Much arable land in developing countries is inefficiently managed or lies fallow: Since this became the accepted, World Bank-endorsed narrative in 2008, it has shaped the agricultural policies of many developing countries. At the same time, it has opened the doors to private investors seeking to acquire land for the long term.
A country that has relied heavily on this model is Lao PDR. The Southeast Asian country has managed to generate an economic boom, reducing poverty and creating a significant number of jobs in rural areas. A Lao researcher examined the data as part of his doctoral studies at CDE – and the results are sobering.