Thailand

No matter how bad things get, people still need to eat

A conference for fund managers tied to agriculture held annually in Sydney by Austock, an Australian broker, attracted a few dozen contrarian souls three years ago. This year’s event, which began on March 16th, had to be restricted to several hundred ticket-holders, with many others turned away.

Wikileaks: Contract farming in Burma

"Since 2005, the Burmese Government has encouraged investors from China, Thailand, Bangladesh, and Kuwait to invest in contract farms," reports the US mission in Rangoon

Rich countries carry out '21st century land grab'

Nomadic herders, rarely a priority for governments, are being dispossessed by bioethanol developments in Kenya, says Michael Taylor of the International Land Coalition (ILC), and they also depend on the “unused” land that Madagascar offered Daewoo.

Welcome fades for wealthy nations

The initial welcome given to rich countries’ investment in African farmland by agricultural and development officials has faded as the first ventures prove to be heavily weighted in favour of the investors. The FAO warned of such a trend when it said this year that the race to secure farmland overseas risked creating a “neo-colonial” system.

Al Qudra buys land for crops

Qudra Holding plans to buy about 400,000 hectares of land in the Middle East, Africa and the Far East by the first quarter of 2009 to boost its agriculture operations, reported The National.

New Gulf funds find investment niches

Three new investment funds controlled by prominent Gulf investors will sink at least US$2.8 billion (Dh10.3 bn) into infrastructure, agriculture and hospitality projects in the Middle East and South Asia.

Al Qudra to buy 400,000 hectares of farmland

Al Qudra Holding, the Abu Dhabi-based investment company, plans to acquire roughly 400,000 hectares of land in the Middle East, East Africa and Far East by the end of the first quarter of next year in a major expansion of its agricultural operations.

Gulf states seeking food security

The Dubai-based think-tank Gulf Research Centre, in its food inflation report released last month, noted that agriculture production in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) countries is on the decline, and its exposure to unstable global food supplies would increase in the future. It called on the GCC to develop links with countries rich in arable land.

UAE ‘should invest in foreign farms’

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.