Corporate ownership of world food sources may be shifting into high gear. Goldman Sachs, the private equity investment bank of the ultra wealthy and powerful, has announced that it's in the race to scoop up assets related to food production.
Alarmed by exporting countries’ trade restrictions, importing countries have realised that their dependence on the international food market makes them vulnerable not only to an abrupt surge in prices but, more crucially, to an interruption in supplies.
The Chinese government is more and more worried over the control that overseas firms are exercising over a good portion of China’s food supply, and there is even some thought that the recent inflation might have been triggered by foreign food giants as they have expanded into every corner of China’s agriculture.
Sudan is seeking to attract at least $1bn of capital for its agricultural sector from Arab and Asian investment groups, which are turning to Africa in search of new food supplies as their governments try to manage the impact of commodity price inflation.
As other countries have pushed their industrial bases thousands of miles offshore in search of resources and labor, China is doing the same thing with agriculture, expanding as far away as Africa in its effort to feed its people.
Chinese and Mozambican governments want to make the Zambezi Valley region of Mozambique a centre for rice production for the Chinese market, which is faced with increased consumption and less and less arable land, says researcher Loro Horta, a specialist in relations between China and Portuguese-speaking African countries.
Emerging nations are trying to cash in on the global food crisis by getting big importers of crops to effectively lease their farmlands -- a new trend that is already sparking complaints from farmers in some countries who are concerned about their own food supplies.