A desperate and largely unknown humanitarian crisis is deteriorating in the Lake Chad Basin region of West Africa, forcing millions of people to flee their homes and leaving millions more in need of humanitarian assistance. Oxfam is providing life-saving support but help is urgently needed to prevent the crisis turning into a catastrophe.
Colombian law sets limits on the purchase of land previously awarded by the state to beneficiaries of agrarian reform processes, in order to avoid concentration of ownership and to preserve the social function of this land.
Yet between 2010 and 2012, Cargill – the largest agricultural commodity trader in the world – acquired 52,576 hectares of such land in Colombia’s Altillanura region through 36 shell companies created for the purpose. As a result, Cargill may have managed to evade the legal restriction through a method of fragmented purchases, exceeding the maximum size of land permitted by law for a single owner by more than 30 times.
This research report shows how the resolution of this and other similar cases that contribute to rural unrest will test the policy coherence of the Colombian government, which has recently faced major national protests over agrarian problems while having committed itself at peace talks to a more democratic distribution of land and to strengthening the small-farm economy.
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