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Harvard University’s Investments into Farmland Steps on Indigenous People

Touch the Soil News #1116 (Feature photo – Argentine Farmer protests Harvard’s Farm Investments – photo courtesy of Responsible Investment at Harvard Coalition) The global farmland grab trend attracts money from large investors looking to harvest more money than they put in. In the process, indigenous people are often dispossessed of their land and ways of life. Caught in the middle is Harvard that made some poor investment into foreign farmland that backfired, but not before much damage was done. You can read the full story here: https://www.grain.org/article/entries/6006-harvard-s-billion-dollar-farmland-fiasco https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OzkBT6nZwyo Want More? – Sign up below Special Deals Ahead…Sign up!

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Companies Becoming More Powerful than Countries

Touch the Soil News #1094 (Feature photo – Rainforest Destruction, Often the Outcome of Corporate Land Grabbing – CC SA 2.0 Generic) In a sobering story at farmlandgrab.org, research is showing that large corporations are able to take land out from under the control of indigenous people. Most of the investors behind land grabbing schemes unfortunately come from the nations of the United States, the United Kingdom, China, United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. In a stunning accusation, author Shenali Waduge argues that the winners of globalizations and international trade agreements are the multinational corporations, since they are the least bothered by religion, ethnicity, culture or preservation of history. You can…

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How Important is Your Yard?

Touch the Soil News #1044 (Feature photo – Backyard Garden – GNU Free Doc License) To help put that into perspective, there is value in being sensitive to events overseas. The international forum Farmlandgrab.org just published a short piece on the Great Polish Land Grab. The story has common themes around the world. Local and indigenous farmers are being forced out of business because they cannot afford to buy farmland. The influx of foreign capital is raising the price of farmland beyond what farmers can afford. Often, there are local henchmen that aid foreign interests in acquiring the land out from under a particular nation’s farmers. Polish farmers are complaining…

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Land Grabbing

Touch the Soil News #1010 (Feature photo – Angolan cattle herd on indigenous land at risk – CCA SA 4.0 International) The pressure/competition for limited resources around the world has given birth to the concept of land grabbing. Land grabbing is when outside investors – often with the help of corrupt local officials – gain control of farmland out from under the locals who rightfully control it. In many cases, the funding to acquire farmland in poor nations away from indigenous people comes from the world’s largest investment funds and/or pension funds. The recent video made by the organization “Bread for the World” highlights the problem in African Angola. This…

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Besides Farmers, Who Wants Farms and Water Rights?

Touch the Soil News #987 (Feature photo – Coat of Arms for New South Wales – CCA SA 4.0 International) The short answer to the question of who wants farms and water rights is financial investors. The target of the financial investors in this story is New South Wales of Australia – a large agricultural state. Australia’s proximity to Asia and China (think big population) has put it in the crosshairs of global capital. MERS Global Investments (a U.S. based company) and Optifarm (a Dutch Company) have recently acquired three farming properties in New South Wales according to Global AgInvesting. The farm properties total almost 115,000 acres of which 31,000…

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The Darker Role of Capital – An Occupying Force

Touch the Soil News #883 (Feature photo – The Brazilian Cerrado, a target of foreign investment – CCA SA 3.0 Unported) A few months ago, we did some research on the size and scope of global capital. In this context, capital is money not needed for living, but consolidated for investment. While the numbers are not regularly tabulated (though they should be) we found that the global investment market was valued at around $330 trillion dollars. Of importance is that on the other side of any investment is a debt of some sorts. Either a loan debt, a debt employees owe to stockholders, or a debt that investors believe the…

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Another Billion Dollar Farm and Food Investment

Touch the Soil News #838 (Feature photo – Saudi Coat of Arms) Unlike the economics of the past as envisioned by the World Trade Organization (WTO) – fostering global trade often for the benefit of the big traders, a newer form of trade – if you will – is festering. It is trade designed specifically for food security of specific nations. Saudi Arabia (population 33 million) and the United Arab Emirates (population 9.5 million) are working together to secure food from other nations specifically for export to their nations. The two nations just announced they are creating a special financial pool of $1.3 billion dollars to buy farmland, logistics and…

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Farmland Grab – It’s Heating Up

Touch the Soil News #824 (Feature photo Ben Gisin) Farmland Grab is a concept that emerged out of a global food crisis in 2008. At that time, certain foods became short, prices skyrocketed and nations who could not raise all their food, experienced political and social unrest. This caused a number of nations to lose confidence in the global food trade as it provided no assurance of supply. In fact, years of good supply result in price collapses for farmers which can foreshadow domino-effect shortages as farmers retract. One of the world’s largest agricultural nations is Australia. Australia has experienced huge sales of agricultural land to foreigners. Australians have demanded…

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Sobering

Touch the Soil News #805 (Feature photo – The National Congress Building of Brazil – a government unable to exert sufficient control over exploitation of the indigenous people in rural areas – copyright free) Far away in the rainforests and hinterlands of Brazil, agribusinesses and big finance can be found plundering the environment and the indigenous folks who live there.­­­ Recently, a delegation of 30 human rights, development and rural experts collaborated in an unprecedented visit (investigation) to the Brazilian hinterlands. The goal was to uncover rumors of gross misconduct towards indigenous folks from large soybean farm enterprises. See the report summary here: http://www.fian.org/en/news/article/caravana_matopiba_uncovers_alarming_human_and_environmental_costs_of_agribusiness/ The investigation was an international fact…

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Nut Trees – Increasingly Desirable Agricultural Assets

Touch the Soil News #757 (feature photo – Pastachio nuts on the tree – Paolo Galli CC SA 3.0) When the health and nutrition community recognizes certain foods as healthier or health supporting, chances are the financial investments in those commodities will follow. Case in point. Gladstone Land is a company whose business model is based upon owning agricultural land in that produces fruit, vegetables and nuts – no livestock, corn, soybeans or hay. It is not an accident that Gladstone follows land that produces foods most important to health. Nuts are a rising star as relates to healthy eating and Gladstone Land just announced (7/17/2017) that it has purchased…

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