The warning last week by Oxfarm International to African countries to 'take urgent measures' to help the poor to retain ownership of their land on which they hake their livelihood needs to be taken seriously by Governments of developing countries.
In one of its recommendations in the new report 'Land and Power: The Growing Scandal around the new wave of investments in Land' that was unveiled last week by Oxfarm International, says many land deals entered into between buyers and sellers 'lack transparency' and effects on local communities are disastrous.
This is more so because local communities don't have full knowledge of their legal rights and can't project what could happen in the future because of their short-term interests in quick money.
Marc Wegerif, Oxfarms's International Economic Justice Campaign Coordinator for East, Central and the Horn of Africa zone, said a recent record of investment in land has showed a rapid intensifying pressure on land - a finite natural resource providing food security for millions in rural areas.
He noted that too many investments have resulted in dispossession, deception, violation of human rights and destruction of livelihood of rural people.
It is estimated that many developing countries have sold as much as 227 million hectares or leased since 2001, mostly to international investors - with much of the acquisitions taking place over the last two years, according to the 'Land Matrix Partnership' research findings.
The recent craze on bio-fuels spearheaded by European countries sends investors scarring for land to gain from EU's market prospects for seeds oil to replace fossil fuels in the next two decades, has seen many countries falling victims to this global push and grabbing of fertile lands which should be left to food crops.
Some EAC countries such as Uganda and Tanzania have 'good' land laws on people's rights, but most acquisitions violate the very spirit of the land laws.
Upon realization of the permanent loss of their land, locals turn against authorities especially local Government officials who introduced the idea to sell land to foreign investors for failing to telling them about the possible negative consequences and their rights.
The running battles between pastoralists and sedentary communities in many countries are partly caused by diminishing pasture land, worsened by drought, which results in rural people of different preoccupation to fight over land use and causing deaths to innocent people.
Economists and activists heap blame on globalization which sends investors foraging for resources and land across the world, particularly in countries which are ignorant of the consequences that befall rural folks upon selling their ancestral lands.
All the Oxfarm advice does is to awaken developing countries to take great care to ensure foreign investments in rural land will benefit present and future generations of the rural people before the situation gets worse. It is a timely piece of advice.