Land and property rights are vital to ensuring strong agricultural economies that support millions of farmers around the world. However, land rights can become contentious in places where legal frameworks are incomplete and land ownership is not clearly established, especially in low-income countries. The lack of certainty may be worsened when decision-making authority on land rights is spread across government agencies with overlapping jurisdictions.
Where rights are unclear, people may be at risk of being dispossessed of their lands and losing their homes and livelihoods. Globally, this issue has a disproportionate impact on women farmers, who often struggle for land tenure. Protecting farmers’ land rights is essential to food security, long-term stewardship of our natural resources and the development of rural communities worldwide.
Cargill believes transparent and secure land rights are the foundation of sustainable farming. Farmers must have the ability to own their own land and pledge it as collateral to ensure they can reinvest in their farms. Secure land rights drive increased productivity, which reduces poverty, encourages rural development and economic growth, and contributes to global food security.
Cargill supports government efforts around the world to clarify land tenure and property rights and to promote good land governance. We believe this is critical to sustainable agriculture and rural development.
We embrace the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization’s Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests. These guidelines help governments and businesses worldwide make responsible investment choices to ensure local peoples’ land rights are protected. They ensure land transactions are transparent, made with the consultation and consent of local communities, and respect rights of communities to land and natural resources.
Cargill’s global ownership of farmland is limited to four palm plantations in Indonesia. As part of our Policy on Sustainable Palm Oil, we pledged no exploitation of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, which includes smallholders’ and other local people’s land rights. We established a grievance procedure to allow stakeholders to raise land and other issues in our palm oil supply chain, and have them dealt with fairly and in a timely manner.