Rich countries launch great land grab to safeguard food supply

The head of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Jacques Diouf, has warned that the controversial rise in land deals could create a form of “neo-colonialism”, with poor states producing food for the rich at the expense of their own hungry people.

Rising food prices have already set off a second “scramble for Africa”. This week, the South Korean firm Daewoo Logistics announced plans to buy a 99-year lease on a million hectares in Madagascar. Its aim is to grow 5m tonnes of corn a year by 2023, and produce palm oil from a further lease of 120,000 hectares (296,000 acres), relying on a largely South African workforce. Production would be mainly earmarked for South Korea, which wants to lessen dependence on imports.

I remember Paul Ehrlich stating that the main problem with the world is that there are too many rich people, not too many poor people. However, there will be many who will try to emulate the lives of the wealthest people in the planet.

Unfortunately, resource depletion is an interesting topic for me, and it makes me extremely depressed. I often had dreams in my childhood that humanity would eventually develop into a Star Trek like utopia (without Warp Drive), but that doesn’t seem very likely. Instead, I expect more poverty, more suffering, warfare, and increased resource competition.

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