As banks and private investors scramble to buy land in the developing world, stories of poor farmers and communities driven from their homes, often at the barrel of a gun, left destitute and unable to feed their families have become all too familiar. We would not accept this happening in the developed world, and so should not accept it in the developing world and yet he global land rush is causing vulnerable people to lose their homes and livelihoods in the Third World
The scramble for land is vast and happening across the developing world. In poor countries, foreign investors have been buying an area of land twice the size of Mexico City every five days. In Liberia more than 30 per cent of land has been handed out in large-scale concessions in the past five years, often with disastrous results for local people. Alfred Brownell, community spokesperson in Liberia, says, "You don't need guns to kill people. When you take food from a village by destroying farm lands and cash crops, you are starving its people. These things must stop. Our people deserve the right to survive. They shouldn't be denied their land."
“Europe has helped spark a global rush for [land for] biofuels that is forcing poor families from their homes, while big business piles up the profits. Biofuels were meant to make transport greener, but European governments are pouring consumers' money down the drain, whilst depriving millions of people of food, land and water,” said Natalia Alonso, Head of Oxfam’s EU Office.
Land used to power European cars with biofuels for one year could produce enough wheat and maize to feed 127 million people, this with the world’s poorest at greater risk of hunger as a result of spiralling food prices.
In Europe, EU biofuel mandates could cost every adult about €30 each year by 2020. In 2008, about €3 billion were spent in tax exemptions and other incentives for biofuel production in the EU, comparable to the value of cuts agreed under the controversial Greek bail-out deal in February. Current EU law requires 10% of transport energy to come from renewable sources by 2020, with almost all of it expected to come from biofuels made from food crops.
Corn and soy prices reached record highs this summer, hitting poor people hardest as they can spend up to 75% of their income on food. By 2020, EU biofuel mandates alone could push up the price of some foods by as much as 36%. This would affect us all but would have a particularly severe impact on poor people who are already struggling to afford the food they need to survive.
Since 80% of EU biofuels is biodiesel, made mostly from rapeseed, soy and palm oil, EU mandates have a particular impact on the global price of vegetable oil and oilseeds. This drives up the retail price of cooking oil in importing countries such as Haiti and exporting countries such as Indonesia. The latter is one of the EU’s main sources of bio diesel By 2020, Europe could require a fifth of all the vegetable oil produced globally to meet its demand for fuel. When this happens the world’s poorest will be the ones to suffer, for proof, just watch this Oxfam video; this is happening now, as the rich countries feed their cars by taking the food from the mouths of those in the world's poorest countries.
Prov. 14:31 Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honour God.