South Korea’s biggest is 1.3 million hectares in Madagascar. China’s is 1.24 million in the Philippines.
With rich, resource-poor nations increasingly outsourcing their food production to less developed nations, a new website aims to expose the extent of the agricultural land-grab epidemic. It’s a simple if iniquitous equation: rich countries with limited land resources snap up agricultural land in less developed nations in order to secure food production. From African fields to Korean plates, trading cash for cropland is a throwback to an earlier, less enlightened time. Not for nothing has it been dubbed a neo-colonial enterprise.
A recent report by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) on behalf of the Food and Agriculture Organization and International Fund for Agricultural Development revealed that in five African countries (Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali and Sudan) a total of 2,492,684 hectares of farmland had been allocated to overseas interests since 2004. According to GRAIN, an international NGO that promotes sustainable management and agricultural biodiversity, more than 20 million hectares worldwide have been earmarked for or given over to crops that will feed people a thousand miles away from the fields in which they were grown.
Don’t let anyone try to fool you into thinking that there is a technology around the corner that will solve the problem of growing enough food for 7 billion+ people on a planet with a maximum carrying capacity of 2 billion. The only reason we can do it today is by exctracting millions of years’ worth of sun’s energy from the ground – oil. There is no second (or third or fourth or fifth) sun or planet.
If you think the economic crisis is painful, imagine the ecological crisis that is happening, but not recognised … yet.
The major players:
South Korea: 2.3 million hectares in… Madagascar (1,300,000), Sudan (690,000), Mongolia (270,000), Indonesia (25,000), Argentina (21,000).
China: 2.1 million hectares in… Philippines (1,240,000), Laos (700,000), Russia (80,400), Australia (43,000), Cameroon (10,000), Kazakhstan (7,000), Cuba (5,000), Uganda (4,046), Mexico (1,050), Tanzania (300).
UAE: 1.3 million hectares in… Pakistan (900,000), Sudan (378,000), Philippines (3,000), Algeria (1,500)
Saudi Arabia: 1.6 million hectares in… Indonesia (1,600,000), Sudan (10,117).
Extent of agricultural land-grab revealed on new website, The Ecologist.