The war in Ukraine may trigger land investment rush

A hypothesis that could have an impact on the environment, local communities and food supply

One year after the start of the war in Ukraine, researchers Maria Cristina Rulli of the Politecnico di Milano, Jampel Dell'Angelo of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, and Paolo D'Odorico of the University of California at Berkeley, publish in the prestigious Science journal an analysis the potential impact of the invasion on agriculture and rural livelihoods in developing countries.

In previous global food supply crises, spikes in food and energy prices were followed by new waves of transnational land investment and land grabbing.

The authors provide a detailed analysis of the factors that have been identified as drivers or precursors of the “land races” occurred in the 21st century - such as the food supply crisis in periods of increased demand for agricultural products, the demand for renewable energy or the need for diversification of financial investments – to draw a parallel with current conditions.

After 2008, in the aftermath of the global financial and food crisis, there was a notable increase in land investments with large-scale land acquisitions.

explains Maria Cristina Rulli, Professor of Hydrology at our university.

Large-scale land acquisitions often target forest land that is subsequently ‘developed’ through logging, leading to habitat destruction, increased greenhouse gas emissions and loss of access to ancestral land by local people who historically relied on these forests for firewood, food or shelter.

The analysis reflects on the policy implications of the agrarian transition associated with this new wave of land acquisitions, reminding us that the policy frameworks currently in place have historically been ineffective in preventing the previous land rush and its detrimental impacts on livelihoods and the environment.

Find out more
The article is online
Agritech @polimi