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the online public database on land deals
The Land Matrix is an online public database that permits all users to contribute to and improve data on land deals, and for this data to be visualised. The visualisations offer both overviews of the data and complete access to the public database down to the level of an individual deal.
The Land Matrix facilitates the collection and representation of data; encourages citizens, researchers, governments, and companies to provide data and improve the quality of and access to data; and provides a regular and accessible analysis of trends.
You can explore data through multiple entry points, ranging from summaries that provide insight concerning the contents of the database, to direct access to the data for more in-depth exploration and analysis.
The Land Matrix is facilitated by a partnership of organisations with an interest in promoting transparency and accountability in decisions over land and investment through open data. The Land Matrix aims to provide a permanent observatory to which any user can contribute information.
The Land Matrix Public Interface is currently a beta version that is testing its functionality and usability. Please provide any comments on how it could be more useful to you at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your comments will be considered in future upgrades.
ILC (International Land Coalition) is global alliance of civil society and intergovernmental organisations working together to promote secure and equitable access to and control over land for poor women and men through advocacy, dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building.
CIRAD (Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement) is a French research centre working with developing countries to tackle international agricultural and development issues.
CDE (Centre for Development and Environment) is the University of Bern’s centre for sustainable development research. It was founded with the aim of fostering sustainable development-oriented research across various institutes and departments of the University of Bern.
GIGA (German Institute for Global and Area Studies) is a Hamburg-based research institute focused on political, economic and social developments in Africa, Asia, Latin America, North Africa, and the Middle East.
GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) is an international enterprise owned by the German Federal Government target international cooperation services for sustainable development across more than 130 countries.
The Land Matrix Project is financed by the internal resources of the partner organisations.
It is also supported by Oxfam,
SDC, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
BMZ and European Commission.
Supporters are not responsible
for the choice
and the presentation of the facts
contained on this website.
This interactive dataset is developed by Tactical Studios at Tactical Technology Collective, an international NGO working to enable the effective use of information
for progressive social change, with sinnwerkstatt - Sustainable Full Service Media Agency.
The Land Matrix includes deals that are made for agricultural production (for food or agrofuel production), timber extraction, carbon trading, mineral extraction, conservation, and tourism. Deals included fulfil the following criteria:
Records are derived from a variety of sources that include information contributed through the Land Matrix website, media reports, reports by international and local organisations and NGOS and field-based research projects, company websites and government records. Sources are partly accessed through two active Internet portals dealing with land transactions: www.commercialpressureonland.org and www.farmlandgrab.org. Company websites and government records are also used where these are available.
Data is collated and entered into the relevant fields of the Land Matrix database. Each record is assigned a reliability code (See table below). Information is sought for over 30 fields for each deal, but for legal reasons only 8 fields are published at this stage. Where possible, data is distributed to partners in host countries for cross-checking. This may be achieved through personal interviews, direct personal knowledge of the transaction, or access to research that has not yet been published.
By using the crowdsourcing function of this website, any user is able to submit details on a deal. This information is cross-checked by the partnership before it is included in the database. Changes may therefore not be reflected immediately. Comments made on existing deals remain on the website, unless the deal is removed from the database
The Land Matrix website only includes data of reliability level 1 or higher, which at the time of launching was about half of the total database. Additional data of the lowest reliability level is being cross-checked for deletion or upgrading for inclusion in the database. However, even data of reliability code 1 or higher is may ultimately be incorrect, due to changes in the deal status over time, wrong source information or human error.
Deals under two additional categories will be made separately accessible on the Land Matrix website, but not included in the aggregate figures or analysis:
The following terminology is used on this website:
Land acquisition: refers to land that is acquired by purchase, lease or concession for commercially-oriented use.
Land deal: in this website, a deal is referred to as a land acquisition that meets the criteria defined under Methodology for Data collection. Deals for contract farming and failed deals are listed separately, and do not contribute to the aggregate data, as they do not meet these criteria.
Investor: refers to the individual, company or state agency that acquires land, including investment funds or for commercial production. This is not a comment on whether the ‘investor’ actually invests in the land or holds all or part of it for speculative purposes.
Target country: the country in which land is acquired for investment/acquisition.
Investor country: the country from which the investor originates, which is the same as the target country if it is a domestic investor. Investors may be private actors, governments or government-backed private actors. Where they are private actors, governments may not influence their operations nor do they necessarily benefit from them.
Contract farming: pre-agreed supply agreements between farmers and buyers for the supply of agricultural produce. Contract farming arrangements vary widely depending on countries, crops and companies, but generally do not involve acquisition by the external investor of the land under production. Deals involving contract farming are not included in the aggregate figures of the Land Matrix.
Failed deal: a deal which has been announced as under negotiation, but which has subsequently been announced as cancelled or the size of transaction has been revised. Although negotiations may continue, the deal remains classified as a failed deal until such time as there may be an alternative outcome. Failed deals give an indication of the extent of interest in land acquisition, but are not included in the aggregate figures of the Land Matrix.
Please note that while every effort is made to ensure accuracy, The land Deals Matrix partnership and the Land portal do not warrant that all the information on this website is complete or accurate. We invite comments on the accuracy of data displayed. The information is inherently subject to change without notice and may become dated.
Only records and fields that have been subjected to the error-checking process as described under methodology are publicly available on this website. The error-checking process has confirmed that data in the Land Matrix are correct according to the sources given for each record. Whilst the Partnership endeavours to ensure that all errors have been corrected, some may still remain due to human error, source error or changing circumstances. We welcome and encourage the submission of any information that can help improve the accuracy of our records. If you notice inaccuracies, dead website reference links or have more information, please contact us using the links provided.
For Terms and conditions of use, please refer to the Land Portal http://landportal.info/page/terms-and-conditions-use. Data is made available for users under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
The representation of facts and interpretations expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinions of the Land Matrix partner organisations or its supporters.
The Land Matrix. Beta version. International Land Coalition (ILC), Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), Centre for Development and Environment (CDE),German Institute for Global and Area Studies (GIGA) and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), April 2012. Web. Insert date of access.
The Land Matrix. "Page reference, i.e. get the picture." Last modified date. Insert specific link on the Land Matrix.
The Land Matrix. "Page Title." Accessed Date, 2012. Insert specific link.
Land deals are notoriously un-transparent. In many countries, established procedures for decision-making on land deals do not exist, and negotiations and decisions do not take place in the public realm. Furthermore, various government agencies and levels of government are usually responsible for approving numerous kinds of land deals. Even official data sources in the same country can therefore vary, and none may actually reflect reality on the ground. Decisions are often changed, and this may or may not be communicated publically.
The scope for error in tracking land deals is high. While a rigorous procedure is followed in the collection and checking of data in the Land Matrix, errors are inevitable. The Land Matrix is not intended to be an error-free database. It is rather a tool that facilitates an on-going discussion on land deals that, through crowdsourcing and continued research, will contribute to the continual improvement of the dataset.
The general lack of transparency has an impact, too, on data bias. For example, those few countries with open data policies (e.g. Peru) may as a result appear to have a higher proportion of land deals. Interest of media and researchers is often higher in certain regions (e.g. Africa), on certain investors (e.g. emerging investor countries) and in certain sectors (e.g. biofuels). Foreign investors generally attract more attention than domestic investors.
Data bias may also arise from where the networks of Land Matrix partners are strongest, and conversely underrepresent deals in regions such as Eastern Europe and Central Asia where our networks do not have a strong presence. In addition, there is often a time lag between deals taking place and the information becoming public. The initial dataset posted online was last revised in September 2011, meaning that recent deals are poorly represented.
The trends evident in the database should therefore be taken as indicative, and are likely to change as the data becomes more accurate.
Number 1: April 2012
Download the report here
Ward Anseeuw, Mathieu Boche, Thomas Breu, Markus Giger, Jann Lay, Peter Messerli and Kerstin Nolte
Drawing on the Land Matrix database, this paper contains an in depth analysis of large-scale agricultural land transactions that entail a transfer of rights to use, control or own land, that have been concluded since the year 2000. It particularly focuses on (i) land acquisitions or investments targeting the Global South and Eastern Europe; (ii) transnational deals, excluding deals where only domestic actors are involved; (iii) and deals where the envisioned land use is agricultural.
The report argues that – although it has lost some of its initial pace – the worldwide rush for land is real, going beyond just speculation and strategic positioning. According to the Land Matrix, a large number of contracts have been signed and are being implemented. Operations have started on several projects.
However, as the report shows, the “global land rush” is anything but a simple phenomenon. It involves a large number of target countries with very different investment conditions, as well as a great variety of actors with divers investment motives. Each land deal has its own specific characteristics. While the report gives an overall overview of the phenomenon, it also endeavours to present an in-depth picture of the different large-scale land transactions’ specificities.
27 February, 2013
This report is based on a data campaign which seeks to compile reports on land deals at different stages. These deals can only be mere intentions or have been officially concluded. A number of land deals failed, but a significant number become operational, albeit often only on a small fraction of the initially announced area. As this is a dynamic process, our snapshot picture represents the data as it existed at the time of writing (early 2012).
Only a partial dataset has been made publicly available, and as a result of our call for feedback, we received numerous responses regarding the data. The Land Matrix Partnership is working towards an updated dataset, which will become available in spring 2013.
We would like to stress that the aggregate figures presented in this report include not only concluded deals but also deals that were reported to have been announced. Not all announced deals have ultimately concluded, let alone reaching implementation stage. Specifically, on page 20 we clearly state that out of the 83 million ha of land for agricultural deals, only 11.3 million ha have been reported to be actually signed according to “reliable” sources.
The ranking of reliability refers to the degree of reliability of information and not to the status of the preparation and implementation of a deal. This ranking is explained on page 16 of this report. The authors acknowledge that the term “reliable” is open to misunderstanding, as it refers to confidence in the source of data, rather than the implementation status. We should have distinguished more clearly between the reliability of information and implementation status. The authors regret any misunderstanding and misinterpretation based on our formulation.
Any user can submit details of a deal and help us improving the richness and accuracy of the database. The information provided is filtered and cross-checked by the partnership before it is made public.
We are creating an online form that users can easily fill in and submit. In the meantime, if you want to share details of a deal with us, please write to email@example.com
Please also consider that you can add or improve the information of the deals already made public by commenting them individually.