Land For Sale
this was sent to me by a friend who writes an environmental whacko column you know one of the three e’s
anyway it raised a question for me or more correctly a slew of questions. as most of you know i am on the board of directors
of the cm site conspiracy theorist org. so one of my first questions has to do with what do we give china in exchange for lending us money you know collateral. do yoiu think this may have come up when hillary was on vacation in the orient.
how about the arabs? what are we going to give in exchange for the oil? at any rate there are not too many small farms left anymore and it would seem that homeland security might want to make sure we have enough food right here at home
anybody have any idea how much of our farmland is in the hands of foreign interests?
a day goes by without new acreage being signed over. "For Sale" ads for
agricultural property are now featured in the international financial
press. And there’s no dearth of clients. "At the end of 2008,"
Jean-Yves Carfantan, author of "Choc alimentaire mondial, ce qui nous
attend demain" ["Global Food Shock: What’s in Store for Us Tomorrow"]
(Albin Michel, 2009), observes, "five countries stood out for the
extent of their foreign : China, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. Together, they control over 7.6 million cultivable hectares outside their national territory, or the equivalent of 5.6 times the utilizable agricultural surface of Belgium." The phenomenon of land grabs
is certainly not new, as it goes back to the first colonizations.
However, in the opinion of many observers, economists and NGOs, it is
explosion of agricultural commodity prices in 2007 and 2008, following
the example of the same phenomenon in the 1970’s, made many investors
decide to turn to land. The fall in prices has not made them run away.
As GRAIN – an which seeks to promote agricultural biodiversity – notes in a report published in October 2008 and entitled, "Seized: The 2008 landgrab for food and financial security,"
given the present financial debacle, all kinds of actors from the
financial and agribusiness sectors – pension funds, hedge funds, etc. –
have abandoned derivative markets and consider that agricultural land has become a new strategic asset."
are not alone. Many countries have made the same analysis, not to find
sources of surplus value, but for reasons of food security. "The
objective is clearly to parry the consequences of stagnation in their
domestic production, induced by unrestrained urbanization and the
reduction of water resources," Mr. Carfantan explains. is becoming ever more rare in the Middle East,
for example. So, the petro-monarchies have been investing the last
three years in the creation of extraterritorial annexes. Qatar controls
lands in ; Bahrain in the Philippines; Kuwait in Burma, etc.
It’s not at all surprising that the Chinese government should, for its part, make a policy of agricultural land acquisition
abroad one of its priorities: the country represents 40 percent of the
global active agricultural population, but possesses only nine percent
of Earth’s arable land, Mr. Carfantan remarks. As for Japan and South
Korea, they already import 60 percent of their food from abroad.
canvassing of Southern countries’ political officials is intensifying.
At the end of 2008, Moammar Kaddafi, Libya’s head of state, came to the
Ukraine to propose an exchange of oil and gas for (local) fertile land.
The business is about to be concluded. Thursday, April 16, a Jordanian
delegation will go to Sudan to strengthen its agricultural presence
there somewhat – a presence initiated already ten years ago. But the
movement also concerns Europe. According to the weekly, La France agricole [Agricultural France], 15 percent of the total surface of Romania – or over 15 million hectares – is in the hands of owners from other European countries.
strategy of "agricultural outsourcing" is not without consequences.
What about local populations directly threatened by this
commoditization of the land they live from? Today, the planet contains
2.8 billion farmers (out of a population of 6.7 billion people) and
three-quarters of those who are hungry live in the countryside. Land
registries are often nonexistent. How are and how will those who till
and live from the land be indemnified if they have no property titles?
organizations are alerting us more all the time about the question of
land concentration and about conflicts between small peasants and
agribusiness that cultivates for export," explains Benjamin Peyrot des
Gachons, from the NGO, Peuples solidaires, which has chosen to organize
an international forum on land access (in Montreuil, April 18 and 19)
to celebrate the World Day for Peasant Struggle April 17. Farmers from
India, Ecuador, Brazil, and the Philippines will come to bear witness.
NGO militates for the development of usage rights – with land remaining
in the government’s hands – not for property rights, which the World Bank
favors. Although the attribution of property titles may allow the
coexistence of family agriculture and the presence of foreign investors
to occur, Peuples solidaires "deems that peasants will not have the
means to acquire land." And even if land is attributed to them, "they
will rapidly be forced to sell it, should they get in trouble."
According to the NGO, property rights will consequently benefit big
operators, whether foreign or not.
problem provoked by this race for arable land: cohabitation between
investing countries and the local population. "Look at what happened in
Madagascar after the announcement of the rental of 1.3 million hectares to the South Korean
Daewoo Group," resumes Mr. Carfantan. "It was an explosion. I believe
tensions will be inevitable wherever this occurs, making foreign
agricultural enclaves veritable besieged fortresses." Unless, he
argues, harvest sharing and technology transfers are organized so that
all may bank on the long term.
A Million Chinese Peasants in Africa by 2010
In 2006, Beijing signed agricultural cooperation agreements
with several African countries that allowed the installation of 14
experimental farms in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda and Tanzania. "We
believe that between now and 2010, a million Chinese peasants could be
installed on these lands," explains economist and agricultural
consultant to Brazil, Jean-Yves Carfantan. Candidates for expatriation
are found among the peasants affected by the present crisis.
The Official Objective: to help the receiving countries increase their production, thanks to Chinese technologies: "The hybrid rice varieties created by Beijing allow improvements in yield of 60 percent compared to the ,"
Mr. Carfantan notes. However, also according to him, it’s clear that a
good part of the harvests will be exported to China, in order to
guarantee that market’s long-term supplies.
Africa has been under the thumb of empire for generations, with the Germans loosing their land rights there with the treaty of versailles, much of it returning into the hands of the British, Spanish and Portuguese. African foreign control makes sickening results. This article makes for a hard read when looking between the lines :-
I’ve been paying a great deal of attention to Eastern Europe over the years, and more so since I now live here. Hungary was invaded and controlled for much of the 20th century mostly by Russia. The wealth of this nations mineral and oil are mostly depleted now. Laughably, 90% of all oil and gas are now imported from Russia. Romania is my neighbour and I have friends living there. The control of that nations wealth was also in the hands of Russia, or by its communist leader Nicolae Ceauşescu, who was finally relinquished of his duties in December of 1989, shortly before being executed along with his wife by firing squad on Christmas day of the same year.
Most of all heavy industry is owned by America, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, China and Japan. Also included are the coal, water, steel and, as stated, 15% of crop lands mostly for export.
IMF and World Bank loans, supposedly to build infastructure back into these countries have a noticeably high rate of interest that has struggled to drop below 18% of inclusive taxes to the peoples income. This indebtedness through interest bearing loans (printed from thin air!!) appear designed as benign, but in my understanding are a future malignancy that is unpayable with nothing but asset. South American countries have a long and colourful understanding of foreign land ownership. The United Fruit Company makes for an interesting history. I only have the ‘benign’ Wikipedia link to play with here :-
I found John Perkins books along the lines of ‘economic hitmen’ a true eye-opener, but I’m sure you’ve read far and beyond the knowledge I’ve gained from his work.
With ‘limits to growth’, deminishing energy along with future erratic climate cycles, foreign land ownership by asset stripping with this global financial melt-down IS the ONLY way to begin paying back such vast debt. American wealth is (poooofff) gone…