Study on the Impact of Landgrabbing on Nutrition in Four West African Countries

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In matters of poverty, hunger and development indicators, the four selected countries, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Liberia and Mali, are to be found at the bottom of the world scale. They give reason for grave concerns about their nutritional situation. There is a serious lack of food security for a big propotion of the population. The countries are drifting more and more in recent years into a situation of net food importing countries. The food import bills are escalating. Conflicts between new investors in land and the local communities have drawn public attention to the phenomena, called "landgrabbing".

All four countries have allowed the transfer of considerable tracts of arable land into the hands of foreign copanies. The violation of human rights with regard to the affected communities reflects a disconnection between governments and the local people. The seriousness of the situation suggests to resort to international law, to call upon the "Right to Food". But the legal value of a favourable international ruling even in cases of landgrabbing is weak in law. For the Churches the issues are at the centre of the Christian Mission for the "Integrity of Life".

Churches would have the legal standing to bring disputes to the local and international arena.