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Agricultural land concentration and land grabbing in the EU: modern challenges

O. Borodina, V. Yarovyi, O. Mykhailenko

Economy and Forecasting, 2017, issue 4, 109-124

Abstract: This paper provides an analysis of the trends in agricultural land use and land concentration in the EU. Land grabbing, a new emerging trend in the EU, is in the focus. The authors argue there is an exclusion of agricultural lands from local and rural development, and from agriculture, while agrarian investments fail to meet the principles for responsible investments. The paper aims to examine and summarize the factors that drive agricultural land concentration and grabbing in the EU, and define the extent of these processes and their consequences. The authors show that the European and national legislations fail in preventing negative consequences of agricultural land concentration and grabbing, and in ensuring the priority of family farms as a basis of the EU agrarian system. The analysis focuses on such drivers of these processes as significant difference in land prices, speculations, emerging and strengthening corporate sector in the agriculture, imperfection of the EU sectoral policies and conflicts between them and between their instruments. The analysis confirms that increasing number of large-scale land contracts, monopolizing control over agricultural lands, and structural changes in land use decrease the viability of both agricultural sector and rural areas. The land grabbing leads to replacing the family farming model with industrial farming and large corporate enterprises usually established with participation of international capital. The above mentioned phenomena threaten the European agrarian system, sustainable and multifunctional agriculture, food security, and environment. The authors prove the necessity of an integrated and differentiated approach to deal with agricultural land concentration and grabbing due to the variable nature of the underlying factors.

Date: 2017
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