Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Friends of the Earth International Food Sovereignty programme co-ordinator, said: "Unfortunately private investment in farmland may be seen by many as low risk and positive for developing countries. Yet they are often a disaster for local communities and the environment."
In Liberia, farmland investments have facilitated land grabbing. A quarter of the country - including vast swathes of fertile land- has been handed to palm oil, rubber and logging companies, preventing its use for food production. These large plantations are promoted as a means to create jobs, bring development, and increase the government's budget. In reality they are jeopardizing the land rights of local populations, threatening local livelihoods and putting the future of one of the world's most significant biodiversity hotspots into doubt. Between 2009 and 2010 the government of Liberia allocated more than a million acres of land to transnational palm oil producers Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia without consulting or securing the consent of those living on and using the land.
Ethiopia has allocated huge areas of fertile arable farmland to foreign investors with little consultations with the affected communities. Since 2008 more than 3.6 million hectares of land has been allocated to foreign investors. For instance, in Gambela region, an Indian company -Karuturi Global- has been allocated staggering 300,000 hectares of land depriving indigenous people of access to water, fishing and grazing grounds, traditional construction materials, and food. Like in many other cases there has been a lack of prior consent and consultation with the local people and affected communities were not consulted and did not give their prior consent these farmland investments. "In Ethiopia and elsewhere farmland investments for instance in plantations are jeopardizing the land rights of local people, and threatening local livelihoods ," said Nyikaw Ochalla from Anywaa Survival Organisation-ASO.
In Madagascar, landgrabbing is caused by foreign and domestic investors implementing agribusiness projects and setting up biodiversity conservation areas, but also developing tourism and extractive industry infrastructure. "We are currently supporting pastoralists communities' claims against the Italian company Tozzi Green which aims to lease 100 000 hectars in the Ihorombe region to mainly cultivate jatropha for agrofuel production" says Mamy Rakotondrainibe, from the Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches -TANY
A report released earlier this year by Friends of the Earth Uganda revealed widespread violations of people's rights and environmental destruction from a land grab in Uganda.