by Mantoe Phakathi Published on Wednesday, October 26, 2011 by Inter Press Service
CHANGWON, South Korea - Civil society organisations are calling on governments in developing countries to stop leasing and selling out land to transnational corporations because it leads to land degradation and food insecurity.
Smallholder farms are disappearing across Africa because of large-scale foreign investment. (EPA)
Africa is one of the continents where corporations are flocking to lease or buy land for different projects such as mining, growing bio-fuel crops or construction – pushing rural poor communities off of their land.
"You find that the land is repossessed from poor people who are using it for farming to give way to bio-fuel crops or other projects that lead to land degradation," said Khadija-Catherine Razavi, executive director of the Centre for Sustainable Development (CENESTA), a non-profit organisation dedicated to promoting sustainable community- and culture-based development that mainly works in Iran and Southwest Asia.
The NGOs representing ordinary people across the globe added their voices at the tenth session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 10) to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which drew more than 6,000 delegates from around the world to Changwon, South Korea from Oct. 10 to 21.
They unsuccessfully called for a pronouncement in the Changwon Declaration against the continued grabbing of land throughout Africa and Asia. According to Razavi, over 200 million square metres of land in these regions is already in the hands of multinational corporations.
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