‘Water Grab’: Big Farm Deals Leave Small Farmers Out to Dry

Environmental News from Asia: 

  • Large agricultural investment projects are often promoted as a way to increase food production and food security, but a recent analysis indicates that such projects often threaten water resources that local farmers and Indigenous populations depend on.
  • While such investments can increase crop yields through the expansion of irrigation, the majority of the 160 projects studied were found to be likely to intensify water shortages through both the adoption of water-intensive crops and the expansion of irrigated cultivation.
  • In effect, the researchers say, such deals can amount to “water grabs,” creating a crisis for local farmers who now find themselves competing with big investors for limited water resources.

In Africa and beyond, large-scale agricultural investment projects have often been promoted as a means to increase food security and boost economies in the face of drought and famine, increasing efficiency and opening up new land for farming.

However, a recent analysis of 160 land deals across 39 countries indicates that, more often than not, such projects in fact target land that already has easy access to irrigation; put a strain on water resources and compete with local smallholder farmers.

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Source: Mongabay

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