Large scale land acquisition


Large scale land acquisition, development and the state

Basically there were three themes in the presentation. The themes were;

  1. Large scale land acquisition
  2. Property rights
  3. Development and the State

State and Development

Here it came out that the state plays a role in the development. There is the dilemma whether the nation state is serving the interest of its citizens or those of the Western movers. The dilemma is echoed in the understandings and practice of Globalisation. The debates and contestations (between hyperglobalisers, sceptics and transformationists) present differences in conceptual ideas, impacts, causal dynamics, trajectory/periodization and status or role of the state.

The implications are that in the space where there is increasing interconnectedness of world communities, the culture, technology and governance, of the world communities are becoming more similar, especially to those of the West. The aim is that in the end, the world will become borderless, especially in terms production and distribution.

Large scale Land Acquisition

Land can be a common pool resource, and a basis for other common pool resources. There is an increase in foreign and indigene investment in local lands.

The debate in this area has focused on the size, whether 1000 hectares constitute large or not. This therefore gives rise to multiple definitions.

Another issue of concern in this area is Accumulation by dispossession; this is where people are separated from their lands, and the lands become privately owned.

Property Rights

Discourses on property rights includes whether there is direct or indirect right to the use of the land. There is the need for clarity on definition of who owns the land; the individual or the group/communal? Defining the contexts is important in researching and discussing issues around land rights.

Three concepts are key in this area;

Access: the use of the land

Control: the use and transfer of the land

Ownership: use, transfer and dispose/sale

In the comments session, it came out strong that land policies are enshrined in the various constitutions of the world communities. In addition the military background of countries, wars, democracy and privatisation, among others affect property rights, land acquisition and development.

Participatory Session

The second session of the module which was participatory presented an avenue to think and reflect on the issues of neo-liberal land policies, private property rights, and customary rights to land.

Neo-liberal policies, especially in Africa, were packaged by the World Bank and IMF in the form of Structural Adjustment Programmes. The SAPs aimed at reducing debt burdens and to increase investment which will spur development. The programme had components such as subsidy reduction, trade liberalisation, withdrawal of state from production and distribution, privatisation, removal of controls on value of national currency and control of money supply, among others.

The second set of questions focused on private property rights and how it affects the people. Privatisation was seen as the transfer of ownership from communal to individuals. This means that there is reduced access by the rest of the people who do not own or control the land. As such those whose lives are dependent on the lands will have to find other coping strategies. The strategies include migration, alternative livelihoods and change in food culture, among others. The impacts are that food security is threatened, alienation from land and lack of concern for social services (schools, hospitals, etc).

The third question focused on common pool resources and how women have access to them. Some of the resources are herbs, fuel, grass for weaving, clay for pottery, economic trees like the shea tree, dawada, mangoes, etc.

Photo Gallery on session

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