A Land Grab Scenario for Indonesia? Food Security and the Logic of Land Transformation in the 'Outer Islands'

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics | Indonesia Project

Event details

Indonesia Study Group

Date & time

Wednesday 16 November 2011


Seminar Room B, Coombs Building, Fellows Road, ANU


John McCarthy (Crawford School of Economics and Government, ANU)


Indonesia Project
+61 2 6125 3794
The magnitude and speculative nature of land transactions following the emergence of food security and climate change as serious issues has surprised observers. Investors seeking to exploit new market opportunities for food crops, industrial cash crops and bio-energy production and carbon sequestration have inflated a ‘new bubble’ involving large scale land acquisitions (or ‘land grabs’). Some analyses have suggested that up to 80 million hectares globally are subject to such land transactions. The paper considers the tenurial, governance and political-economic complexities shaping extensive food, industrial and biofuel, and carbon sequestration projects that now encompass millions of hectares of land in ‘outer island’ Indonesia. The paper finds similarities between outer island Indonesia and countries that a recent World Bank report identified as facing the threat of high risk land acquisitions. Finally, the paper reflects on how land acquisitions are changing patterns of land use and property relations and considers the implications for food security in contexts where livelihood patterns are rapidly changing.

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