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Frogs, fuel, finance or food? Cultures, values, ethics, arguments and justifications in the management of agricultural land // Kultur, verdier, etikk og politikk når matjord forvaltes \\

Work Package 3

The Norwegian pension fund’s investment in agricultural land abroad

 

  • Norwegian agricultural land is protected by regulation (allodial and concession acts) as well as a culture of protectionism that prohibits financial speculation of farm land.
  • Parallel to the introspective, protectionist policy for Norwegian food production, Norway is also investing in agriculture abroad through one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, the Norwegian Pension Fund – Global
  •  Wp3 will explore and analyze values, arguments and justifications leading up to management of these investments:

 

  1. Internship report Caroline Yallappa, Food Security in the Mauritian Case
  2. Analysis of Land Grabbing in Madagascar and Mozambique
  3. Internship report and masters thesis Mianda Malambi – Land grab and women land ownership in Zambia
  4. Continuation of research: Norway, Kenya, Great Brittain; Financialisation and Land Acquisitions in Developing Countries: Discourses of Power and Resistance

 

  • Performed by Jostein Brobakk, Hilde Bjørkhaug & Katrina Rønningen.
  • Management Wp3 by Hilde Bjørkhaug

 

Analytical approach and research design

 

Norwegian agricultural land is protected by regulation (allodial and concession acts) as well as a culture of protectionism that prohibits financial speculation of farm land
Parallel to the introspective, protectionist policy for Norwegian food production, Norway is also investing in agriculture abroad through one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, the Norwegian Pension Fund – Global (Moussean and Sosnoff, 2011). Financialisation in the agri-food system is evident “at all points of the agri-food system and are increasingly investing in activities in which they have never before been involved” (Burch and Lawrence 2009: 271). These speculative funds’ activities in the commodity futures market have dramatically increased (FAO/HLPE, 2011a). Through investments in agri-food companies that lease or buy land, often in vulnerable farming systems, Norway is involved in what has been derogatorily termed a “land grab” (Moussean and Sosnoff, 2011).

 

Several land investments aim to develop domestic agriculture, research, knowledge and technology in those countries that are targeted for investments. Concerns have, however, been raised on negative consequences regarding food security, incomes, livelihoods and environment for people in many countries hosting such investments. A large number of small-scale farmers are driven from the land they farm on customary rights (when governments lease out state claimed land (FAO/HLPE, 2011b; Moussean and Sosnoff, 2011). Through these practices, the Norwegian pension fund might prosper in a neo-liberal global financial system, while the speculation based profits are used domestically to maintain a more social-democratic oriented welfare-state model to secure farmers, viable rural communities and food sovereignty. I.e., there appears to be different principles that inform domestic and foreign policy on food sovereignty.

 

This WP will explore and analyze values, arguments and justifications leading up to management of these investments. Are there conflicts of interest between these differing policy goals and regimes home and abroad? WP3 will be informed by data, analysis and discussion provided in and with other WPs. In addition to these data, analyses will be carried out on reports and industry documents on Norwegian land investments and media debates, and interviews with representatives from the Norwegian departments of food and agriculture, finance, and environment and development, and from NGOs that are engaged with these questions such as Framtiden i våre hender, Utviklingsfondet, The Oakland Institute, Farmlandgrab.org in addition to bodies such as FAO and UNCTAD and reports generated by these.

 

Dr. Bjørkhaug, CRR will be responsible for this study in collaboration with junior scientist Jostein Brobakk. WP3 will deliver 2 submitted articles to peer-reviewed publisher (minimum 1 to scientific journals), conference presentations and media texts.

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