Enclosure, dispossession and displacement loom large in current debates about the recent boom in transnational farmland deals, and about Chinese agribusiness for export in particular. Often under-examined, however, are the ways that legacies of geopolitical conflict shape the inevitably uneven distribution of enclosure, dispossession and displacement. This paper constructs a case of these micro-geopolitical legacies by examining a Chinese rubber planting promotion project in northwestern Laoss emerging Golden Quadrangle development region. It argues that longstanding concerns about security inform the ways that local authorities deploy investment projects that are otherwise seen as examples of foreign land grabbing. Further, it shows that while the geographical aims of foreign agribusiness mesh with state-mediated resettlement efforts (a darker spin on the narrative of win-win cooperation), these activities often precede current land deals rather than result from them. Chinese agribusiness in Laoss upland interior thus appears less as a driver of displacement than a means for attempting to secure in place a particular (if precarious) configuration of population and security.
Topic: agribusiness,land management,land policy,investment
Publication Year: 2014
Source: Geopolitics 19(2): 377-405