Saturday, July 18, 2009

There is always something new to learn

The fact for today:

Half of the one billion hungry people in the world are small scale farmers living in developing countries.

I learned this from a story about international land grabs on this week's "Living On Earth", an interview with Olivier De Schutter of the UN Food Programme.

A few weeks ago I posted a comment about a story I heard on Weekend Edition - about Saudi Arabians' buying land to raise feed for milk cows. This is more about the trend.

DeSchutter points out the three major problem areas in most of these deals:
access to land
food security for the nation whose land is used
and a lack of transparency in the deals - leading to corruption in how the funds gained are spent

Apparently many of the deals are spelled out in a few pages, with no provisions for worker justice, environmental health, etc., etc., etc....

The UN's 15 pages of guidelines are here:

DeSchutter maintains that the deals don't have to be prime examples of neo-colonialism.

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