Countries in rush for leasing land in Africa

It is expected that in the next years, a big food crisis will erupt in the world. States seek to lease or purchase land kilometres away from their own countries. The Black Continent is the most popular region.

According to reports from United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and OECD, food prices will increase 40 percent in the next 10 years. It seems that there will be an unavoidable food crisis in the world. Especially the fast population growth after 2020 will increase household food expenditure by 30 percent. While problems in the food supply cause permanent problems, the food crisis will be deepened by the use of agricultural products in fuel production. Developed countries who do not want to be affected by these developments tend to find solution in long term leasing or purchasing lands abroad. Western countries plan to meet the future food demand by this method and focus on Africa in particular. The majority of lands leased or purchased by African countries are located in Africa. It is estimated that the size of lands that changed owners by this method in the Black Continent amounts to 47-56 million hectares. Britain, the United States and China are the leading countries that acquire most lands in Africa. The countries letting most lands are Congo, Indonesia, Philippines and Sudan. Congo let 9.1 million hectares of agricultural land corresponding to one fourth of its surface area.

The area leased by Britain in Africa is equal to the surface area of Denmark

In recent years countries make significant investment in the overseas agricultural areas to ensure their food assurance. The leading favourite investment regions include the African countries, which fight against draught and famine. Agricultural investment regions also include Southeast Asia, South America, Russia and Ukraine. These investments are vital for food supply and they are made by states as well as international companies. According to the 2013 report of the World Trade Organization (WTO), 41 countries leased lands in other countries while 62 countries let or sold their lands to other countries. Britain leased 4.4 million hectares of land, mainly in Africa. The size of lands leased by the USA by the same method is 3.7 million hectares. The size of lands leased by Britain is equal to the surface area of Denmark while the USA, Switzerland and China hold agricultural lands as big as Moldova. Congo, one of the poorest countries of Africa, let or sold 8.1 million hectares of land, Indonesia 7.1 million, Philippines 5.2 million and Sudan 4.7 million.

Turkey is among leasers

At the beginning of this year, Turkey leased 500 thousand hectares of land in Sudan for 99 years. The lands are on the shore of the River White Nile and are suitable to grow various agricultural products like vegetables and fruit. Lands will also be available for private sector. Turkey also plans to lease land in Brazil in addition to Sudan. Turkish private enterprises also make investments by leasing lands abroad in addition to state. Omo Valley Farm, a partnership of İmam Altınbaş, Seyfettin Koçak and Kasım Külek, leased 50 thousand hectares of land in Ethiopia for 25 years and started to grow cotton.


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