WFP Expresses Concern Over African Land Acquisitions
The trading, selling and leasing of African land to foreign powers dates back to colonialism. However, in recent years there has been an unprecedented increase in land acquisitions all over the continent.
This plays a huge role in the availability of farmland and ultimately food to local populations, because when land is traded it is often used to produce exported goods. Around 20 countries (including Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Sudan and many others) have leased tens of millions of acres of land to foreign powers. After the global food crisis in 2008, the international community is taking these land acquisitions seriously.
In a recent Reuters article, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) expressed concern over African land lease deals. Currently, the shift in ownership has not caused any serious decline in food acquisition, but with the shifting global climate the future of arable farmland in Africa is in question.
Sheila Sisulu, WFP Deputy Executive for Hunger Solutions, has noted the success of European subsidies to reduce dependence on food imports and to increase local farming. She has suggested African governments could adopt similar practices to improve food security in their own countries. In order to combat corruption and potential conflict, Sisulu said, “There needs to be a principle, a code of conduct and transparency, it needs to be out in the open and not done through secret deals.”
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