11 August 2009

The devastating effects of the new colonialists

When there was a coup in Madagascar a few months ago, there was widespread condemnation of the unconstitutional actions -- from the US, from France (the former colonial power) and from the African Union, with several African countries threatening to impose sanctions. BBC NEWS | Africa | Pressure grows on Madagascar coup:
The African Union has suspended Madagascar after the army forced out the president and installed the opposition leader in his place.

Southern African leaders say they may impose sanctions on the Indian Ocean island unless legality is restored.

But as with many such stories, there is more to this one than meets the eye.

Wish you weren't here: The devastating effects of the new colonialists - Nature, Environment - The Independent:
The urban poor were angry at the price of food, which had been high since the massive rise in global prices of wheat and rice the year before. Food-price rises hit the poor worse than the rest of us because they spend up to two-thirds of their income on food. But what whipped them into action was news of a deal the government had recently signed with a giant Korean multinational, Daewoo, leasing 1.3 million hectares of farmland – an area almost half the size of Belgium and about half of all arable land on the island – to the foreign company for 99 years. Daewoo had announced plans to grow maize and palm oil there – and send all the harvests back to South Korea...

The government of President Ravalomanana became the first in the world to be toppled because of what the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization recently described as "landgrabbing". The Daewoo deal is only one of more than 100 land deals which have, over the past 12 months, seen massive tracts of cultivable farmland across the globe bought up by wealthy countries and international corporations. The phenomenon is accelerating at an alarming rate, with an area half the size of Europe's farmland targeted in just the past six months.


James Higham said...

Yes, when one sees the whole story, it can read quite differently.

jams o donnell said...

That certainly does put things in a different light

Iosue Andreas Sartorius said...

It was interesting how the Koreans, once victims of colonialism themselves, bent over backwards to explain that is was somehow not colonialism.


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