Wise Up Journal
Rich countries launch great land grab to safeguard food supply
States and companies target developing nations
Small farmers at risk from industrial-scale deals
Rich governments and corporations are triggering alarm for the poor as they buy up the rights to millions of hectares of agricultural land in developing countries in an effort to secure their own long-term food supplies.
the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of “neo-colonialism”, with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people.
Rising food prices have already set off a second “scramble for Africa”. This week, the South Korean firm Daewoo Logistics announced plans to buy a 99-year lease on a million hectares in Madagascar. Its aim is to grow 5m tonnes of corn a year by 2023, and produce palm oil from a further lease of 120,000 hectares (296,000 acres), relying on a largely South African workforce. Production would be mainly earmarked for South Korea, which wants to lessen dependence on imports.
“These deals can be purely commercial ventures on one level, but sitting behind it is often a food security imperative backed by a government,” said Carl Atkin, a consultant at Bidwells Agribusiness, a Cambridge firm helping to arrange some of the big international land deals.
The massive lease is the largest so far in an accelerating number of land deals that have been arranged since the surge in food prices late last year.
“In the context of arable land sales, this is unprecedented,” Atkin said. “We’re used to seeing 100,000-hectare sales. This is more than 10 times as much.”
According to diplomats, the Saudi Binladin Group is planning an investment in Indonesia to grow basmati rice, while tens of thousands of hectares in Pakistan have been sold to Abu Dhabi investors.
Even China, which has plenty of land […], has begun to explore land deals in south-east Asia. Laos, meanwhile, has signed away between 2m-3m hectares, or 15% of its viable farmland. Libya has secured 250,000 hectares of Ukrainian farmland, and Egypt is believed to want similar access. Kuwait and Qatar have been chasing deals for prime tracts of Cambodia rice fields.
sellers in developing world governments desperate for capital in a recession.
Details of land deals have been kept secret
ZIMBABWEAN PRESIDENT ROBERT MUGABE
“These western-funded NGOs also use food as a political weapon with which to campaign against [the] government, especially in the rural areas.”
IRANIAN PRESIDENT MAHMOUD AHMADINEJAD
“Given the urgent importance of food products and their necessity to protect human life, we put forward a number of proposals… life is not possible without food.”
FRENCH PRESIDENT NICOLAS SARKOZY
“It seems to me to be important to create an international group on reliability of food supply to ensure all the international institutions, all the states, all the companies, all the NGOs are going in the same direction and this group’s mission would be to define a world strategy for a reliable food supply.”
Elitist Bertrand Russell, 3rd Earl Russell (1872-1970), a Nobel Prize winner, worked on the education of young children was also an award winner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s Kalinga Prize. A highly respected man by the excessively rich dominant minority. In his book The Impact of Science of Society (1952) he recommended something our new global society is now mentally prepared to accept: “To deal with this problem [increasing population and decreasing food supplies] it will be necessary to find ways of preventing an increase in world population. If this is to be done otherwise than by wars, pestilence, and famines, it will demand a powerful international authority. This authority should deal out the world’s food to the various nations in proportion to their population at the time of the establishment of the authority. If any nation subsequently increased its population it should not on that account receive any more food. The motive for not increasing population would therefore be very compelling. What method of preventing an increase might be preferred should be left to each state to decide.” – page 124
From Reshaping the International Order report (1976): “the American Secretary for Agriculture who has observed: ‘Food is a weapon. It is one of the principal tools in our negotiating kit’ ” – page 29
“Potato blight, ‘phytophthora infestans’, did spread from America to Europe in 1844, to England and then Ireland in 1845 but it didn’t cause famine anywhere. Ireland did not starve for potatoes; it starved for food.
“Ireland starved because its food, from 40 to 70 shiploads per day, was removed at gunpoint by 12,000 British constables reinforced by the British militia, battleships, excise vessels, Coast Guard and by 200,000 British soldiers (100,000 at any given moment).”
“Britain seized from Ireland’s producers tens of millions of head of livestock; tens of millions of tons of flour, grains, meat, poultry & dairy products; enough to sustain 18 million persons.”
“As no Jewish person would ever refer to the ‘Jewish Oxygen Famine of 1939 – 1945’, so no Irish person ought ever refer to the Irish Holocaust as a famine.”
ANH And Irish Delegation Urge The EU To Stop United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius (food code – due Jan 2010)
“Jill Bell, chairman of the IAHS [Irish Association of Health Stores] said, ‘Irish consumers’ concerns about the direction the European Union is heading in is being influenced significantly by the impending restrictions on natural health products. We had over 60,000 consumers sign our petition in Irish health stores to register our concerns over EU-wide vitamin and mineral dose restrictions likely to hit us in 2009 or 2010. We really hope that the European Commission is going to listen.'”
“Dr Verkerk stated, after the meeting, ‘When you consider that the maximum daily vitamin and mineral levels the European Commission are considering for food supplements are much less than you’d find in a single, average meal—you know there’s a problem. You could find three times the possible maximum selenium level in a single brazil nut, or three times the beta-carotene level in a single large raw carrot or three times the zinc level in a single 200 g steak.'”