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The Straight Story Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:14 PM
Original message
Land Rush in Africa
Land Rush in Africa
Agribusiness and global investors are scooping up farmland. Are corporate farmers the new colonialists?

Farmland in developing countries has become an unlikely object of investor fascination. Goldman Sachs (GS), and Morgan Stanley (MS) are each raising hundreds of millions of dollars for agriculture funds aimed at Africa and Latin America. Agribusinesses in the U.S. are leasing vast tracts of African land from which they expect to export crops and glean healthy returns. Arab oil countries, meanwhile, are vying for fertile acreage for fear their homelands are running out of water.

The executives leading this hunt for farmland say they are boosting poor economies. Dominion Farms, based in Guthrie, Okla., leases 17,000 acres in Kenya near the village where President Barack Obama's grandmother lives. Dominion President Calvin Burgess boasts that his company provides employment for hundreds of local residents. "This area was a malaria-infested swamp before we got here," he says. Once Dominion is fully in gear, it plans to sell rice to African governments and export farm-raised fish to Europe.

But in Kenya, foreign land investors are beginning to stir resentment. Subsistence farmers and cattle herders complain that they are being displaced without compensation. In the Siaya District of southwest Kenya, families say Dominion hasn't offered as many jobs as it claims in the six years since it arrived. Villagers accuse it of polluting water and sickening farm animalsallegations the company denies.

Tensions are rising. Charles Onyango Apiyo, 39, raises cattle in Siaya. A year ago, he says, 10 of his cows wandered onto Dominion property. The entire herd of 150 was confiscated by company employees and taken to a police station. The cattle were held for almost two weeks, during which time 20 died, Apiyo says. More perished from dehydration on the trek back to his land. In an interview on the side of a dusty road, he says he has received nothing for his losses.

Dominion's Burgess expresses little sympathy. Stray cattle, he says, can spread disease. "Can you imagine a rice farmer in Mississippi allowing stray cattle onto his field?"

http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/09_49/b415...
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tabatha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:18 PM
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1. Keep foreign investors like Goldman Sachs out of Africa.
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:24 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. yeah, if there is ONE THING Africa doesn't need its foreign investment
Edited on Sun Dec-06-09 06:26 PM by Sen. Walter Sobchak
right up there with clean water, AIDS education and iPods.

Let them stay impoverished, they look so happy in National Geographic!
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tabatha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 08:57 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. I said
"foreign investors like Goldman Sachs" - I did not say ALL investors.
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dysfunctional press Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
2. maybe they all saw 2012, and took it seriously.
:shrug:
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jwirr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:19 PM
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3. Not good for Africa. Raising more exports is the last thing they need. nt
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Craftsman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:19 PM
Response to Original message
4. Add insult to injury the food is being ship out.
I see starvation in their future.
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #4
10. the only reason there is starvation if Africa is corruption and idiocy
Corruption that places obscene amounts of land in the hands of the ruling elite - who then proceed to do absolutely nothing with it and government policies that encourage inefficient slash and burn subsistence agriculture. Then there are extreme examples like Zimbabwe were commercial agriculture has effectively been outlawed.
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Craftsman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 07:23 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. Love or hate the White minoity of Zimbabwe they grew lots of food
Once Z was the bread basket of Africa.
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Sen. Walter Sobchak Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 08:44 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. that is only half the story, the black farmers have also been run off the land
Black commercial farmers had been out-producing the Rhodesian farmers for some time, however by the late 90's the targets of Mugabe were no longer simply the white farmers but ALL commercial farmers. The Rhodesian farmers simply get the most attention from the international media.

The nature of the economy of Zimbabwe made it inevitable that the indigenous commercial farmers would accumulate great wealth and political power - which threatened Robert Mugabe and his goal of establishing a single party communist state.
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alfredo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:22 PM
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5. Sounds like the range wars between farmers and ranchers.
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
7. the rape of africa by the industrialized world continues ....
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Liberal Veteran Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:31 PM
Response to Original message
8. If we are going to land Rush anywhere, I suggest Jupiter.
Then we'll have two gas giants in the same place.
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PDJane Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-06-09 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
9. The corporations are taking over the world,
Bite by bite. One should read Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard.
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