Large-scale land deals are not a 'bubble' | New online interface Land Matrix

Today a new report and website provide important insight into the complex, global phenomenon of large-scale acquisition of land. They confirm this is a lasting trend and not a mere “bubble”.

While the rush for land may have peaked in 2009, it continues. Analysis of international land investments for agriculture through over one thousand deals since 2000 suggests that they are geographically concentrated – just 11 countries, many in East Africa and Southeast Asia, account for 70% of the total land area acquired in these deals.

Close examination also reveals that almost half of land in question is already being used for crops, implying competition between investors and small-scale farmers. “Land acquisition does often take place in areas with considerable population density, not so-called ‘idle land’” Says Markus Giger from the Centre for Development and Environment (CDE) at the University of Bern.

The report “Transnational Land Deals for Agriculture in the Global South” draws on data now made accessible in a new online interface called the Land Matrix at This website will provide unprecedented access to verified data on land deals, allowing people to explore and visualize trends from the global level down to individual deals. With a couple of clicks, the Land Matrix provides the urgently needed answers to pressing questions: Who invests where and why? What are the trends?”

The aim of the Land Matrix is to promote transparency and accountability in decisions overland and investment through open data, accessible both via maps and visualizations and via download. Source: GIGA Hamburg.