With the start of peace negotiations this week that will hopefully bring an end to Colombia’s civil war, it’s time for researchers and watchdog groups to take a closer look at the role of armed conflict in the rising global interest in farmland.
For a variety of armed actors, displacing peasant farmers is both a means and an end for waging war. It’s how they gain territorial control. Land is the violent meeting point of heated ideological struggles and cold economic interests.
A major World Bank study last year found that one in five people in the world live in conflict-affected countries, including those with high levels of organized crime. Almost all these countries also appear in a World Bank report on the rising global interest in farmland—or what some scholars call the “global land grab.”
The geographical overlap is not surprising…