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

From FP Passport 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:

Africa:   Africans Want Democracy But Are They Getting It? (news)
allAfrica.com
23 April 2014

Popular support for democracy and against one-party rule in Africa has risen substantially in the past decade, but most Africans don't think they are actually experiencing democracy. [read more]

Somalia:   Teen Stowaway's Father Says Allah Protected Son (news)
Voice of America
23 April 2014

The father of a teen stowaway who survived a five-and-a-half hour flight to Hawaii this week hidden in a jetliner's wheel well said Allah saved him from the dangers and extreme temperatures. [read more]

Nigeria:   Boko Haram Threatens to Kill Abducted Schoolgirls (news)
Vanguard
24 April 2014

NOBEL Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka, yesterday, called on the Federal Government to ensure the release of 230 students of Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok, Borno State, who were abducted ... [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!