China

Solving threat of hunger for rich may starve the poor

The problem of food security poses a real threat to global stability. Meeting in Italy last weekend, agriculture ministers of the G8 industrialized countries recognized the extent of the problem. They pledged to continue fighting hunger. But beyond calling for increased public and private investment in agriculture, the final communiqué of the ministerial meeting was short on fresh proposals.

Après une offensive discrète au Kazakhstan, la Chine lorgne les terres russes inexploitées

Officiellement, les terres arables louées à la Chine n’existent pas. C’est que les autorités kazakhes craignent la réaction de la population rurale devant la “concurrence déloyale” représentée par l’arrivée en masse de paysans chinois, dont l’équipement agricole est supérieur au vieux matériel soviétique encore utilisé sur la plupart des exploitations kazakhes.

The growing lust for agricultural lands

Not a day goes by without new acreage being signed over. "For Sale" ads for agricultural property are now featured in the international financial press. And there's no dearth of clients.

Sowing the seeds of regret?

Increasingly, the land deals are coming under the scrutiny of the UN and watchdog groups such as Grain, the International Land Coalition and the IFPRI. That's because it is not obvious that they are win-win situations.

All hands to the pumps

Are there any answers to this looming crisis? Some countries are buying land. There is vague talk about governments introducing “water management reforms”. Even more opaquely, there are calls for “multi-country discussions on trans-boundary issues, international trade and investment flows”.

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.