Commodity & land rushes and regimes

Investigating global 'land rushes' and their implications
Commodity & land rushes regimes (RRUSHES-5) - militarized conservation

Reshaping the politics of food, climate, labour and citizenship

  • How do contemporary global commodity rushes (‘land grabs’) reshape the politics of food, climate, labour, citizenship and geopolitics in different contexts?
  • What are the implications of such new regimes, in terms of structural, institutional and political shifts?
Commodity & land rushes regimes (RRUSHES-5) - Agrarian climate change now
Citizen actions and peoples' struggles
Tempera on paper by Filipino activist painter Federico (“Boy”) Dominguez

‘Commodity & land rushes and regimes: Reshaping five spheres of global social life’ (RRUSHES-5) sets out to answer these questions. It focuses on three countries which have been global hotspots of commodity and land rushes: Ethiopia, Myanmar and Colombia. In addition, it carries out complementary research work in Mozambique, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, and China.

Guided by a multi-disciplinary theoretical framework and grounded in empirical work, the project will engage in practical policy questions aimed at probing the potential for socially just and ecologically sustainable reforms.

This project – funded through the prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant – is led by Professor Jun Borras. The team furthermore comprises Dr Tsegaye Moreda, Dr Yunan Xu. 5 PhD researchers, several national research collaborators and researchers from the Transnational Institute (TNI).

Commodity & land rushes and regimes (RRUSHES-5) rings (16:9)
Tempera on paper by Filipino activist painter Federico (“Boy”) Dominguez

Why is this research relevant?

Recent global commodity rushes have profoundly influenced societies across the globe. At least a quarter of a billion hectares of land have been affected, reshaping livelihoods and social and political relations. Contemporary commodity rushes are more complex and far-reaching than those we have seen before, requiring new thinking and practice in order to respond to such unprecedented challenges.

This project will change the way we study the recent commodity and land rushes, demonstrating why and how they concern not only the 3.5 billion people who live in rural areas, but the entire world population.

RRUSHES-5 news

International conference on land grabs


Short feature stories that combine tales of displacement and dispossession, ordinary people’s courage to resist and stories of hope in fighting to defend or reclaim ordinary people’s land and territory.

The Land Rush Working Paper & Notes is a series of exploratory papers by RRUSHES-5 researchers.

Scientifically rigorous, accessible, politically relevant, policy-oriented, state-of the-art books for academics, development practitioners and social movement activists - Agrarian Change and Peasant Studies: Little Books on Big Issues

Borras, S.M. 2023 'Contemporary agrarian, rural and rural–urban movements and alliances' Journal of Agrarian Change, May 2023
Rojas Herrera, I and Dessein, J. 2023 ‘'We are not Drug Traffickers, We are Colombian Peasants": The voices and history of cocaleros in the substitution programme of illicit crops in Colombia', Geoforum, Vol. 141 May 2023
Nicholson, P. and Borras, S.M. 2023 'It wasn't an intellectual construction: the founding of La Via Campesina, achievements and challenges - a conversaton', The Journal of Peasant Studies, March 2023
Moreda, T 2023 'The social dynamics of access to land, livelihoods and the rural youth in an era of rapid rural change: Evidence from Ethiopia', Land Use Policy, May 2023
Borras, S.M. 2023 'La Via Campesina - transforming agrarian and knowledge politics, and co-constructing a field: a laudatio'The Journal of Peasant Studies, March 2023
Borras, S.M. 2023 'Politically engaged, pluralist and internationalist: critical agrarian studies today' , The Journal of Peasant Studies, January 2023
Xu, Y 2023​​​ '“Taken-left” dynamics? Rethink the livelihood changes of affected villagers in the era of the global land rush'Agriculture and Human Values, January 2023
Moreda, T 2022 'Beyond land rights registration: understanding the mundane elements of land conflict in Ethiopia, The Journal of Peasant Studies, October 2022
Wang, C and Xu, Y 2022 'Reflecting on the Plantationocene: the political economy of sugarcane plantations in Guangxi, China'The Journal of Peasant Studies, June 2022
Borras, S.M., et al 2022 'The value of so-called "failed" large-scale acquisitions' Land Use Policy, Volume 119, August 2022
Ofstehage, A, Wolford, W, Borras, S.M. 2022 'Contemporary populism and the environment' Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Volume 47
Borras, S.M. et al 2021 'Climate change and agrarian struggles: an invitation to contribute to a JPS Forum' The Journal of Peasant Studies, Volume 49, Issue 1
Franco, J.C., Borras, S.M. 2021 'The global climate of land politics' Globalizations
Doi Ra, Sai Sam Khan, Barbersgaard, M., Franco, J.C., Vervest, P. 2021 'The politics of Myanmar's agrarian transformation' The Journal of Peasant Studies, Volume 48, Issue 3
Borras, S.M., Franco, J.C., Ra, D. et al. 2021 'Rurally rooted cross-border migrant workers from Myanmar, Covid-19, and agrarian movements' Agriculture and Human Values (2021).
Doi Ra, Khu Khu Ju 2021 ‘Nothing about us, without us’: reflections on the challenges of building Land in Our Hands, a national land network in Myanmar/Burma' The Journal of Peasant Studies, Special Forum: Politics of Myanmar's Agrarian Transformation 
Borras, S.M., J.C. Franco, Z. Nam 2020 'Climate change and land: Insights from Myanmar' World Development, Vol. 129 May 2020

From a divided Myanmar to a divided world - Keynote lecture by PhD researcher Sai Sam Kham at the annual conference of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists. 23 November 2022

Research team and academic and civil society collaborations

Jun Borras, Principal Investigator and Project Coordinator
Tsegaye Moreda, researcher and Project Deputy Coordinator
Yunan Xu, researcher

Moges Bantie (Ethiopia)
Itayosara Rojas Herrera (Colombia)
Lorenza Arango (Colombia)
Doi Ra (Myanmar)
Sai Sam Kham (Myanmar)

Dessalegn Rahmato (Ethiopia)
Dario Fajardo (Colombia)
Chunyu Wang (China)
Danilo Carranza (Philippines)
Jennifer C. Franco (Global)
Myint Zaw (Myanmar)

Shapan Adnan (Myanmar/Rohingya)
Sergio Coronado (Colombia)
Natacha Bruna (Mozambique)
Cynthia Embido Bejeno


Eva Broer (RRUSHES-5 Research Project Manager)
Adinda Ceelen (Knowledge Broker & Research Communication)
Chaya Raghoenath (RRUSHES-5 Finance Manager)


  • This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 834006).

    EU-ERC logo combined 16:9

Contact the research team

Email address

If you would like more information about this research project, please contact Professor Jun Borras

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