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PaulS's picture

Food rush sparks African land grab

The food rush: Rising demand in China and west sparks African land grab

Major economic powers buying and renting farmland in sub-Saharan states to satisfy soaring consumption

Some of the world's richest countries are buying or leasing land in some of the world's poorest to satisfy insatiable appetites for food and fuel. In the new scramble for Africa, nearly 2.5m hectares (6.2m acres) of farmland in just five sub-Saharan countries have been bought or rented in the past five years at a total cost of $920m (£563m), research shows.

Lands that only a short time ago seemed of little outside interest are now being sought by international investors to the tune of hundreds of thousands of hectares

farmland purchases are being driven by food security concerns, rising demand and changing dietary habits, expanded biofuel production and interest in what is, in theory, an improved investment climate in some African countries.

countries are selling their land assets at the expense of smallhold farmers and hungry populations. The institute's report warned: "Unequal power relations in the land acquisition deals can put the livelihoods of the poor at risk. Since the state often formally owns the land, the poor run the risk of being pushed off the plot in favour of the investor, without consultation or compensation."

The full article is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2009/jul/03/africa-land-grab