Sunday, December 05, 2010

land grab

"Everyone agrees that you can't have a wild-west scenario where countries and companies are going into countries and getting land for next to nothing," Michael Taylor, programme manager with the International Land Coalition , a global alliance of land rights organizations, told IRIN.

And it is happening on an unprecedented scale.Countries rich in capital but with land and water constraints, such as Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and China, are world leaders in this kind of investment. In 2009, following the 2007-2008 food crises, more than 45 million hectares (the size of Sweden) worth of large-scale farmland deals were announced.

Between 2006 and 2009, Saudi investors reportedly paid the Ethiopian government US$100 million per year to lease land for wheat, barley and rice to export back home, tax-free. Meanwhile, the World Food Programme spent over US $300 million in 2009 alone, delivering 460,000 metric tons of food relief to 5.7 million Ethiopians in need of assistance.

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