It's clear to me that this is another disastrous consequence of neoliberal policies imposed on most of the world by the Empire.
“One big driver is biofuels and new biofuel policy. It has really increased the demand for agricultural land,” D’Odorico said.
The 2007 Energy and Independence Security Act in the United States mandated a fourfold increase of the amount of biofuels by 2022. A 2009 European Union directive had a similar goal. Biofuels are fuels made from different types of plants and crops. The most popular examples from crops are turning corn or sugarcane into ethanol, or turning palm oil into biodiesel.
...also [another driver is] the industrialization of agriculture over the past few decades. This type of farming needs a lot of land, which can be found cheaply overseas.