The UAE and its food-importing neighbours are “particularly vulnerable” to spiralling costs and should make significant investments in “contract farming” in Africa and Asia, says the UN’s Gulf food chief, Dr Kayan Jaff.
“Look at the colour, what a beautiful crop,” says Richard Spinks, pointing to wheat and rapeseed fields that his company sowed this season in western Ukraine. “If all of Ukraine’s farms could produce the yields we are getting, this country could play a big role in feeding the world and establish itself as a geopolitical power,” says the British chief executive of London-listed Landkom.
The Saudi government announced that it would co-ordinate with local private-sector companies and invest in strategic agricultural interests in key producer countries such as Brazil, Ukraine, Thailand and India, guaranteeing for itself supplies of cereals, meat and vegetables. It is already in advanced negotiations with Thai investors and a deal on rice farms in Thailand is likely before the end of the year.
The expectation in Ukraine is that billions of dollars of fresh investment and agriculture reforms, namely sanctioning of agriculture land sales, could double or triple domestic grain production to 100-150 million tons levels in the long term.
This week, Saudi Arabia announced plans to invest in overseas fisheries, livestock and food production, and is reportedly trying to partner with Thai rice farms to lock in future supplies. Libya is in talks with Ukraine about growing wheat there, and as China tries to feed its expanding middle class, it’s looking to buy up farmland in Africa and South America.
La Libye et l'Ukraine ont signé un mémorandum sur l’exécution d'un projet de culture de 100 mille ha pour la production de céréales en Ukraine. Ce projet sera exécuté par le Portefeuille Libye-Afrique d’investissement et la société ukrainienne “Union Doytas”.
Soaring agricultural prices, growing demand for biofuels and the growth of the Chinese and Indian economies are leading top global investment banks to buy farmland in a bid to embrace the physical commodities market.