Sunday, November 22, 2009


It is natural for any land and resource starved country to look for new opportunities to expand production of food and ensure food security to the citizens. The inter country land leasing system, increasingly being popular, is supposed to serve the mutual interests of both the lessor as well as the lessee but is attracting wide spread criticism from many quarters as it was felt that it accentuates the hunger problem in the leasing countries because the food produced by the lessee is often exported resulting in net reduction in food availability locally. Such a realization amongst the Africans is reflected by the recent uttering by some of the leading lights of the continent in the just concluded Food Summit at Rome.

"Libya's Muammar Gaddafi called for an end to the purchase of African farmland by food-importing nations at a U.N. hunger summit on Monday, describing it as new feudalism which could spread to Latin America as well. 'Rich countries are now buying the land in Africa. They are cheating African people out of their rights. This is also going to happen in Latin America ... ,' he told the summit, which was mostly attended by African and Latin American leaders".

Probably the views of Md Gaddafi may be too harsh but there is some substance in his stand that the lessor countries are not getting a fair deal in this uneven business arrangement. The fact that more inputs of technologies and other resources into lands which were not very productive, are being deployed and increased productivity is achieved, cannot be refuted. Probably it is the right forum to express what is needed to correct any distortion as the Summit is attended by almost all countries under the UN and if justice is to be done, a fair mechanism needs to be evolved under an international protocol equitable to all.


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