28 Jul 2011:
‘Land Grab’ in Africa Threatens
Continent’s Food Security, Study Says
China, India, Libya, Saudi Arabia and other countries are buying up vast amounts of farmland in Africa
, threatening the food security of millions of impoverished people on the continent, according to a new
study. The Worldwatch Institute reports that to ensure the food security of their own people, nations across Asia and the Middle East are gobbling up African land. The Washington, D.C.-based group reports that from 2006 to mid-2009, foreign investors purchased 15 to 20 million hectares (37 to 50 million acres) of African land and that millions of additional acres are being sold to governments and not being officially documented. “People are always saying that Africa needs to feed itself,” said Danielle Nierenberg, director of Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet Project. “It can’t do that if the Chinese and the Saudis are taking up the best land for production of food.” The Worldwatch report
was based on more than 17 months of interviews with 350 farmers’ groups, NGOs, government agencies, and scientists in 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa. The land boom also is threatening African wildlife
as foreign firms plant crops on wetlands and other wild lands.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A three-part series Tainted Harvest
looks at the soil pollution crisis in China, the threat it poses to the food supply, and the complexity of any cleanup. Read the series.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
The Warriors of Qiugang
, a Yale Environment 360
video, chronicles a Chinese village’s fight against a polluting chemical plant. It was nominated for a 2011 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short.
Watch the video.
Top Image: aerial view of Iceland
. © Google & TerraMetrics.
, winner of the Yale Environment 360 Video Contest, documents the work of African researchers monitoring wildlife in Uganda's remote Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. Watch the video.