Land Grabs in the Global South


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By Amy Swoboda and Charles Francis

Changes in land ownership and agricultural practices in third-world countries may have major impact on the economy of the Great Plains, including competition for export crops, increased immigration pressure, and accelerated global climate change. Land Grabs in the Global South (AGRO 496/896) is a new resident and distance course from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that will reveal how much land in the Global South has changed hands within the last decade, and the consequences of a move from small, diverse farming operations to industrial monocultures.

This course will explore multiple perspectives surrounding these land transfers, including the need for investment and improved technology, food versus export crops, impacts on smallholder farmers, and alternatives that promote agriculture with appropriate technologies. Ultimately, students will join the search for greater food security and sovereignty while evaluating the pros and cons of outside investment and technology. Students will have access to lectures from experienced people in sustainable agriculture, guided discussions, and the opportunity to develop a case study about a specific situation in the Global South.

This is an open online education opportunity that is available to everyone. UNL students can enroll for credit to attend on campus or participate by distance. Non-UNL students can register for credit in the distance option. All others can gain access to the course materials and become informed about this important topic. Information and reading materials will be provided online through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The course is available February–April 2015. Course instructors are Amy Swoboda, JD, and Charles Francis, PhD. Anyone interested in participating may contact Kathy Schindler (kschindler1[at]unl[dot]edu) at the course website,, for instructions on how to obtain an ID and password to access the course.

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