Around the world, more than 30 million hectares were acquired by only 490 owners. Data from Grain organization relate to the year 2016 and have – albeit incompletely – the recent history of land grabbing, a worldwide phenomenon that can be defined as the mega acquisition of land by foreign investors. Big corporations, funds. The Grain warns, this trend continues to grow .
And Brazil is one of the main protagonists. Mainly as territory of these acquisitions. But it already appears as a buyer. Grain’s report includes among the world’s most prominent the expansion of the JBS group in Australia. The company already has five establishments with 10 thousand hectares, with annual production of 330 thousand head of cattle. Only the Australian JBS exports to over 80 countries – which illustrates the global scale of land grabbing.
Africa and South America
Brazilian agribusiness is also present in Colombia, with the group Mónica Semillas , which takes the name of Mato Grosso businesswoman Monica Marchett – soy producer Sergio daughter John Marchett, a major shareholder of the company. Grain has identified 8,889 hectares of Monica’s soy and corn in Colombia. But the corporation still has 70,000 hectares in Bolivia and lands in Paraguay. According to Grain, the company has already been ordered to pay 2 million pesos for undue subsidies, which violate the Colombian land law.
Paraguay appears twice with Brazilians in the report, for the activities of the Favero Group and Wilmar dos Santos. Both sojeiros. The first has 33,719 hectares. Santos would have 1,000 hectares – Grain’s criterion for large estates is the 500-hectare plot. The Paraguayan Senate has expropriated 11,000 hectares of Tranquilo Favero for a park. Wilmar dos Santos is defined in the report as one of many Brazilian “colonialists”, producers of transgenic soy. The agrochemicals of Wilmar dos Santos would be poisoning animals and water courses used by peasants.
Asperbras represents Brazilian investments in Congo, with properties totaling 50,000 hectares. Entrepreneur Francisco Colnaghi has a wide range of crops in the country: sugar cane, livestock, soy and corn. The total area planted would have already exceeded 100 thousand hectares. Still in Africa, the Brazil Agrobusiness Group – by Frademir Saccol – appears in the report with 8,000 hectares of rice in Ghana. Six hundred peasants cleared to court against the company.
In Sudan, the Pinesso Group – of the South-Pomeranian family Pinesso – has 12,000 hectares for grain production, in partnership with the local government. And look at Mozambique. (In Brazil, in 2015, the group had 110,000 hectares in Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul and Piauí and was in bankruptcy for a debt of R $ 571 million .)
But Brazil appears much more often in the report as a target of investors. And with quantities of land – acquired or managed by foreigners – even more fabulous. Let’s see:
1) BrasilAgro, with capital of Argentina Cresud (which was already an investment of George Soros and also has Chinese input), has 166 thousand hectares for cane, grains and livestock.
2) The Canadian Brookfield Asset Management Fund has 97,127 hectares for the production of soybeans and sugar cane in Brazilian lands. And it is eyeing the acquisition of more plants.
3) Green Universe Agribusiness also serves as the Chongqing Grain Group, the largest Chinese state-owned grain company. In Brazil, according to Grain’s report (the NGO, not the company), the group has 100,000 hectares, more than half of them “as if they were Brazilians.” The MST occupied an area of 750 hectares in 2015 in Porto Alegre, defining it as unproductive.
4) Another Chinese state-owned company, Cofco, appears with 145,000 hectares of sugarcane in the report. With capital rights in Singapore, private equity fund Hopu Investment Management and the World Bank.
5) The French Louis Dreyfus Commodities attends the report on land grabbing with no less than 430,000 hectares in Brazil. For cane, rice, oranges and dairy. And it still operates another 500 thousand hectares, without property rights. The group controls 10% of the world market for agricultural raw materials, reports Grain. The group is in 12 Brazilian states.
6) India is already present in Brazil. Shree Renuka Sugars – here, Renuka do Brasil – has 139 thousand hectares of sugar cane, from the purchase, in recent years, of Brazilian mills. The Equipav group owns 49.7% of the shares.
7) Japan’s Mitsubishi operates in Brazil by Agrex do Brasil. There are 70,000 hectares of soybeans in the states of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Goiás. Brazil’s Paulo Fachin has a 20% stake in the group.
8) Two more Japanese companies are in the Grain report. Sojitz Corporation (here, Contagalo) produces 150,000 hectares of soybeans, corn and wheat. The plans are to triple production and acquire another 200 thousand hectares.
9) The other Japanese company is Mitsui & Co, with 87,000 hectares of grain in Bahia, Maranhão and Minas Gerais. The Brazilian face of the group is SLC-MIT Empreendimentos Agrícolas.
10) The Netherlands enters the list with the Iowa Group, at BXR Group. There are 12 thousand hectares of grain in Bahia. The BXR belongs to the Czech Zdenek Bakala (we are talking about globalization, after all), in partnership with Credit Suisse.
11) New Zealand appears with discreet 850 hectares in Goiás. Largest dairy exporter in the world, Dairy Partners America supplies this activity with Swiss Nestlé.
12) The ancient city is also part of this new colonization: Portugal is on the Brazilian list of land grabbing with Nourish, or Prio Foods in Brazil with 29,528 hectares. A third of this area is in Maranhão, where the company intends to acquire another 14 thousand hectares.
13) Another country marked by the historical metropolis, the United Kingdom, composes this scenario with the investment fund Altima Partners (or, regionally, El Tejar), with 130 thousand hectares for livestock and grains, mainly in Mato Grosso.
14) And speaking of foreign investors, how about, again, the name George Soros? The US – which illustrates the main picture of this report – controls 127,000 hectares in Brazil, according to Grain, through Adecoagro, in partnership with a Dutch pension fund. The range of crops is varied: coffee, cane, grains, livestock.
15) The last six investors on the list are US. Let’s start with Archer Daniels Midland and his 12 mi hectares to produce palm oil in Pará.
16) One of the most well-known names on the list, the multinational Bunge manages 230,000 hectares of sugarcane in Brazil, through partnerships, and still has 10,000 hectares of the Guarani (the name still contains an irony).
17) And we still have 25,000 hectares with Galtere, an investment fund created by former Cargill salesman, for rice and soybean production. The group is targeting over 22,000 hectares.
18) Sugar cane reappears in Cargill’s 35,000-hectare report. Proterra Investiment Partners invested US $ 175 million in mills in Brazil in 2015.
19) The Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association (TIAA), a teacher pension fund, manages one of the most representative slices of foreign investors: 424,000 hectares. In partnership with the Brazilian Cosan. Read more here: ” American Fund teachers now controls 270,000 hectares in Brazil .”
20) Finally, reiterating that this list only deals with the investments mentioned by Grain in the 2016 report, YBY Agro controls 320 thousand hectares of land in Brazil. The company was created by two former Brazilian executives from Bank of America. But 45% of the company belongs to private funds from the United States. Another 35% are with the Brazilian group Francioni Brothers and Golin. The lands are in the cerrado.
Total land of Brazilians in the world, according to Grain’s partial list (Oceania, Africa and South America): 124 thousand hectares.
Total of lands controlled in Brazil by the 20 foreign groups mentioned: 2.74 million hectares. A Haiti. Or half of Croatia.
Average per group: 137 thousand hectares
Source: http://www.revistaforum.com.br/ Alceu Luís Castilho
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