2 responses to “A case of ‘homeland security’”

  1. Harvey Jackson

    I found this very interesting, but I wonder if the authors are perhaps overstating their case. Their main argument seems to be that investors in agribusiness will inevitably be obliged to engage in a radical rethink of the business model because of the security risks and threats that will emerge if they carry on with business as usual’. As examples, they cite the ecological limits of industrial farming, and the negative impacts on local communities and water supply created by foreign companies’ purchase of vast swathes of agricultural land in Africa.

    The long-term risks are clear but isn’t it naïve to think that these risks will deter those investors looking for a quick profit? As we can see everywhere we look, it is precisely because investors are only concerned with short-term profits and show no concern for the future, that we are facing the ‘end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it’ scenario.

    • Harvey Jackson, received by email

  2. Alejandro Litovsky

    Mr. Jackson raises a good point. As with all other sustainability agendas, from fisheries to climate change, dealing with not only economic but also political interests that put short-term private gains before long-term goals remains the ultimate challenge. The upsurge in civil society and media activity with regards to land investments, aided by improvements in information, communications, and awareness of the risks involved, is increasing. An investigative drive in civil society, in collaboration with local actors across the world, is raising the profile of this agenda. It is essential that the public scrutiny of land-related investments continues to grow. Given that ultimately there is a limited amount of land available, the popular interest in land-related issues is likely to grow in momentum. In our recent report, ‘The Land Security Agenda: How Investor Risks in Farmland Create Opportunities for Sustainability’, we have laid out a number of parameters and ideas with which to address this challenge – it can be downloaded at http://www.earthsecurity.org. There are obviously no easy solutions to this challenge, but if anything, I believe that the public oversight of the land agenda is going to evolve in very interesting ways.

    Alejandro Litovsky, Founder, Earth Security Initiative.