“Land laundering”: How Colombian Paramilitaries Hijack Grassroots Development

I wrote a guest blog post for Future Agricultures that gives a straight-forward preview of the talk I’m giving this week at the Global Land Grabs conference hosted by Cornell University. A teaser:

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…

For more, go to the site for the rest of the post and check out the conference line up. My draft of the paper (PDF) I’m presenting is also up on the site.

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