Land Grabbing and its impacts on Food Security in Developing Countries

A newly published study in IOP Science shows how up to 550 Million people could be fed by crops grown in acquired land in developing countries, should crop production and yields also be improved. Currently however 827 million people live in the developing world with daily concerns about food security. The question is raised as to the importance of domestic consumption of agriculture to improve the livelihoods of those in the developing world. In many countries of the developing world there is no security in terms of physical, economic or social access to adequate food, impacting their health and livelihoods.1

In the past decade Ethiopia was one of the countries where land was acquired for the agriculture, land was acquired and expanded by the use of modern technologies for the export market to industrialised countries.This financing and monocultivation of lands provided technological improvements to the countries but despite much of the population being malnourished (In Ethiopia about 25.7%), most of the production is exported.2 The main export destinations for Ethiopian products include, amongst others, Saudi Arabia, India, the UAE, and Germany where the products are either consumed or used as biofuel. Acazis AG, a German company, that has been consistently accused of land grabbing in Ethiopia, has about 56,000 ha of Ethiopian farmland growing grain for their home biodiesel market. DWS GALOF, a fund offered by Deutsche Bank, has also in recent years bought 57,000 ha of land in Africa.3

Millions of acres of land in the developing world has been cultivated for, amongst others, the biofuel industry. The study published in IOP Science makes the case that 550 million people could be fed from these lands and a reorientation of these agricultural products to the population of developing countries would reduce famine.

On the basis of this study, and the development direction the biofuel industry has taken in the last decade, one can only speculate what the scope of the poorest regions of the world will be to overcome obstacles to food security, with the exploitation of agricultural products by developed countries.


  1. Welthungerhilfe: Ernährungssicherung. Available at: http://www.welthungerhilfe.de/ueber-uns/mediathek/mediathek/fachkonzept-ernaehrungssicherung.html?type=6663&tx_rsmmediathek_fe 1%5Baction%5D=singleDownload&cHash=5244160f70944654a9486b7310f960fd last checked 09.07.2014. []
  2. Welthungerhilfe: Welt Hunger Index 2013. Available at: http://www.welthungerhilfe.de/ueber-uns/mediathek/whh-artikel/welthunger-index-2013.html Last accessed 09.07.2014. []
  3. Profundo: German investment funds Involved in land grabbing Available at:. Www.profundo.nl/files/download/FIAN1011.pdf last checked on 09/07/2014 []