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Symposium 2011

Background Paper - Dealing with the Race for Agricultural Land

The Challenge

It is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy rising global demand for agricultural products in a sustainable way. Climate change, a rising world population with changing diets, increasing urbaniza ...

It is becoming increasingly difficult to satisfy rising global demand for agricultural products in a sustainable way. Climate change, a rising world population with changing diets, increasing urbanization and industrialization and rising production of non-food crops all raise the global demand for agricultural land. How can population growth, food consumption patterns, climate patterns and land use be brought into a sustainable equilibrium?

Several factors lead to a rising interest in large-scale invesments in agricultural land, particularly in Africa. Governments of target countries and investors point to the potential for "win-win" opportunities, whereas non-governmental organisations and the media see the risks for the local population as overwhelming. The policy brief “dealing with the race for agricultural land”, which is also prepared as a background paper for the Global Economic Symposium 2011, sets out the principles that could add to a successful outcome of these investments.