China, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other rich countries that cannot grow their own crops have bought or leased prime lands in Africa at rock bottom prices. Africa is already struggling with food shortages, and their prime lands are being used for foreign export. These countries use African land to grow food for export while paying low wages in a near feudalistic system, extract hugely valuable water resources, and are using millions of tons of unregulated pesticides. Brilliant.
The IIED has a page dedicated to land use deals in Africa, here.
Egypt is a nation of bread eaters. Its citizens consume 18 million tons of wheat annually, more than half of which comes from abroad. Egypt is now the world’s leading wheat importer, and subsidized bread — for which the government doles out approximately $2 billion per year — is seen as an entitlement by the 60 percent or so of Egyptian families who depend on it.
As Egypt tries to fashion a functioning democracy after President Hosni Mubarak’s departure, land grabs to the south are threatening its ability to put bread on the table because all of Egypt’s grain is either imported or produced with water from the Nile River, which flows north through Ethiopia and Sudan before reaching Egypt. (Since rainfall in Egypt is negligible to nonexistent, its agriculture is totally dependent on the Nile.)
Unfortunately for Egypt, two of the favorite targets for land acquisitions are Ethiopia and Sudan, which together occupy three-fourths of the Nile River Basin. Today’s demands for water are such that there is little left of the river when it eventually empties into the Mediterranean. >continue<
The coming water wars will divide the world like never before.
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