Global food crisis: China land deal causes unease in Argentina

September 8, 2011 • Farming Practices, Argentina, Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Jack Alpert for this article from The Guardian.  See:

Global Food Crisis: China Land Deal Causes Unease in Argentina

Felicity Lawrence

1 June 2011

A Chinese agribusiness firm is to buy a large swath of land in Patagonia. Critics fear it will bring heavy agrochemical use and ecological degradation, and strain the region’s water resources

The attraction to the Chinese of access to an area of land in Patagonia larger than Cornwall is obvious. As China’s economy grows and its population becomes more urbanised, diets are changing rapidly. People are eating more industrially produced meat and dairy products, and buying more processed foods.

Soya is the feedstock for this revolution, but demand for it can no longer be met within China. So the Chinese state-owned agribusiness company Beidahuang has joined the global scramble for land and water that has accelerated since food prices spiked in 2008.

Last year it was confirmed that the company had signed an agreement, with the government of Patagonia’s Río Negro province, which provides the framework for it to acquire up to 320,000 hectares (790,000 acres) of privately owned farmland, along with irrigation rights and a concession on the San Antonio port.

Details of the deal, alleged to have been kept quiet, have been emerging in recent weeks as Chinese technicians have started work.

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