Increased investment in agriculture is critical. In a world confronting anticipated increases in food demand arising from a growing world population and changing diets, as well as potential decreases in food supply due to climatic changes and water scarcity, agricultural investment will prove crucial to addressing food security needs in the future. In addition, increased agricultural investment can help accelerate sustainable development in some countries, potentially bringing capital, jobs, and other benefits.
Who walks away from fertile agricultural land available to lease for as little as $1 per year per hectare? Recent reports indicate international investors are doing just that across sub-Saharan Africa.
Large-scale investments in agriculture and forestry have far-reaching implications for the lives of affected individuals and communities. They are also an integral part of efforts by national governments to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and improve the governance of land resources. Despite their significance, these “land deals” and the contracts that govern them are often cloaked in secrecy, removed from relevant spheres of public scrutiny and debate.
Kenya’s new constitution provides for ‘community lands’. Group ranches and trust lands will be vested in communities. But why, some ponder, would modern citizens want to own land as communities? Is the constitution protecting old ways instead of leading us into the future?
This week I will answer these questions through a global lens. Next week I will zero in on constitutional directives and how far the proposed Community Land Bill delivers.