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African ‘Land Grab’ Threatens Continent’s Food Security
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.
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