WASHINGTON - Argentina: A Land-Grabber's Loophole
The acuteness of the global food crisis has forced overpopulated and arid countries, such as China, India, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to desperately scour the globe, looking for land on which to cultivate their staple crops. In an effort to secure food sources and financial returns, food insecure governments are increasingly outsourcing their food production to more fertile and usually less-developed countries, including Pakistan, Uganda, Argentina and Brazil. While some of these land-selling states have welcomed the foreign revenue, others have begun to rightfully resist these agrifood agreements.
The MERCOSUR (Mercado Común del Sur) countries of Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil have decided to regulate foreign powers ability to purchase large tracts of land. In response to these mild initiatives, various foreign corporations have begun to set up negotiations to rent, rather than purchase, arable land from less-developed countries, treating land usage rights as merely one more commodity.
Case Study: Argentina
Exemplifying the leasing trend, the Chinese food corporation Heilogjiang Beidahuang State Faros Business Trade Group Co., Ltd. made arrangements with the provincial government of Río Negro, Argentina to rent large tracts of land for the production of genetically modified staple crops for exportation to China. Protected by their own governments, these agrifood leases may be quickly becoming the face of neocolonialism in Latin America.
This analysis was prepared by COHA Reasearch Associates Paula Lopez-Gamundi and Winston Hanks.
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