I’ve blogged a little about it in the past. The basic line is that China and and rich countries in the Middle East, like the UAE, have purchased tens of thousands of acres of prime lands in Africa. The rumor is that these countries want to own and manage their own agricultural supplies. And these countries are blamed for bribing local officials to kick off existing families and villages.
Analysis and evidence are very thin for these claims, and I’ve backed off posting about it over the past couple years. And now, serendipitously, a new book is out debunking this myth. I’ve asked for a review copy and will post a mini-review if they send me one.
‘The great African land grab? Agricultural investments and the global food system’by IIED’s Lorenzo Cotula in partnership with Zed Books and Centre of African Studies:Booksigning:
When:Monday 15 July, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Where: Brunei Suite, SOAS
Register: Please register online at http://www.royalafricansociety.org/event/great-african-land-grab
About the book
Lorenzo Cotula’s book aims to debunk many of the myths surrounding land acquisitions in Africa and analyse their internal implications for African stakeholders and the external consequences for global food security.
Over the past few years, large-scale land acquisitions in Africa have stoked controversy, making headlines in media reports across the world. Land that only a short time ago seemed of little outside interest is now a commodity in high demand. Private-sector expectations of higher world food prices and government concerns about longer-term national food and energy security have both made land a more attractive asset.
Dubbed ‘land grabs’ in the media, large-scale land acquisitions have become one of the most talked about and contentious topics amongst those studying, working in or writing about Africa. Some commentators have welcomed this trend as a bearer of new livelihood opportunities. Others have countered by pointing to negative social impacts, including loss of local land rights, threats to local food security and the risk that large-scale investments may marginalize family farming.
No worries. The Chinese are very smart, and planned for that years ago… The only thing westerners can do is be armchair-appalled.
Great question and I did a little research for you (learned a lot, so thanks!).
The so-called “sixth extinction” theory has been around for a while. I’d avoid reading about it, since it’s all doom. Still, adaptation strategies for bees and other pollinators are only now being taken seriously.
Keep in mind that environmentalism is ‘stewardship’ - it requires long-term thinking, far beyond your life-time. Solutions take time and decades of research and testing. So, managing impacts are part of a long transition…
Most adaptation strategies and responses are part of bigger plans that deal with ecosystems and agriculture, so they’re more likely to be a chapter in larger documents. Here a few resources:
Hope that helps!