Land acquisition refers to the process by which government or government agencies acquire the use or ownership rights to large areas of land for production of agricultural commodities or some other public purpose. Land acquisition is different from land purchase (for which the sale of the land is made by a willing seller) and can be taken if necessary by force after paying due compensation. Land may also be acquired by private companies for where work is likely to prove useful to the public.
Several factors underpin land acquisition, including including food security concerns, government consumption targets and financial investments in bio-fuels, and other infrastructure (such as roads, dams, etc.) and economic growth initiatives. Rates of return in agriculture and rising agricultural commodity prices also make the acquisition of land for agricultural production an increasingly attractive option for investors.
Land acquisition has also generated debates around the fallouts of such developments for the poor and the environment as local people may lose access to the resources on which they depend for their food security and livelihoods. However, in many contexts, large-scale production can help modernize the agricultural sector and maximize food production.