The outlook on farmland acquisitions

Impacts of investments on environment, rights, sovereignty, liveli-hoods, development and conflict at local, national and international levels

This report takes stock of the evidence on land acquisitions for agricultural investments, summarising findings from collaborative research that IIED has undertaken since 2008 together with FAO, IFAD and, more recently, SDC. Building on this evidence, it provides an overview of the main trends, drivers and players of current phenomena, as well as an analysis of the terms and processes characterising land deals. The report argues that business models such as contract farming that involve supporting local farmers are more promising than large-scale land acquisitions and can offer opportunities for small farmers. However, it also warns that, depending on its specific terms, contract farming may also become an exploitative relationship where farmers effectively provide cheap labour and carry the risks of production.