Dalla Al Baraka, a Saudi conglomerate with $5 billion in annual revenue, has acquired two million acres of farmland in eastern Sudan to produce food for export to the Middle Eastern kingdom. While the investors are hoping to wean Saudi Arabia off imports from South America, such agreements cause concern among local Sudanese farmers.
Saudi businessman Saleh Kamel announced last week that the Sudanese government agreed to give his country two million acres [809 371 hectares] of farmland for a project that will allow the Arab Gulf state to ensure a steady food supply.
The Sudanese finance and national economy minister Ali Mahmood Abdel-Rasool said that his government welcomes an initiative by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdel Aziz to work towards Arab food security through the implementation of major economic projects in Sudan.
Sudan's President says his government gave Qatar 250,000 acres of land in the Nile River state but the project was put on hold because China cancelled a loan that was needed to extend electricity in the area.
Al Ghurair Foods is acquiring 100,000 hectares of farmland in Sudan to grow grain, a move in line with the UAE's efforts to address food security concerns, according to company chairman Essa Abdullah Al Ghurair.
New studies released in London today suggest that the frenzied sell-off of forests and other prime lands to buyers hungry for the developing world's natural resources risk sparking widespread civil unrest—unless national leaders and investors recognize the customary rights of millions of poor people who have lived on and worked these lands for centuries.