'Stop acquisition of farmland in continent' - Gaddafi

Category: Diaspora
Published on Saturday, 21 November 2009 20:16
Written by Catholic Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
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Map of Africa

20 November 2009 (Nairobi)--Libyan President Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has called for an end to the buying and selling of African farmland by rich nations during UN hunger summit the headquarters of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, Italy.

Speaking at a UN hunger summit, he described it as "new feudalism" which could spread to Latin America as well."We should fight against this new feudalism, we should put an end to this land grab in African countries," Libyan Colonel declared.

"Rich countries are now buying the land in Africa. They are cheating African people out of their rights. This is also going to happen in Latin America," Gaddafi said.

However, Gaddafi's call was disputed by Kanayo Nwanze, who heads the U.N. International Fund for Agricultural Development. Nwanze said, "It is wrong to call them land grabs. These are investments in farmland like investments in oil exploration. We can have win-win situations."

But French Farm Minister Bruno Le Maire was quoted by the Reuters news agency agreeing with the Libyan colonel - that "predatory" farmland acquisitions in poor countries should be halted.

In the past two years, various non-African countries China, India, South Korea, Britain and the Arab Gulf states leading the pack have picked up huge tracts of farmland in Africa by lease or purchase, to produce food or biofuels for their own use.

In Sudan, South Korea has acquired 1.7 million acres of land to grow wheat. The United Arab Emirates, which already has 74,000 acres hectares in Sudan, is investing in another 959,000 acres to grow corn, alfalfa, wheat, potatoes and beans.

In Tanzania, Saudi Arabia is seeking 1.2 million acres. According to reports most of the land claimed by foreign acquisition was already in use by local people.