities ranging from agriculture or forestry to infrastructure, extractive projects, renewable energy, or even tourism; and may involve a variety of actors, such as local smallholders, national governments, local investors, or foreign corporations, among others.

Given the breadth of what falls within investment in land and land-related activities, the concept of land investments is not inherently controversial. For example, the most significant source of agricultural investments tied to land in low- and middle-income countries comes from farmers themselves—not only by land investments, such as acquiring new land, but also by investments in agriculture, including in crops, improvements to the land they already hold, and new equipment or structures to make their land and activities more productive [1]. Such investments are indisputably important.  Yet the types, forms, and scale of investment deemed appropriate remain highly polarizing in many contexts, especially with respect to agricultural activities and land investments more generally. Large- and medium-scale land investments that require a transfer in rights to use land raise particularly difficult concerns, given their potential to negatively affect existing land users and local communities—leading in some cases to charges of “land grabbing.”

Strong land governance systems and secure land tenure (i.e. the certainty that landholders’ rights to the land will be recognized, protected, and enforceable if challenged by others) can support land users’ sustainable investments in land and agriculture, as well as their ability to make decisions regarding whether to retain or transfer their land rights in the context of incoming investors who seek to use their land. Weak or conflicting land governance systems and insecure tenure, on the other hand, may lead to less sustainable land use, or may create a greater likelihood that legitimate land rights are violated as other land investors move in. While various guidelines and principles explicitly address responsible investment in land and in agriculture, there are still challenges associated with ensuring that land investments respect land rights and human rights, are sensitive to gender and environmentally sustainable, and result in expected benefits rather than conflict. Governments and investors may find that such issues are even more difficult when they constitute “legacy issues” that must be addressed after investments have occurred or operations have been ongoing [2]. And although transparency around large land-based investments is slowly increasing, information regarding such investments often remains inaccessible to those affected and the general public, limiting understanding of their implications and impeding accountability.

 

Indicators

Share (%) of Agricultural Value added with respect to the Total Value Added produced in a given country in a given year.

Measurement unit
Percentage

Total spending for agricultural reserch measured measured as a share of the value added from agriculture, forestry and fishing activities

Measurement unit
Percentage

Employees are people who work for a public or private employer and receive remuneration in wages, salary, commission, tips, piece rates, or pay in kind.

Measurement unit
Percentage

Free negotiations between right holders and investors measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit
Index (A; D)

Key information on land concessions is public measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit
Index (A; D)

Rule of law captures perceptions of the extent to which agents have confidence in and abide by the rules of society, and in particular the quality of contract enforcement, property rights, the poli

Measurement unit
Index (-2.5; 2.5)

This indicator measures total natural resources rents as a share of the gross domestic product (GDP) of a given country.

Measurement unit
% of GDP

This indicator asks whether national laws provides alternative approaches to the fair market value approach in cases where land markets are weak or non-existent.

Measurement unit
Index (A; C)

Mapping

Loading map...

Total Area (ha) calculated as the sum of all deals, in a gven country over the period 2000-2015.

Measurement unit
Ha

Ranking

    Loading ranking chart

Investments selected openly on economic, socio-cultural and environmental basis measured on a scale from A - which stands for good practices - to D - reflecting weak practices.

Measurement unit
Index (A; D)

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parties indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.

Media

Latest News

Land rights in Bangladesh
5 December 2017
Bangladesh

With a population of 163 million people and an area of only 147,570 square kilometers, Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Land scarcity, insecure tenure, and other factors have contributed to a high volume of land conflicts. Such problems are compounded by Bangladesh’s weak land governance systems, extensive informal settlements in urban areas and widespread landlessness in rural areas.

Photo Courtesy of Jeremy Green
27 November 2017
Kenya
Zambia
South Africa

Dynamic country portfolios combine detailed narratives with Linked Open Data to provide comprehensive overviews of land governance systems

24 November 2017
Canada

With the new housing strategy, the government has committed to halving "chronic homelessness" by 2028

MUMBAI, Nov 23 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Canada's move to recognise housing as a fundamental right in its new national housing strategy marks a historic step towards ending homelessness, a senior United Nations official said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the long-awaited housing strategy on Wednesday in response to U.N. criticism of Canada's "persistent housing crisis".

Demolition crews destroy property during Operation Murambatsvina, Zimbabwe
20 November 2017
Africa
Zimbabwe

In June 2005, demolition crews destroyed hundreds of homes in an impoverished suburb of Mutare, under ‘Operation Murambatsvina’ (Move the Rubbish), the government of Zimbabwe’s campaign to forcibly clear ‘slums’ across the country. Many of those made homeless joined housing cooperatives to collectively purchase land, on which to rebuild their lives, only to have that land taken by Zanu-PF supporters with backing from government ministers.

Latest Blogs

Dubai Skyline
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Lebanon
Saudi Arabia
Syrian Arab Republic
United Arab Emirates
Yemen

Those of you who have visited Dubai in recent years may relate to what I am going to say: Dubai is in the middle of the desert, and its land, not that long ago, was really worth nothing. Now it is one of the most vibrant international cities in the world. All this happened in a relatively short time span.

Asia
South-Eastern Asia

A civil society perspective on engaging with the private sector

Towards SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Land Rights
Global

On Nov. 13 in Bahrain, the Inter-Agency Expert Group on the Sustainable Development Goal Indicators voted to reclassify SDG Land Indicator 1.4.2 from Tier III to Tier II status.  This is a significant win for the property rights community, and a validation that a coordinated effort from many different players can indeed make a difference.

However, the road there was not easy.

Global

The Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) (link is external) spoke with Michael Jarvis, Executive Director of the Transparency and Accountability Initiative (TAI), about OpenLandContracts.org, how the landscape regarding contract transparency has changed in recent years, and what these changes mean for stakeholders seeking to improve governance and accountability in the context of natural resource investments.

Latest Events

19 June 2018 to 29 June 2018

Location

Columbia University New York , New York
United States
New York US
Global

Next Training: June 19-29, 2018
Location: Columbia University

26 February 2018 to 28 February 2018

Location

United Arab Emirates
AE
Iran
Iraq
Jordan
Lebanon
Qatar
Saudi Arabia
Syrian Arab Republic
United Arab Emirates
Yemen

The Government of the United Arab Emirates in partnership with the World Bank, the Global Land Tool Network, UN-Habitat, the Arab League and the Arab Union of Surveyors is pleased to announce the first Arab Land Conference that will be hosted by the Dubai Land Department and held in Dubai, UAE, between 26-28 /February/2018.

19 February 2018 to 21 February 2018

Location

India
IN
India

India Land and Development Conference ( ILDC 2018 )
CONNECTION, INCLUSION, INNOVATION & CAPACITY TO IMPROVE LAND GOVERNANCE
Venue: India International Centre, New Delhi Dates: 19-21 Feb, 2018

Organizing committee of ILDC is very happy to announce 2nd India Land and Development Conference to continue inclusive and interdisciplinary conversations among stakeholders around land governance in India. 

30 November 2017 to 1 December 2017

Location

Abuja
Nigeria
NG
Africa

Women account for 60–80 per cent of smallholder farmers and comprise the largest percentage of the workforce in the agricultural sector. Inequalities between women and men in access to land, productive resources, income-generating activities and public consultation spaces seriously undermine women’s capacity to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Debates

Closed
2 November 2017 to 15 November 2017
Facilitators
LorenzoCotula
Global

The 5th UK Land Forum meeting discussed approaches and tools, and practical experience in legal empowerment. It  also provided updates on recent activities of Forum members, including DFID.  

The purpose of the Forum was to provide a focus for debate, information and lesson sharing amongst UK stakeholders to inform DFID and wider UK policy and programming for strengthening of land governance and land rights protection.

Closed
22 September 2017 to 1 October 2017
Facilitators
Fiona Flintan
Babatunde Ajao
Kenya
Tanzania
Nigeria

The PROCASUR Corporation in Africa in collaboration with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) have partnered with the International Land Coalition, International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), the Land Portal Foundation and Resource Conflict Institute (RECONCILE) to present the Learning Initiative: Innovative practices and tools to reduce land use conflicts between farmers and livestock keepers, taking place in Kenya and Tanzania, between the 22nd September and 1st October 2017 under the framework of the PROCASUR-IFAD Programme “Strengthening Capacities and tools

Open
22 August 2017 to 29 September 2017
Facilitators
LIZAHMY
Monica
Global
Kenya

Background

From August 22nd to September 15th 2017  the Land Development  and Governance Institute (LDGI) and Land Portal Foundation will co- facilitate an online debate that will involve the contribution of major stakeholders focusing on contemporary Kenyan land governance issues.

Organizations

Library

Displaying 1 - 6 of 1636
Essential Questions for Indicator 1.4.2 cover image
Policy Papers & Briefs
November 2017
Global

The document details the agreements of the Expert Group meeting on a set of defined questions that need to be asked in order to properly measure 1.4.2.  

Reports & Research
November 2017
Global

Over the past decade, a spike in demand for agricultural land in developing countries has generated a great deal of political and media attention. While many investments bring opportunities for local communities, some have wrongfully pushed residents and workers off their lands or have caused social and environmental harm. Some development projects (e.g. agroforestry initiatives, irrigation schemes) have also encountered land conflict.

Cover Reponsible Large Scale Land Acquisitions Mekong
Reports & Research
November 2017
South-Eastern Asia

The Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project, MLIKE (Mekong Land Information and Knowledge Exchange),  and the Land Portal co-facilitated an online dialogue on “Responsible Large Scale Agricultural Investments in the Mekong Region” on 09-27 October 2017. The full dialogue can be read here. This report delineates the key messages emerging from the dialogue.

Reports & Research
November 2017
South Africa

Residents of mining areas testified at the Parliamentary High-Level panel on assessment of key legislation and acceleration of fundamental change about the acute disruptions caused in their lives and livelihoods by mining and their concerns are dealt with in several recommended amendments to legislation.

Conference Papers & Reports
November 2017
India

This working paper looks at the new Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement (LARR) Bill, 2011 and explores key issues within the text of the Bill and the larger political context of land acquisition in India. 

Reports & Research
November 2017
South Africa

Farmers’ interest group AgriSA last week released its own land audit. This filled in a major blank in the land reform and policy field: How many black emerging farmers have bought farms outside government’s land reform programme? We now have a part answer: they bought 4.3 million hectares.  Other findings from this study are contested and methodological flaws are highlighted.