March 2014 – The authors conducted extensive interviews of farmers in twelve villages in southern China, where Stora Enso, a large multinational pulp and paper producer, had acquired large areas of farmers’ forestland rights for its eucalyptus plantations. The research findings indicate that in this region of China, large-scale land acquisition by multinational companies coupled with local government’s desire for international investment tends to weaken farmers’ tenure security, reduce rule of law in the countryside, and threaten the livelihoods of farmers who depend on land for their living. Government intervention in the forestland acquisition (and the company’s reliance on such intervention) can trigger widespread coercive, fraudulent and legally questionable transactions, failure to respect FPIC principle and failure to pay rent to farmers. To correct such misconduct, companies should design and implement a “pro-farmer” corrective action process, strictly follow the laws and central government policies related to acquisition of forestland, make rental payments directly to individual farmer households, and improve institutional grievance mechanisms to effectively address farmers’ concerns. This Paper was prepared for presentation at the “2014 World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty” in Washington DC, March 24-27. Authored by Li Ping & Wang Xiaobei.
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Landesa partners with governments and local organizations to ensure that the world’s poorest families have secure rights over the land they till. Founded as the Rural Development Institute, Landesa has helped more than 105 million poor families gain legal control over their land since 1967. When families have secure rights to land, they can invest in their land to sustainably increase their harvests and reap the benefits—improved nutrition, health, and education—for generations.