Monday, August 3, 2009

The Debts of the Lenders: Emerging Market Nations Encroach on African Farmlands

This is not recent news. Emerging markets like China, India, and various Arab state have been involved in sub-Saharan African agriculture for years. But what is new is their level of involvement. Instead of the itinerant traders or political refugees of yesteryear (particularly prevalent in the Chinese and South Asian communities of Kenya and Uganda), political involvement at the highest levels is being broached. See also the older posts on Chinese involvement in South American agriculture.

Foreign Investors ncroach On African Farmers’ Land -Official

Foreign investors are encroaching on African small-scale farmers’ land to meet the demand for biofuels, a farmers’ federation official said Monday. “There is a move by countries, mainly Arab states and [those in] Europe, that areeyeing
certain countries in Africa to invest in agriculture,” Steven Muchiri,chief
executive for the Eastern Africa Small Scale Farmers Federation, toldDow Jones

Muchiri said these countries wanted to grow biofuels even if they gave
theimpression of wanting to grow more conventional crops.“In some countries,
such as in Kenya, Tanzania and Congo, they are leasing outlarge tracts of land
to grow crops to export to their countries...The areas the governmentsare
leasing to them are inhabited by small-scale farmers, who risk beingthrown out
from their livelihood,” he said. Muchiri said that in Kenya, Qatariinvestors
have been allocated 40,000 hectares of land on the Tana delta.

“We are having a severe shortage of food and a possible famine this year
inKenya, yet these investors shall be producing food to meet their own
food[needs],” Muchiri said. Last week, small-scale farmers from 12 African
countries met in Tanzania to discuss the threat of being swallowed up by large
estates. The forum, whichbrought together 150 farmers, was organized by the
federation.The farmers included representatives from Congo, Somali, Eritrea,
Djibouti, Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, the Comoros and

Source: CME News For Tomorrow
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