Resumen ejecutivo




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Gobernanza y democracia:

  • Proponer una directiva europea en materia de tierra que incluya un proceso de consulta con la sociedad civil

  • Facilitar el acceso a pastos y agua; potenciar el papel del manejo de la tierra, el paisaje, la biodiversidad, la prevención de incendios y los sistemas de riego

CONTRA el acaparamiento de tierras             

  • Consulta pública: la UE debe hacerla obligatoria

  • Información y seguimiento público sobre las operaciones de tierras

  • Lucha contra la competencia desleal

  • Reforma agraria en zonas de propiedad concentrada y reconocimiento de derechos de uso históricos

  • Prohibición de la especulación (de todos los tipos de inversores)

  • Máximo de hectáreas

  • Sanciones a través de los impuestos

A FAVOR del acceso a la tierra

  • Nueva PAC: apoyo a los agricultores (subsidios para los agricultores pequeños y agroecológicos)

  • Políticas que apoyen la transformación de fincas industriales en proyectos de fincas campesinas/soberanía alimentaria (por ejemplo, agricultura urbana)

  • Apoyo de la agroecología

  • Desarrollo de un nuevo marco jurídico para el establecimiento de fincas (jóvenes agricultores), fincas de tipo cooperativo y arreglos de copropiedad

  • Fomento de políticas de discriminación positiva para garantizar el acceso de las mujeres

  • Prioridad del uso de la tierra para alimentos

  • Planes urbanos que tengan en cuenta la soberanía alimentaria (ámbito local/regional)

  • Apoyo a acciones/proyectos concretos para recuperar tierras

  • Defensa de las tierras comunales

  • Instituciones bancarias agrarias

  • Formación


Resumen de los capítulos (en inglés)

Land concentration, land grabbing and people’s struggles in Europe: summary of and introduction to the collection of studies
By Saturnino Borras Jr., Jennifer Franco and Jan Douwe van der Ploeg
This introductory paper synthesies the key findings of the various reports, link these to the global perspectives on land grabbing, land concentration and people’s land struggles. (Note: this paper is available only in June 2013).

Land Grabbing, Artificialisation and Concentration in France: causes, consequences and challenges
By Morgan Ody
The past decades in France witnessed a shrink in access to land with the rise of barriers for newcomers in the farming sector. This phenomenon is intrinsically intertwined with land concentration, land grabbing and ‘artificialisation’ of land (conversion of farm land to non-agricultural uses). People, especially youth, wanting to start a farm find themselves in stiff competition with existing commercially well to do farmers.

Land concentration is increasing: in 1955 80% of the farms were of below 20 ha, the current average is around 80 ha. 'Artificialisation’ of land has been progressively reducing the amount of available agricultural land. In France, each year more than 60,000 ha of agricultural land are lost to make space for roads, supermarkets and urban growth or leisure parks. There is an increasing trend towards land speculation, as the price of land frequently increases especially if assessed eventually in the category of land for real estates.

Land: access and struggles in Andalusia, Spanish State
By Marco Aparicio, Manuel Flores, Arturo Landeros, Sara Mingorría, Delphine Ortega and Enrique Tudela
The region is currently undergoing a double process of land concentration and growing privatisation. On the one hand, between 1962 and 2009, the number of farms dropped by 67% (from over 3 million to below 1 million) while at the same time their average size more than doubled. In 2010, 2% of landowners owned 50% of the land.

On the other hand, over the past 50 years private property has grown enormously, while other types of land-based social relations –such as sharecropping – have diminished significantly. Furthermore, the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in 2003 brought with it the Single Payment Scheme, perpetuating the maintenance of highly inequitable land distribution, and encouraging the abandonment of smallholder production. The result is the preservation and consolidation of Andalusian latifundia and an ongoing de-peasantisation.

Both European and state-level public policies, far from supporting local sustainable production and agrarian workers, are encouraging modes of production that contribute to land concentration in the hands of corporations. Agricultural unions and various other organisations that defend the need for a vibrant rural sector and the right to food have criticised the injustice and illegitimacy of the implementation of CAP measures.

The struggles for land have achieved some success: the peasant farmers’ movement has occupied and started to cultivate lands, planning and following a model of ecological production that continues to expand. The Andalusian Trade Union (SOC-SAT) epitomises resistance against the concentration of land ownership and the abandonment of farms, and for the creation of employment in Andalusia. SOC-SAT is mobilising across the Spanish State, reaffirming that the struggle for agrarian justice continues. Its land claims are not geared towards obtaining ownership but rather to form workers’ cooperatives, organised by the Union. In some cases the political context has facilitated projects based on organic production as opposed to the prevailing agro-intensive and agro-export model.

Land concentration, land grabbing and options for change in Germany
By Roman Herre
Germany has witnessed a significant trend towards increasing land concentration recent decades. A total of 1,246,000 holdings in 1966/67 shrunk to just 299,100 farms by 2010. Of these holdings the land area covered by farms of less than 2 hectares shrunk from 123,670 hectares in 1990 to a mere 20,110 hectares in 2007, while farms of 50 hectares and larger expanded in area from 9.2 million hectares in 1990 to 12.6 million hectares in 2007.

A novel feature of the last 5 – 10 years has been the increasing appropriation of land by non-agricultural investors for non-agricultural purposes, including for bio-gas production. In some regions in Germany, it is estimated that these new investors have purchased between 15% and 30% of the land available on the market. The problem is particularly marked in former Eastern Germany where the further privatisation of formerly state-owned land and the deregulation of the land market have favoured big investors with large financial resources.

This has led to a surge in land prices. Between 2005 and 2011 the cost of 1 ha of land in Germany increased by 55% from € 8,692 to € 13,493. The rising demand for and control over land by non-regional and non-agricultural investors threatens the livelihoods of local family farms both now and in the future, as it denies people the opportunity to go into agriculture unless they have large financial backing.

Land concentration and green grabs in Italy: the case of Furtovoltaico in Sardinia, Italy
By Antonio Onorati and Chiara Pierfederici
During the past decades, Italy has been experiencing a concentration of agricultural land property, whereby 22,000 farms with more than 100 ha own more than 6.5 million ha of total agricultural area. Aside from the public lands, the remaining 4.5 million ha are concentrated in the hands of 19,000 private companies or farms, each possessing more than 100 ha.

National policies have exacerbated the situation by allowing the rush to privatise the common or public lands still available, which are labelled as ‘under-used’. Regardless of its vital role in providing employment, securing food sovereignty and offering viable alternatives in a context of global economic and environmental crises, governments continue to underestimate small-scale agriculture: most policies are designed and implemented on the basis of viewing the agricultural sector as a ‘burden’ rather than understanding the potential of small-scale farming, especially in terms of economic growth, social development and employment.

The report focuses on an Enervitabio Ltd project in the municipality of Narbolia in Oristano province. A solar greenhouse plant for agricultural production was built, with an energy production target of 27 megawatts (MW). The plant is a relevant example of a trend whereby hundreds of hectares of prime farmland are being used for solar greenhouse projects that have various negative impacts: not only are they undermining the rights of local communities to produce food and secure access to land, but also they are skirting the law and eroding the capacity of small farmers to contribute to resolving the crisis affecting Italy. The case of Narbolia solar greenhouses illustrates how large industrial groups and foreign investors are taking advantage of government subsidies and national laws to amass profits, regardless of the largely adverse impact on Sardinian agriculture.

Moreover, such projects have been capturing financial resources intended for the agricultural sector. These issues prompted community reactions and protests. Since 2012, local mobilisation and resistance have mainly been expressed via the local ‘S’Arrieddu for Narbolia’ Committee. The groups composing the Committee have been intensively active in disseminating information and also bringing lawsuits concerning the irregularities outlined in the paper.

Land Grabbing in France: the case of Notre-Dame-des-Landes Airport
By Anton Pieper
A highly disputed and much resisted airport project in the French countryside provides a clear example of politicized agrarian struggle within the context of land grabbing and artificialisation in Western Europe. The grab of 2,000 hectares of agricultural lands for an airport whose relevance is being contested, demonstrates one of the ways in which large corporations are currently seizing land. It embodies the problem of arable lands being diverted and ‘artificialized’ for industrial and urban uses, a change driven by large-scale capital interests.

This takeover, achieved through a ‘revolving door’ configuration between government and corporations leaving little space for local democracy involves hundreds of millions of euros, among other issues, while the government refuses to consider alternatives put forward by the resisters. Although debated for more than four decades, the issue took a new turn in 2008 with the granting of building permission, and in 2011, with the publicity surrounding farmers squatting on the land in protest.

Local farmers and activists and other spontaneous formations have been united in the resistance against the 'Grand Ouest' airport project. Renaming the area ZAD, Zone à Défendre (Zone to Defend), and themselves zadistas, activists, farmers and local residents have been resisting the development of the airport by occupying the land expropriated by the state on behalf of Vinci, the company which won the tender for construction works. With the increasing pressure and police violence, especially since the forced eviction procedures started in October 2012 this land struggle, characterised by its diversity and creativity, is loosing ground.

The politics of land and food in urban cities in the North: reclaiming urban agriculture and the struggle
By Kim Möhrs, Franziskus Forster, Sarah Kumnig, Lukas Rauth – members of Solidarisch Landwirtschaften! (SoliLa!) in Austria
Against the backdrop of a larger and long-term decline in the farming population in Austria, small farmers are abandoning agriculture at a particularly alarming rate. Loss of access to land is a key factor. One-third of the arable farmland has been lost in Austria since 1951. Today 20 ha of land per day are enclosed for roads, buildings, infrastructure projects, and numerous other real estate activities associated with urban sprawl. This is twice as fast as in Germany and occurs within an EU context whereby 1,000 km2 is lost per year.

The rural exodus in Austria and the loss of agricultural land is thus linked to broader questions of land use and land planning which transcend the traditional rural-urban dichotomy. It is in fact at the rural-urban interface, that the battle for the valuation, use, and meaning of land can become most apparent.

Vienna shows how land used agricultural purposes - from urban gardens, to allotments, to various forms of community supported agriculture - is often the most expendable when faced with competing pressures and interests. Agricultural land use in Vienna shrank by 20% between 1999 and 2010 while the number of farms decreased by 30.2% between 1995 and 1999 - 67.7% of those disappearing farms holding less than five hectares.

In response to the loss of agricultural urban spaces and in protest against the prohibitively high cost of leasing or buying land, land occupations have been carried out in the city with the aim to build a broader alliance for food and land sovereignty. Thus, the insights from urban land struggles and urban political ecology must be taken into account when examining the scale and nature of land grabbing in Europe.

The Return of the White Horse: Land Grabbing in Hungary
By Robert Fidrich
With Hungary’s accession to the EU, land and natural resources are increasingly being commodified and controlled by large-scale capital to the detriment of Hungary’s small-scale farmers. The highly unequal distribution of EU agricultural subsidies under the Common Agricultural Policy has played a major role. In the first six years after EU accession, the majority of small farmers were not eligible to apply for subsidies, effectively excluding 93% of Hungary’s total farming population. In 2009, 8.6% of farms were receiving 72% of the agricultural subsidies. The low price of land in Hungary compared to the old EU member states has been another key driving factor behind a new wave of land grabbing.

Although a moratorium on land ownership by foreigners is currently in place, the expected lifting of this ban in 2014 has already spurred outside actors to grab and control large areas of land through various means. The Hungarian government now estimates that around 1.0-1.5 million ha land is in the hands of foreigners, many of them from Austria, who have been able to capture significant amount of national and EU agricultural subsidies. Though the purposes for which the land is grabbed vary – from   motorcycle rings and golf courses to hotels and private luxury estates - in all cases, it is Hungary’s family farmers and local food cultures that are losing out.

Scramble for land in Romania: an iron fist in a velvet glove
By Judith Bouniol
Across Romania, natural resources have become the object of greed and massive investments. Lands are being grabbed for many purposes – agricultural, mining, energy, tourism, water resources and speculation. It is reported that around 800,000 ha, or 6% of Romanian farmland, could already be in the hands of transnational corporations. In this case, Europe is all at once a land grabber, a site of, and context for land grabbing. The phenomenon is hidden behind the harmonious image of Romanian accession to the EU, including the liberalisation of national market to foreign buyers.

The country is ideal for investments in land and agro-industrial products. Its natural characteristics make it suitable for cereal crops, large areas are potentially available and land costs less than in the rest of Europe. Rural areas are being abandoned, leaving behind an ageing and vulnerable local population who who not have much alternative but to accept the arrival of agro-industrial European corporations that settle legally through lease or purchase of land.

In addition, government legislation and support favour large-scale investors. It is probably that some element of speculation to capture the lucrative EU CAP subsidies is one of the drivers of the grabs. Half of the subsidies were received in 2012 by 1% of the farmers, all of whom have farm size above 500 ha. However, the apparent legality is like a velvet glove disguising the aggressiveness of the iron fist driving the phenomenon. Land is being massively seized and the control over the benefits of its exploitation as well as the power to decide on its use is being monopolized in private hands.
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