Land Grabbing

Land grabbing is the term coined to refer to foreign investors buying or leasing farmlands in the developing world. As the world population keeps growing and the demand for food grows along with it, there is surging demand for food crops. The profits of course go to the investors at the expense of local populations. Critics are calling this a new form of colonialism. Liberia is an extreme example, 100% of its arable land is under foreign ownership with Malaysia and Singapore as the biggest owners. The list is instructive. In Sierra Leone, 41% of its arable land is under foreign ownership, 31% of it is owned by concerns in the U.K. In the Ukraine, 35% of the arable land is owned by foreigners, 66% of which is owned by U.S. interests. In Uruguay, Argentina owns 51% of the 18% of foreign owned land. In Tanzania where also 18% of the arable land is owned by foreigners, 45% of that land is owned by Sweden. South Africa and Saudi Arabia also own foreign lands in Mozambique and the Philippines respectively. Gabon in West Africa is also an extreme example, 86% of its arable land is foreign owned, 74% of which by Singapore. If one remembers John’s Lennon’s song “Imagine” about a world with no countries, maybe that is one way to get there. But I don’t think John Lennon envisaged such a long interim where local populations would be deprived and in some cases suffer.