Professor International Development Studies at the faculty of Human geography and Planning (University of Utrecht). She is currently chair of the International Development Studies (IDS) group, at Utrecht University, chair of IS-academy Land Governance (a partnership between IDS, ASC, Wageningen University, KIT, Oxfam Novib, Royal Haskoning-DHV, VNG international, Agriterra and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs), member of the advisory board of the Facility for infrastructure development (ORIO), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Agentschap NL)), member of the Supervisory Board of the National Committee for International Cooperation and Sustainable Development (NCDO), Human Cities Coalition and Soilcares/ Dutch Sprouts, and member of the Supervisory Board of the Prince Bernard chair.
The idea that there is a “land grab” taking place in developing nations began with the publication of a report, Seized! by the NGO Grain. This rang an alarm bell about large-scale land acquisitions – particularly by a number of Asian countries and Gulf States, which are acquiring millions of hectares of fertile agricultural land, predominantly in Africa.
The global land rush has not lifted small-scale farmers out of poverty, nor has it increased agricultural productivity and food security. Speculative land acquisitions often leave fertile land unused, and deprive local communities of vital resources.