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Growing Resource Scarcity and Global Farmland Investment


  • Derek Byerlee

    () (Independent researcher)

  • Klaus Deininger

    () (World Bank, Washington, DC 20433)


Recent strong commodity prices have led to increased investor interest in farmland. Global analysis indicates that suitable land to bring into cultivation is available but concentrated in a limited number of land-abundant countries in Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. In a much larger number of countries, productivity on currently cultivated land is significantly below potential. Higher returns to farming and relatively cheap land have contributed to a wave of investments into farming, mostly through very large ventures in land-rich countries. If land and other markets work well and a regulatory framework is in place, there are opportunities to generate considerable benefits by providing access to capital, technology, and new markets. However, investments have often been controversial because poor land governance and weak institutional capacity have made many of these ventures economically, socially, or environmentally unsustainable. Strengthening land governance and institutions and increasing public investment to raise smallholder productivity are major priorities for most countries to improve development outcomes from these investments.

Suggested Citation

  • Derek Byerlee & Klaus Deininger, 2013. "Growing Resource Scarcity and Global Farmland Investment," Annual Review of Resource Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 13-34, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:anr:reseco:v:5:y:2013:p:13-34

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    Cited by:

    1. Stewart, Fraser & Kragt, Marit & Gibson, Fiona, 2015. "Farmers’ perceptions of foreign investment in Western Australian broadacre agriculture," Working Papers 198540, University of Western Australia, School of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
    2. Deininger, Klaus & Hilhorst, Thea & Songwe, Vera, 2014. "Identifying and addressing land governance constraints to support intensification and land market operation: Evidence from 10 African countries," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 76-87.
    3. Andrea Guariso & Mara P. Squicciarini & Johan Swinnen, 2014. "Food Price Shocks and the Political Economy of Global Agricultural and Development Policy," Applied Economic Perspectives and Policy, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 36(3), pages 387-415.
    4. Dell'Angelo, Jampel & Rulli, Maria Cristina & D'Odorico, Paolo, 2018. "The Global Water Grabbing Syndrome," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 276-285.


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