Call edition 2012

A new edition of the Prize of the Belgian Development Cooperation has been launched. This call is open until March 31st, 2011. You can read in the regulations whether you comply with the criteria for participation.

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Stratégies d'allocation des terres et sécurité alimentaire/Le cas du Brésil

Claire DEBUCQUOIS student nominated


Stratégies d'allocation des terres et sécurité alimentaire/Le cas du Brésil

 Access to proper nutrition is necessary for good health. This relationship is generally accepted in today’s societies. At the same time, development policies have placed poverty reduction at the top of their priority list. Yet most of the world’s poor are found in rural areas, and three-quarters of those suffering of hunger are among them. Food is humanity’s primary basic need, and food security ought to be considered a global public good. Today, many farmers in developing countries are undernourished and faced with serious health problems, when their work should at least provide for the family's nutritional needs.
The work of Claire Debucquois discusses land allocation strategies and their impact on food security, using Brazil as a case study. As the author emphasises, land use issues are central to all development processes. Land is the core of all means of subsistence. It represents both wealth and privation, the nursery of life. The economic role of land resources is obvious, given that they allow the basic life-sustaining activities of agriculture and livestock farming. Land distribution is also an essential element of justice and inclusion, and the cultural and social – in the larger sense, as well as in the specific sense of working conditions and relationships – consequences of land access are incalculable. Finally, the type of farming method used, which is closely connected to land allocation strategies, affects the environment in ways that no longer need to be proved. These three aspects – economic, social, and environmental – form the sustainable development triangle, a concept for which the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro provides an inspiring approach. Because of the fundamental role of land allocation with respect to the aforementioned criteria, and given the large number of dimensions it takes (questions of gender, rural development, education, the insertion of societies in an increasingly global world, etc.), the relevance of the topic discussed in this thesis to sustainable development is obvious.
Using Brazil as a means of discussing the topic is also a judicious choice. This emerging country is one of the agricultural giants currently flooding international markets with agricultural raw materials from large, well-capitalised farm operations. By using the issue of land access in Brazil – a nation suffering not so much from underdevelopment as ‘maldevelopment’, as Fernando Henrique Cardoso liked to say – the study fuels debate on the essential question of food security and sustainable development by analysing the many facets of the issue facing developing nations.
From a more practical viewpoint, the inductive analysis taken for this study is based on numerous interviews with various players in the field, which encourages a multidisciplinary approach to finding solutions that integrate both socio-economic and environmental aspects of the issue. Uneven access to land resources in Brazil – and more broadly speaking the world – is one of the inequalities leading to hunger. Debucquois’s work considers new strategies in the means of land acquisition and weighs in on their impact. It paves the way for better-oriented, and thus more sustainable, development policies in this area.


Report: Prof. Philippe Lebailly, Economic and Rural Development Unit, Université de Liège - Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Belgium