According to the authors, more than 2 million hectares of Cambodian land have been leased to investors since 2000. Combined satellite and local records show that deforestation on leased land is 29% to 105% higher than in comparable unleased areas.
<Abstract from the conclusion>
From a substantive point of view, we indeed find evidence of positive spillovers from large farm establishment on neighboring small and medium farmers in terms of adopting some practices and accessing fertilizer and pesticides. At the same time we fail to find positive spillover effects on markets for other factors, in particular labor, output market participation, and-if other inputs are controlled for- yields. Most spillover effects are quite localized, i.e. there is no support for the hypothesis of establishment of large farms beyond a 25 or at most 50 km radius to have any impact on smallholders. Also, a significant negative impact of large farm establishment on neighboring smallholders' subjective well-being implies that, the positive learning effects notwithstanding, those in close proximity (within 25 km) perceive unobserved negative external effects. Further research to explore whether this perception can be attributed to specific events, such as loss or degradation of resources smallholders have traditionally relied upon, or the general uncertainty and disruption of traditional patterns of life due to sudden appearance of an unfamiliar farming operation next door will be important to help shape a proper response (i.e. either regulation and enforcement of existing rules or communication).
Promoters of development projects usually rely on favourable financial evaluations to decide whether or not to implement them. Some follow non-binding frameworks to minimise the negative impacts of these projects, but these are entirely voluntary. Faced with this situation, what we can do is use economic evaluations to determine whether a project will help achieve common interest objectives – such as generating a net increase in wealth and ensuring that it is equitably distributed within the communities concerned.
Since the mid-2000s, corporate sector investments in agriculture in developing countries have increased sharply, driven by rising commodity prices, the strategic concerns of food-importing countries, and commercial opportunities. Using the findings of fieldwork conducted by UNCTAD and the World Bank in countries across Africa and Asia, this chapter focuses on the impact of such investments on communities in South-East Asia. Relying on interviews with representative of the companies concerned and with members of local communities, as well as other stakeholders, carried out using a dyadic approach, the chapter provides detailed findings on the impact of investments in areas such as employment, incomes, land rights and the environment. It shows that both beneficial and negative consequences of agricultural investments can be traced to specific factors, such as decisions taken by investors (and governments) at the early stages of investment processes, the business models utilised, and investor-community relationships, as well as the degree to which responsible approaches are built into operations. The findings on Asia, as well as from the wider study on which this chapter is based, offer valuable information for governments, investors and civil society groups with regard to designing policies and practices, and to establishing relationships between these actors and monitoring areas relevant to the impact and performance of investments.
Investment contracts for agriculture : maximizing gains and minimizing risks (English)
Investing in agribusiness : a retrospective view of a Development Bank's investments in agribusiness in Africa and Southeast Asia and the Pacific (English)