A Bradford on Avon woman joined an international protest to end land grabs in London today, and has asked for the World Bank to freeze land deals for six months.

Vivienne Kynaston, 71, was helping Oxfam launch a campaign at Westminster to prevent small-scale farmers being pushed off their land in developing countries leaving them unable to support their families.

Ms Kynaston, a semi-retired social worker, said: ''The rush for land is out of control, an area of land the size of Bradford on Avon is being sold every month to foreign investors in poor countries.

“As a result people who are trying to grow food and feed their families are suffering hunger, violence and greater poverty. We must take action now as investments can be positive, but they need to be regulated to prevent abuse.”

Oxfam wants the World Bank to temporarily freeze its agricultural investments in land so it can review the effect on developing countries, help set standards for investors and introduce more robust policies to help stop land grabs.

Ms Kynaston said: “Our own farmers are backed up by a legal system that protects their rights and they can invest in fertiliser and improved production methods.

Poor country smallholder farmers need the same rights, the same security, and the same access to ways of increasing their production.” 

 For more information visit www.oxfam.org.uk.