The Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe (IAMO) organised a podium discussion titled: 'Agricultural Investments in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan – “Land Grabbing” or Development Opportunity? ' in the frame of the 'International Green Week 2012' in Berlin, where experts from science, policy and private sector met to exchange their views at the 'Global Forum for Food and Agriculture'.
Agricultural land has become a highly demanded resource. Media attention and research about the recent wave of investments in farmland (or “land grabbing”) has concentrated almost exclusively on Africa, but significant investments in farmland can also be observed in the post-socialist countries. Russia, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan already attracted significant large-scale investments in their agricultural sector, but the consequences of these investments on the rural economy and the rural population are far from clear. While such land accumulation can bring important and much-needed stimuli for agricultural and rural development, it might also lead to land conflicts between investors and local farmers. For example, spill-over effects to the local population in terms of job creation may be limited, because large-scale investments into agricultural production often concentrate on labour-saving technologies.
The session on 20th January 2012 brought together perspectives from science, policy, and the private sector. It provided a multifaceted view on both foreign as well as domestic investment in farmland and its likely future impacts on the agricultural sector and rural economies in three agriculturally important post-soviet countries.
After an introduction by Prof. Dr. Alfons Balmann, Director of the IAMO und Head of the 'Department for Structural Development of Farms and Rural Areas' (download presentation), Dr. Oane Visser, scientific member of the 'Department Cultural Anthropology and Develpoment Studies' at the Radboud University Nijmegen (The Netherlands) presented the results of his reserch on land investments in Eurasia (download presentation). Stefan Duerr, founder and owner of EkoNiva, a German-Russian group of companies, shared his first hand experience as an investor. Oleksandr Vasylyovych Sen, Vice-Minister of Agriculture in Ukraine and Gulmira Issayeva, counsellor to the Minister of Agriculture of Kazakhstan, as well as Elisa Manukjan from the 'Division of International Food and Agriculture Organizations, World Food Affairs and Sustainable Development' of the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (download presentation) added a political viewpoint to the discussion. Dr. Martin Petrick, Deputy Head of Department Agricultural Policy at IAMO, hosted the session.
The Global Forum for Food and Agriculture was jointly organised by the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection (BMELV) and several partners in the frame of the International Green Week 2012.