'The Global Farms Race' and the quest for food security

From Foreign Policy Wed Dec 5 2012, 19:26:37

As climate talks continue to grind along in Doha, food security would seem to be a major concern (especially as the U.N. issues warnings about the increasingly desperate food situation in Syria).  However, the question of how farmers will feed the world's booming population while adjusting to changing weather patterns highs appears to have been sidelined even as year's crippling drought in the U.S. sent grain prices to record highs.

That doesn't mean, however, that the race for food security hasn't already begun. As the authors of the recently released book The Global Farms Race argue, cash-rich but resource-poor governments have been quietly making controversial bids for the arable fields of foreign lands to shore up their own food security. Since the 2008 global food crisis, these "land grabs" - considered an economic lifeline by supporters and neocolonialism by critics -- have been booming. The editors of the book note a 2011 Oxfam study that claimed nearly 230 million hectares of land have been sold or leased since 2001, mostly after 2008 (that's about the size of Western Europe). In one of the most publicized deals, the South Korean company Daewoo Logistics leased 3.2 million acres in Madagascar in 2008 to grow corn and palm oil so that the company could "ensure our food security." The deal, which was eventually ...

While that deal fell apart, countless others have gone through, sparking debates over the economic, environmental, and political implications of exporting crops from food-insecure countries. As Michael Kugelman, co-editor of the book with Susan L. Levenstein, said at a book launch event at the Wilson Center on Tuesday, this development marks "a new phase of the global food crisis" -- one that may help countries importing food, but has grave implications for the countries hosting the crops. One of the disaster scenarios of these large-scale investments is that they will recreate scenes straight out of the Irish Potato Famine, during which crops were shipped out of the starving nation to feed wealthy foreigners. But equally urgent are the day-to-day economic, environmental, and political ramifications of the deals, from the effects of clearing forest to make way for new farmland to the implications of replacing food crops with biofuels.  ...

[view whole blog post ]
 See More    |     Report Abuse

People and Organizations:


You might also be interested in the following news stories:

West Africa:   Call to Boost Use of New Ebola Vaccine (interview)
Ebola Deeply
31 July 2015

As health experts hail the VSV-EBOV vaccine study a turning point, MSF's medical director Bertrand Draguez calls for accelerated use of the vaccine in the affected countries. The vaccine was found to ... [read more]

Egypt:   President Amends Electoral Laws (news)
Aswat Masriya
1 August 2015

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi issued on Saturday two amended laws to govern the parliamentary elections, which was delayed by court earlier this year, the transitional justice minister said. [read more]

Africa:   African River Study Fills Gap in Carbon Emissions Tally (news)
SciDev.Net
30 July 2015

African rivers emit a vast amount of greenhouse gases, a major paper on this understudied topic reveals. [read more]



blogAfrica is allAfrica.com's platform to help you keep an ear on the African blogosphere. We draw diverse voices from around the world who post regularly and insightfully about African issues. Bloggers, submit your blog's rss-feed!


Today's Featured News
Mozambique Ruling Party Faces Tough Contest

Renamo supporters: Ruling Frelimo faces a stern challenge at Wednesday's polls from...

Surge in Central African Republic Violence

African Union troops in Bangui (file photo): The UN has expressed alarm...

Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana Get Crucial Wins

Asamoah Gyan of Ghana (file photo): The Super Eagles have boosted their...