The Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) denounced the World Bank (WB) on its “16th Conference on Land and Poverty” that brings together corporations, governments and some civil society groups. The conference is taking place at Washington D.C. from March 23 to 27.
“Under the guise of the need to feed 9 billion people by 2050, the FAO and WB reported that the world needs to increase investment in agriculture, coming from the public and private sectors. The FAO estimates that private sector agricultural investment alone, including foreign direct investment, must rise from some $142 billion per year to $209 billion in order to feed a growing population. In 2013 alone, WB investment to agriculture and agriculture-related projects was over $8 billion. But for whom are these investments?” questioned Rahmat Ajiguna, APC deputy secretary general, also the secretary general of the Indonesia based Aliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA).
“We strongly condemn the WB for its role in global land grabs. In 1970s, the WB actually promoted its own brand of ‘market-assisted land reform’, ” stated Ajiguna adding that “according to the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), after President Ferdinand Marcos’ ouster in 1986 in the Philippines, the Corazon Aquino government was compelled by the strength of both the armed and legal movement for genuine land reform to come up with its own agrarian reform program. But Aquino’s Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program (CARP), which ironically was also implemented by her son, President Benigno Aquino III, was never meant to distribute land to the poor and landless peasants. CARP clearly echoed many of the recommendations of the WB’s 1975 Land Reform Policy Paper. Worst of all, the WB land reform concept is indeed distributing land — from the poor to the rich.”