Half the land in the world today, including forests, grasslands, and small farms, belongs to and is managed by local communities and indigenous peoples. Two and a half billion people depend on this land for their livelihoods. Yet it is estimated that these communities have recognized rights over only one fifth of their land. National governments are obligated by international human rights law to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and to protect the right to food and other rights of rural communities. In addition to fulfilling human rights, there are many additional benefits of protecting community land rights: reduction of conflict, reduction of involuntary migration pressures, and protection of the ecosystems that cool our warming planet. Unfortunately, much community-held land is at risk of being grabbed by business interests, with the complicity of governments.... read more
Since the 1970s when U.S. farm policy encouraged farmers to overproduce and “get big or get out”, family farmers have struggled just to survive. They are told that biofuels programs like the Renewable Fuel Standard will help them by increasing both demand for corn and the price farmers are paid. But these biofuels mandates only prop up the industrial agribusiness system. Farmers are not getting the fair prices they need.
This report examines the impact of agribusiness and biofuels programs on family farmers and rural communities in Iowa, which produces more corn than many countries and has a strong family farm history.... read more
A trip down a dusty dirt road in northern Argentina provides a picture of the reality of the modern biodiesel industry. On the left-hand side lies a pristine forest, teeming with wildlife: howler monkeys, tapirs, and jaguars. On the right, new soy fields are being carved into pristine forest. Burnt trees and the white ash they leave behind stretch for as far as the eye can see.... read more
Indigenous peoples and small-scale farmers in Guatemala, especially women, are facing an ongoing threat to their existence due to loss of their land to agribusiness plantations. Indigenous communities in the municipality of Raxruhá in Alta Verapaz are confronting land grabbing by palm oil companies. The State of Guatemala must recognize community land rights, and governments… read more
Soybean plantations are overtaking much of Brazil’s Cerrado region as large-scale agriculture expands across the globe, driving out indigenous peoples and local communities and driving up land prices. The prospect of soy expansion in the Cerrado has attracted not only Brazilian land grabbers but also international investors.... read more