Grabbing Land for Food
Food security is a term that is coming into popular use. People are starting to realize that having a secure source of safe food for the population is essential. Some nations have taken steps to ensure that their populations will have a source of food and materials in the future. They have done it by leasing or buying land in poorer nations.
Nations Targetted: Uganda, Brazil, Cambodia, Sudan, Pakistan
Nations Participating in the Land Grab: China, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, India
A recent deal, involving S. Korean Daewoo Corp. brokered by the former president of Madagascar helped to bring about a change of leadership. It involved a 50 year lease on nearly half of the arable land of that nation.
Another deal brokered in Madagascar involves the Indian firm Varun. They are targetting nearly a million acres of rice growing land. Their plan is to export to India 20% of the rice crop to begin with and increasing the export amount to 60% in subsequent years.
There are environmental and social concerns over subsistence farmers losing access to farmland and common grazing lands. Environmental damage by intensive, industrial farming can have long lasting consequences.
One of the clear consequences of the global land grab is that workers, farmers and local communities will inevitably lose access to land for their food production. The very basis on which to build food sovereignty is simply being bartered away. And it is not only the questionable issue of giving foreigners control of domestic farmland but also the restructuring of the farming sector that this process entails. For these lands will be transformed from smallholdings or forests or whatever they may be into large industrial estates connected to far-off markets. Farmers will never be real farmers again, job or no job.