Very disturbing development, with tragically ironic twists like the following:
“A number of companies are growing sugar cane in Tanzania, for example, to make bioethanol for European countries to meet European Union targets.”
From New Scientist.
Rich countries carry out ’21st century land grab’
04 December 2008
by Debora Mackenzie NewScientist
HISTORY may be repeating itself. Until the mid-20th century, many European countries grew rich on the resources of their colonies. Now, countries including China, Kuwait and Sweden are snapping up vast tracts of agricultural land in poorer nations, especially in Africa, to grow biofuels and food for themselves.
The land grabs have sparked accusations of neocolonialism and fears that the practice could worsen poverty. Yet some organisations think this could be a chance for poor countries to trade land and labour for the technology and investment vital for developing their own food and energy production.
The rush for land was triggered by this year’s food crisis and the European push for biofuels. The South Korean firm Daewoo made headlines last week when it sought a 99-year lease on 1.3 million hectares of Madagascar to grow maize and oil palm. The deal is far from unusual.