Feeding the one percent

Feeding the one percent

His Grupo Siva, and the myriad of subsidiaries that make it up, have acquired shares in nearly one million hectares of land in the Americas, Africa and Asia, especially in lands where oil palm plantations operate.

But Sivasankaran is also a land grabber and a tax evader.

Like most major investors in agriculture, its investments have been funneled through a web of shell companies based in offshore tax shelters.

The companies in which he owns shares are involved in dubious land deals and bribery schemes, and appear to be far better at funneling generous payments into the pockets of their directors than producing food.

Perhaps the most alarming side effect of this type of investment is the commodification of land and the marginalization of the communities that depend on it. Wherever Grupo Siva and people like them enter, they secure title to vast parcels of land by whatever means necessary - often without the informed consent of affected communities.

They then use this land as a lever to obtain more cash and credit and thus conduct more business with land.

Instead of increasing food production, this new wave of investment actually threatens to drive peasants off their land and erode their food sovereignty.

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