The Land Matrix Initiative

What’s the big deal?

Access to land is closely linked to culture and society, food security, poverty alleviation, sustainable livelihoods, and rural transformation. Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs), which can limit access to such land, are therefore an important issue for a wide range of stakeholders – including governments, NGOs, civil society organisations, farmers’ associations, commodity organisations, research institutions, development partners, financial institutions, political parties, and local communities.

The controversial context and complex realities of LSLAs, as well as their potential for creating conflict, mean land deals often take place behind closed doors and information on land tenure is not always available or accessible. This lack of transparency can lead to the marginalisation of local stakeholders and weaken their position in a multi-stakeholder process.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have renewed the demand for good data that can inform action and measure progress towards their achievement. Availability of reliable, up-to-date data is crucial to better understand the context in which LSLAs take place and improve evidence-based decision-making.

The Initiative

The Land Matrix Initiative (LMI) was established in 2009 to address the lack of robust data on LSLAs. It is made up of global and regional partners and aims to facilitate an open development community of citizens, researchers, policy-makers and technology specialists to promote transparency and accountability in decisions over land deals in low- and middle-income countries across the world.

By providing information on planned and implemented LSLAs through the Land Matrix platform, the LMI aims to stimulate transparent and inclusive debate on the trends and impacts of such acquisitions and, in so doing, contribute to strengthening the positions of weaker stakeholders in the political and administrative processes that govern access to land. 

The LMI is coordinated by five global organizations and five regional focal points. Find out more about these partners and other donors here.

The Platform

The Land Matrix online open access platform captures and shares data about LSLAs at global, regional and national level, including intended, concluded, and failed attempts to acquire land through purchase, lease or concession for agricultural production, timber extraction, carbon trading, industry, renewable energy production, conservation, and tourism in low- and middle-income countries.

The first version of the Land Matrix database was launched in April 2012 and provided a systematic overview of large-scale agricultural investments. The database and its conceptual approach have since evolved on the basis of growing expertise, input from public users, and lessons learnt.

Collecting information about land deals is a long and difficult process. The information is hard to find and even harder to confirm through independent sources. Do you have information about land deals in your country that we can add to our database? Can you confirm or update information we already have? Find out how to get involved.

For more about what land deals and how data is captured, analysed, and used, browse our frequently asked questions (FAQs).