This is interesting.
Talking about how \”foreigners\” are setting up big commerical farms in Africa, displacing peasant farmers without compensation. Interesting for a number of reasons, the first being Paul Collier\’s insistence that such large scale farming is exactly what Africa needs. Yields are typically two to three times higher which, even after exports, means more food available in general.
And there most certainly are areas of Africa where the land just isn\’t being used.
But the really interesting bit?
The detailed reporting is all about Ethiopia. And it\’s very much not on the side of those commercial farmers.
But you know the one vital fact they don\’t report? That no farmer in Ethiopia owns his land. So they don\’t get a choice in this at all.
No, you see, all land in Ethiopia is State owned. The central government as well, not even local communes or the local council who might know about local conditions. Get on the right side of Meles Zenawi and his mates and you can get your land.
Now if individuals did own the land, if there actually was private property, then only if those peasant farmers thought they were going to benefit could such deals go ahead.
As is often said on this here internet: the State is not your friend.