Friday, January 11, 2013

Water grabbing occurring at 'alarming rates'

Cecilia Rosen in Deals in which rich foreign corporations and countries buy or lease agricultural land abroad result in nearly half a trillion cubic metres of fresh water also being grabbed each year — often enough to grow sufficient food to abate undernourishment in the 'grabbed countries', a paper reveals.

The majority of land grabbing takes place in Africa and Asia, and the amount of grabbed water per capita often exceeds the water requirements needed to provide a balanced diet to residents in the grabbed nations, says the paper, published last week (2 January) in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.

It describes land grabbing as a "new form of colonialism that has intensiļ¬ed in the last four years, initially in response to the 2007 to 2008 increase in food prices". But it adds that "the interests of foreign land purchasers can be reconciled with those of developing countries if land grabbing can be used as a means to create new jobs and bring in investment and technological advances from which the local economy could benefit".

The amount of grabbed land is often a significant portion of a country's total area, for example nearly 20 per cent in Uruguay, around 17 per cent in the Philippines and almost seven per cent in Sierra Leone, the paper says....

USAID photo taken in Africa

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