File image: Gina Rinehart. (Reuters).

CAPE TOWN - Have you ever wondered who owns most of the world? We reveal the top 5 non-government landowners in the world. 

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Take a look at some of these landowners who own millions of hectares of land and essentially own most of the world. 


1. The Catholic Church 71.6 million hectares

         File image: Roman Catholic Church. (REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini). 

The Catholic Church is estimated to hold a whopping 71.6 million hectares of land in its real estate portfolio. This area is larger than France. The church is the largest non-government landowner in the world. 

The church also has an estimated 1.29 billion members worldwide. 

2. The Inuit People of Nunavut 35 million hectares 

         File image: Nunavut. (REUTERS/Euan Rocha). 

The Inuit people of Canada’s central and eastern Northwest Territories hold the title to an enormous 35 million hectares in the region. The land was handed over by the Canadian Government in 1993. This then formed the territory of Nunavut which was created in 1999. 

3. Gina Rinehart 12 million hectares 

        File image: Gina Rinehart. (Reuters). 

Rinehart is Australia’s wealthiest person and also the world’s first private landowner. Mining magnate, Gina Rinehart recently took ownership of the lion’s share of S.Kidman & Co, the largest individual private land holding in the world. This adds to the 21 cattle stations she already owns. 

4. Zhongding Dairy Farming and Severny Bur Shareholders 9.1 million hectares

        File image: Dairy farm. (REUTERS/Jeff Green). 

The 9.1 million hectare Mudanjiang City Mega Farm in China is jointly owned by China's Zhongding Dairy Farming and Russia's Severny Bur. The dairy farm, which supplies the Russian market, is home to 100,000 cows that pump out 800 million liters of milk a year.

5. Joe Lewis and various stakeholders 7 million hectares

         Picture: Australian Agriculture Company. (Facebook). 

British tycoon, Joe Lewis is the major shareholder of the nation’s oldest firm, the Australian Agricultural Company. The company owns and operates 7 million hectares in Queensland and the Northern Territory. The area is approximately the size of Ireland. 

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