One per cent of the world’s farms operate 70% of crop fields, ranches and orchards, according to a report that highlights the impact of land inequality on the climate and nature crises. Since the 1980s, researchers found control over the land has become far more concentrated both directly through ownership and indirectly through contract farming, which results in more destructive monocultures and fewer carefully tended smallholdings. Taking the rising value of property and the growth of landless populations into account for the first time, the report calculates land inequality is 41% higher than previously believed.

The authors said the trend was driven by short-term financial instruments, which increasingly shape the global environment and human health. “In the past, these instruments were only of concern to the markets. They didn’t affect us individually. But now they touch every aspect of our lives because they are linked to the environmental crisis and the pandemic,” said Ward Anseeuw, senior technical specialist at the International Land Coalition, which led the research along with a group of partners including Oxfam and the World Inequality Lab. The study published on Tuesday, is based on 17 new research papers as well as analysis of existing data and literature. It says previous calculations of land inequality were based exclusively on ownership and the size of individual farms. On this basis, land inequality narrowed until the 1980s, after which it became wider. Link

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