Saturday, October 17, 2009


Leasing land in other countries for raising food crops to satisfy self needs, has become common these days with many land and water starved countries trying to strike bilateral arrangements with those having cultivable land to spare or are forced by circumstances to offer their lands on lease. Already serious doubts are being raised regarding the impact of such large scale land transfer on the local food security environment and international agencies seem to be concerned about such distortions in the world economic order. Unlike land leasing another approach being considered is to strike business partnership with global agricultural companies who operate in some of the countries for ensuring return in the form of food commodities.

The new initiative by some of the Gulf countries in forming a consortium is worth watching. "Gulf Arab states will pour $2 billion into a new agricultural fund in coming months to secure food supplies by buying stakes in existing agricultural firms; Gulf countries mainly reliant on food imports, have ramped up efforts to secure food supplies through buying farmland in developing nations or buying stakes in agriculture companies. The new Arab agricultural holding company will be part of the broader Arab Authority for Agriculture Investment and Development (AAAID), an organization made up of 20 Arab and African states all keen to lock in food supplies".

Food is going to be a critical issue for many countries in coming years and every nation is aware that food security only can ensure normal productivity and peaceful life for their population. While taking up such ventures investing countries should not make the lives miserable for people in those countries where agricultural activity is pursued.

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