Monday, April 22, 2013

Planet Earth Day

Farmland investment company Agcapita's website touts land for sale: "Agcapita believes farmland is a safe investment, that supply is shrinking and that unprecedented demand for 'food, feed and fuel' will continue to move crop prices higher over the long-term.”

Scarcity begets a good speculative market -- too bad that scarcity in this case means hunger.

Whether it is development, speculation on food prices land for food is under attack. In places like Ethiopia, land was nationalized during a socialist past cash-strapped governments are selling the “people's land” to the highest bidder. The goal is ostensibly industrial farming, often for biofuels to take advantage of the new European mandate for alternative fuels. However, actual farming efforts often seem half-hearted. Often in speculation, land is held by the elites to await future prices. Whether or not it is used during that wait is immaterial.

Villages have been burned and resisters brutally murdered. In Tanzania, the removals were not for farming but for giant safari parks for wealthy tourists. The result is starvation for people who have been on the land as long as anyone can remember. "Poaching" is sometimes a matter of traditional users trying to maintain their sustainable way of life on land where wealthy hunters pay thousands to shoot for sport.

Going, Going, Gone! Land grabs makes every day Earth Day.

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