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Cargill: Landgrabbing in Colombia

In Colombia, Cargill is accused of illegal landgrabbing. By setting up a system of 36 subsidiaries which appeared as small independent companies but in fact belonged to the same parent group, the company used the strategy of fragmented purchases in order to evade a national law that limits the extent to which a person or a company can be granted access to uncultivated farmland1. These uncultivated farmlands are normally public grounds, which in ideal should be given to poor farmers in order for them to survive. Cargill acquired more than 52 thousand hectares of land in the province of Vichada with the goal to expand to 90 thousand hectares. After the purchase of the land, these 36 companies were liquidated2. Cargill´s use of loopholes has been reported to the authorities, but up until now no demands have been made to the multinational corporation. Cargill denied any wrongdoing3 and their president MacLennan considered the land deals “as an investment in the country”4.


contributed by Paula Alvarez Roa, Colectivo Derechos Diversidad y Selvas)


  1. Law 160, article 72, [9]: “Ninguna persona podrá adquirir la propiedad sobre terrenos inicialmente adjudicados como baldíos, si las extensiones exceden los límites máximos para la titulación señalados por la Junta Directiva para las Unidades Agrícolas Familiares en el respectivo municipio o región.” (1994) (accessed 24.09.2014) []
  2. Oxfam International (2013): Divide and Purchase; 27 September; Farmlandgrab: Questions surrounding the 52,000 hectares owned by the multinational Cargill; 29 June (accessed 24.09.2014) []
  3. Cargill (2014): Responding to Oxfam´s report on Colombia land purchases  (accessed 24.09.2014) []
  4.  World Press Institute (2013): Colombianismos- Let´s test Cargill; 10 January (accessed 24.09.2014) []