Food comes before biofuel, says Oxfam

Analysis by Oxfam of several thousand land deals of the past decade shows that an area eight times the size of Britain has been left idle by or is being used largely to grow biofuels for Western cars. Oxfam urged the World Bank to freeze investments in such land acquisitions.

“More than 60% of investments in agricultural land by foreign investors between 2000 and 2010 were in developing countries with serious hunger problems. But two-thirds of those investors plan to export everything they produce on the land. Nearly 60% of the deals have been to grow crops … for biofuels,” says the report.

Since 2008, says Oxfam, 21 formal complaints have been brought by communities affected by World Bank investments they claim have violated their land rights.

Oxfam’s chief executive, Barbara Stocking, said: “The World Bank is in a unique position to help stop land grabs becoming one of the biggest scandals of the century. Investment should be good news for developing countries, not lead to greater … hardship.” – © Guardian News & Media 2012  

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