Monday, May 12, 2008

Alternative to buying up foreign land

This piece argues as long as countries maintain full sovereignty on their land, land investment for food production by China and other countries will not be perceived as imperialism.  So in this case, China is not to buy up foreign land but just investing with a contractual agreement on a share of crops.  Not bad an idea.
China, where self-sufficiency in food is coming under pressure as a richer population consumes more meat, is considering whether to make support for offshore land acquisition, in places such as Africa and South America, an official government policy. A private-equity group in the United Arab Emirates is buying land in Pakistan with government support, while other resource-rich but food-poor nations – oil producers such as Saudi Arabia and Libya – are looking abroad to secure their food supplies.
Foreign investment in agricultural land should not be a problem. One recent estimate is that 15 per cent of all purchases of UK agricultural land are made by foreign investors. Even more than a power station or a yoghurt producer – which have caused rows about foreign investment in recent years – farmland is a fixed asset. Foreign investors bring capital, expertise and markets; they are a good thing.