Although profitable, the wealthier countries are lacking in self-sufficiency. There is either a deficit or a potential deficit of food production at home, so these countries are purchasing land from countries who are in desperate need of that extra income. Unfortunately, the repercussions of this are tremendously hazardous to the welfare of humanity.
According to a study at the Oakland Institute, over the past 3 years, almost 50 million acres of farmland have been either purchased or are in the process of being purchased, with a substantial increase in just the last six months.
So, what does this all mean?
It means that buying this land will severely prevent the poorer countries from feeding their own citizens, leading to an increase in starvation- and dehydration-related deaths. What is happening is the land purchased is used to grow crops, which are then sent to the country who owns the land, not to the country that holds the land. However, only around 30% of the grain produced goes toward feeding the masses. In 37% of these cases, the crops are used for growing grains that will then be used for the production of biofuels, further fueling the debate that our addiction to oil is killing us. Furthermore, the countries in which land is being purchased are mainly in areas that are subject to severe drought. So, the land acquisitions include water, which in turn, deprives the hosting country of its own resources.
The question now is, what can we do about it? There is a growing suspicion that citizens in the poor countries will begin to ambush the trucks carrying the grain before it reaches its destination, furthering the social and political unrest. I, for one, fully support the locals in their attempts to rectify this ghastly situation.
Things to read:
- Food: The Hidden Driver Of Global Politics
- Rich Nations Buying Up Land in Poor Countries at Escalating Rate