by Nathan Oxley, STEPS Centre communications officer
|Shalmali Guttal from Focus on the Global South addresses the opening plenary|
Supporters of large scale acquisitions of land make some big claims for them: that they help to boost economies, create jobs, make the most of ‘underused’ land and feed the hungry. These claims are examined and contested by those concerned about the violence and injustice that goes along with some large-scale land deals. As speakers at the conference showed, dodgy economics and even dodgier science join forces with powerful interests, with deals often negotiated behind closed doors. Even the participation of vulnerable groups in decisions about land is not what it seems: it can even be a method of controlling them without giving them a real say in what happens.