Europe : Land concentration and land grabbing occurring and reaching blatant levels

Press Release  of the European Coordination Via Campesina

(17th of April 2013, Fuerteventura) Land concentration and land grabbing do not occur only in developing countries in the South; in fact, both are underway in Europe today. A new report by European Coordination Via Campesina and Hands off the Land network shows that land grabbing and access to land are a critical issues today in Europe, and also reveals that the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) subsidy scheme and other policies is implicated in a variety of ways.

The report, involving 25 authors from 11 countries and titled Land concentration, land grabbing and people’s struggles in Europe, reveals the hidden scandal of how just three per cent of landowners have come to control half of all farmed land. This massive concentration of land ownership and wealth is on a par with Brazil, Colombia and Philippines.

Some of these processes of ever-increasing land concentration are not new; however they have accelerated in recent decades in particular in Eastern Europe. Many feature European companies, as well as new actors including Chinese companies and Middle Eastern Hedge Funds, tied into an increasingly global commodity chains, and all looking to profit from the increasingly speculative commodity of land.

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Hungary : Stop land grab!

Join statement of FOEI, LVC, WMW, CEO etc.

(Budapest, 8 April 2013) We, the undersigned organisations who represent millions of grassroots communities, women’s organisations and small-scale farmers across the globe support the struggle against land grab in Hungary.

Access to land, including control of how it is used and for what purposes, is for local farmers a key element of food sovereignty. Therefore we are very concerned by the alarming rate of land grabbing happening world wide. We recognize that land grabbing is not only happening in the Global South but also in Europe.

We have learned that according to estimates around 1 million ha of land in Hungary have already been grabbed by foreign investors via so called "pocket contracts" and hundreds of thousands of hectares by companies or Hungarian landlords via the leasing of state owned land. The planned new land tenure act submitted by the Hungarian government to the parliament would further accelerate land grabbing and concentration of land unless the draft law is changed by amendments that are supported by almost two hundred civil society groups and farmers' organizations.

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India, Thousands more farmers on parliament street

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New Delhi, March 19, 2013: On the second day of a large farmers’ rally in the heart of India’s capital here today, the Mahapanchayat (great assembly) of farmers and agriculture workers resolved to stay put until their demands are met. In a historical new formation, people’s movements and large farmers’ unions have come together to defend land rights and protect farm livelihoods. Lambasting the government for its anti-farmer policies, speaker after speaker rejected government’s development paradigm, which neglects rural India and agri livelihoods. The night saw thousands of farmers sleeping on Parliament Street in the open, with the government choosing to ignore them. “We are the Anna Daatas who keep the nation alive and the government cannot continue with its impoverishment policies towards farmers. More people are headed towards Delhi now and it looks like the government will respond only when an issue reaches a flash point”, said Yudhvir Singh of Bhartiya Kisan Union.

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India, Massive protests to stop land grabbing and defend agriculture

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A historic mobilization of more than 1 lakh farmers, farm workers and agrarian masses belonging to a wide variety of social movements from across India descended upon New Delhi today. Protestors at the “Kisan Khet Mazdoor Mahapanchayat” in Jantar Mantar came all the way to the Indian capital to show their collective commitment to reversing the ongoing agrarian crisis. The government's responsibility for this crisis lies in its overenthusiasm for liberalization reforms, which ultimately support foreign investors, corporations and elite consumers instead of the agrarian masses and common people of India. Farmers from the Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers' Movements (ICCFM), which comprises of independent mass farmers groups such as the Bhartiya Kisan Union and the Karnataka Farmers Movement (KRRS), have joined hands with the largest alliance of peoples' movements in India called the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in order to defend Indian people's access to land, water, forest and seeds – the most important resources of agrarian people, and the source of food and livelihood for the Indian masses.

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