Aggressive moves by China, South Korea and Gulf states to buy vast tracts of agricultural land in sub-Saharan Africa could soon be limited by a new global international protocol.
A scramble for African farmland has in recent years seen the equivalent of Italy's entire arable land hoovered up by businesses from emerging economies.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation, the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the World Bank are now discussing a new code of conduct for land buyers in Africa. Amid increasing concerns over food security, it could include ensuring consent is given prior to selling land from local people as well as ensuring smallholders do not lose out. A first draft is expected to be released next spring.
Alex Wijeratna, Action Aid's food rights campaign officer, said: "There's a new scramble for land in Africa. It's growing at an incredible rate. There's massive secrecy, poor communities can't get information and ...