Throughout much of the developing world, more than a billion poor people lack legal rights to
the land they farm. Increasingly, many are at risk of losing their land due to a recent uptick in
land acquisitions and seizures by private sector interests and governments.
The current land rush is essentially a third wave of outsourcing.
• The first wave, in the 70s and 80s, sent manufacturers scrambling to lower wage
• The second wave involved the outsourcing of white collar service jobs primarily to India
and other English-speaking, low-wage countries.
• Now a third outsourcing wave is sending investors to under-developed nations to buy up
farmland. The reasons for surging demand for farmland are varied – they include rising
food and energy prices and the increasing attractiveness of farmland as an asset class for
Most of these farmland acquisitions are occurring in low-income and middle-income countries,
often in settings where land property rights are weak, unclear, and poorly governed – creating
enormous risks for poor people, investors, and governments.