Thursday, December 22, 2011

Indian Corporates Land Grabbing in Africa?

What seems surprising for a country that acts as the godfather of emerging African economies, Indian corporates seem to be grabbing land in Africa, at a supposedly aggressive rate, much unlike the Europeans who only exploited the continent for trade. Here's an article in countercurrents.org:

"Indian companies venturing abroad is always regarded as a healthy trend, an indicator of India's new-found economic status. But little is known about how these companies are flexing their imperialistic muscles in poorer countries, grabbing the land and giving little in return. A report 'India's Role in the New Global Farmland Grab' by researcher Rick Rowden brings forth these atrocities which are shockingly similar to what India used to blame rich western countries for.

"Joining the race with China, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, South Korea and the European Union, Indian and Indian-owned companies are acquiring land in Africa at throwaway prices, indulging in environmental damage and exporting the food while locals continue to starve. The origin of this unhealthy practice can be traced back to the food crisis of 2008 when rich countries were forced to confront the reality of how fragile the global food scenario can be, especially for those without sufficient cultivable land. To ensure more direct control over food, these countries started acquiring land in poorer African countries and shipping the produce back home. A recent World Bank report found that 45 million hectares of large scale farmland deals had been announced between 2008 and 2009."

I am immensely sad at this. For a continent plagued by famines and food shortages, the very thought of being exploited by a country that has a bleeding heart for that continent is unthinkable. Sad indeed.

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