Group Discusses African Poverty

Oxfam International, a global group dedicated to fighting poverty worldwide, recently released a report detailing over a decade of land grabs made in Africa. Oxfam is a confederation of about fifteen anti-poverty groups spanning almost 100 countries. Founded in 1942, the group’s mission has spread from combating global famines to trying to reduce global poverty.

At the heart of Oxfam’s latest report is the connection between agricultural investment in developed countries and a global “land grab” that appears to be occurring in the developing world. The Oxfam report claims that large-scale land acquisitions are frequently done at the expense of the poorest citizens of developing countries.

While private investment in the Third World appears benign on the surface, Oxfam and other anti-poverty groups have claimed that these investments frequently disadvantage native farmers.

For example, in Uganda a 9,300 hectare forestry project was leased by a British Logging company for ten years. While the Ugandan government claims that the international deal was necessary for the internal development, the project required the eviction of more than 20,000 people who lived and farmed on the land. These evictions have greatly increased poverty in the region.

Given the global rise in food prices and the need for further food production worldwide, Oxfam expects further conflict over land ownership. Private investment, the group warns, needs to be rethought in order to protect poor nations from exploitation.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer