May 15th, 2015
Dakar, Senegal, 14 May 2015 — As focal point for the Land Matrix in Asia, AFA presented data on large scale land acquisitions in the region during the session organized by GIGA and ILC on May 13 at the 2015 Global Land Forum in Dakar, Senegal.
The data showed a high success rate of negotiations in foreign land deals in Asia, but a slower pace of implementation, and smaller area of contracted lands being put under actual production.
The data also showed patterns in former use of land and the intentions of investment on land, where mainly agricultural lands are being acquired for food, non-food commodities, unspecified agriculture produce and biofuels.
However, these patterns are expected to change due to the dynamic nature of the deals, as soon as more data about the deals are gathered.
Some examples of deals from Cambodia were presented, which highlighted huge areas of land leased to companies as economic land concessions, largely devoted to rubber plantation, and where communities are evicted from the land.
AFA also shared its structure and functions as Asia Focal Point and an update on its activities related to data gathering, networking, communication and research.
The presentation came after GIGA’s on the potentials, limits and dynamics of a comprehensive database.
Other regional focal points such as JASIL for Central Asia, Fundapaz for Latin America, and the University of Pretoria for Africa also gave their presentations on trends in foreign land deals in their regions as well as updates of their activities.
AFA called on the researchers, campaigners, FOs and NGOs present to help improve the data in the Land Matrix, use the data for policy advocacy, and suggest ways to improve the way data is shared.
Participants to the session showed interest in the data provided in the Land Matrix as well as on its potential uses for research and policy advocacy.
Organizations such as the Global Witness expressed willingness to cooperate on the issue of large scale land acquisitions in Cambodia.
AFA became the Asia Focal Point for the Land Matrix last August 2014.
The Global Land Forum is being held in Dakar, Senegal on May 12-16 together with the Assembly of Members of the ILC, of which AFA is a member since 2013.