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October 30th, 2012

This Guardian article gives an overview of the challenges in regulated land deals in Africa.  The director-general of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, expressed frustration that there is little the FAO or other international organisations can do to manage or regulate such land deals, describing it as ‘the wild west’.  Regarding whether small or large farms are most appropriate in Africa, he highlighted the specificity of each crop and each country,. “In Africa today, efficiency means better seeds rather than big tractors. The two models have been there forever in agriculture. Sometimes big-scale will provide exports, but local markets are based on small-scale agriculture”.  Other commentators included Oxfam which believes that this ‘land rush’ is out of control as well as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, Olivier de Schutter, who called for the nations of investors to ensure that the rights of land users are respected.

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