A new vision for agriculture
momagri, movement for a world agricultural organization, is a think tank chaired by Pierre Pagesse.
It brings together, managers from the agricultural world and important people from external perspectives,
such as health, development, strategy and defense. Its objective is to promote regulation
of agricultural markets by creating new evaluation tools, such as economic models and indicators,
and by drawing up proposals for an agricultural and international food policy.
Agriculture's key figures
Since 2001, strategic purchases of agricultural land have accounted for 15 percent of worldwide farmland
 
Since 2001, investment funds have acquired a total of 560 million acres of farmland1, representing:

- Close to 15 percent of farmed areas worldwide;

- Or the land of 12 members of the European Union2.

On the African Continent alone, 150 million acres might have been traded since 2009––the equivalent of the French territory3.

This represents a critical trend because of its related issues in terms of agricultural development, food security and, in fine, geostrategic balance.

Sovereign or private investment funds are responsible for these farmland acquisitions.

Purchasing or renting farmland abroad represents a means to secure food supplies for a country:

- Whose land or water resources are limited, such as Qatar or Saudi Arabia,

- Whose population is rising sharply, such as China.

But in a context of increasing financial instability and growing food demand, the phenomenon also involves investment funds launching farmland acquisitions, which are deemed to represent true strategic financial assets––“the green Eldorado”.

 
A purely financial strategy behind the development and food security label?

On the surface, these land acquisitions signify, for the concerned nations, valuable investments for agricultural development––a priority objective outlined by the G20 Meeting of Agriculture Ministers4.

But in reality, they do not seem to improve food security for the local population, since they mostly back export crops5.

A recent study conducted by the United Nations and the International Institute for Environment and Development is showing that many land purchases were in the form of large plantations managed by foreign firms and employing a small number of local farmers6.

Consequently, and this is particularly true when new land purchasers are also most active speculators, the incidence of farmland acquisitions leads to the emergence of an “industrialized and financialized” agricultural model that can be relocated when opportunities arise, and is quite far from the objectives of fighting poverty.

From that perspective, momagri reiterates the need to implement an agricultural and food governance system that will:
- Enhance transparency in these transactions;
- Develop a regulatory framework so that these land acquisitions are beneficial to small farmers.

The issue is allowing the development of all agricultural activities in every part of the world.

1 Or 876,450 square miles, according to a September 2011 Oxfam report. Nevertheless, the phenomenon remains difficult to assess as estimates vary according to experts.
2 EU’s 12 members: Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Germany, Ireland, United Kingdom, Denmark, Greece, Spain and Portugal
3World Bank with French overseas départements and territories.
4 PAction Plan on agricultural price volatility and agriculture, June 22 and 23, 2011
5 See The Oackland Institute, GRAIN and the December 2009 report by Olivier de Schutter, Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
6 International Institute for Environment and Development, IFAD and FAO, “Land Grab or Development Opportunity?” 2009.
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Paris, 01 August 2014