Commercial pressures on land in Asia: An overview

This paper investigates the impact of new agricultural investments on land tenure and food security, especially for rural communities, women, and indigenous peoples, as well as the environment. It combines a desk review of existing literature and a synthesis of case studies conducted by International Land Coalition members in Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, India, and the Philippines. According to the paper, private sector investments in agriculture have been increasing in Asia, encouraged by policies adopted by many Asian governments with a view to improving local agriculture and the economy and reducing poverty. This is evident in the growth of foreign direct investments in South, East, and Southeast Asia, and the steady rise of trade within Asia’s borders, exemplified by the concept of free trade agreements. The paper also finds that, contrary to the assumption that there is abundant unused land available for agricultural development, most of these investments have resulted in the conversion of agricultural, forest, and foreshore lands into plantations and commercial and industrial centres.