Peter Kramer

Peter Kramer
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Thursday, January 2, 2014

China and their land grab

China land grab Ukraine

http://rt.com/business/china-ukraine-agriculture-lease-267/

Hungry China wants to 'borrow' land from 'bread basket' Ukraine for 50 years

Published time: September 24, 2013 11:10 Edited time: September 24, 2013 
19:17

Reuters / Claro Cortes IV

The Chinese plan to lease 5 percent of Ukraine's total land to grow 
crops may be nothing more than a pipe dream. Ukrainian officials say 
they know nothing of the deal, reported in a Chinese newspaper over the 
weekend.

Food demand in China is expected to grow along with industrialization, 
and China has been land-grabbing across the globe, with 7.4 million 
acres (3 million hectares) in Ukraine being the most recent prospect.

The South China Morning Post reported China's Xinjiang Production and 
Construction Corps (XPCC) had a 50-year plan for crop and pig farming, 
spanning over 9 percent of Ukraine's arable land.

If executed, the deal Kiev-based KSG agro would make Ukraine China's 
biggest overseas farming center.

However, in Kiev the proposal has caught officials by surprise.

Sergey Kasyanov, Chairman of KSG agro, explained the misunderstanding.

"We are not going to sell or transfer a lease or sublease to the 
Chinese. The project pertained to installing a drip irrigation system in 
those 3 million hectares in the next year," Kasyanov told Vesti 24 in a 
TV interview.

China's reported 'land grab' would include eastern territories near the 
Dnieper river, Kherson, and Crimea, well-known for its coastal beaches.

Ukraine lifted a ban on foreigners buying land last year.

"I don't have any information on the subject, unfortunately. I know that 
Chinese companies occasionally show interest," Igor Livin, the Chairman 
of the Association of the Ukrainian-Chinese Cooperation told Vesti 24.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Sergey Arbuzov, who is on an official trip to 
China, confirmed Ukraine is interested in attracting new investment from 
China, but made no mention of agriculture, instead focused on banks. ...

Land Grab

China has upped its overseas farming investments to counter any future 
food shortages, and in 2013 bought Australia's biggest cotton farm. The 
Post reported China has over 2 million hectares of land abroad that it 
uses for agriculture.

Worldwide 115 million acres are leased to foreign investors.

Big foreign land buyers include Britain, the US, China, the UAE, South 
Korea, South Africa, Israel, India, and Egypt, according to a recent 
report from the 'Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences'. The 
study found between 0.7 and 1.75 percent of agricultural land is being 
transferred from local to foreign hands.

These countries are seeking greener pastures to grow crops in Congo, 
Sudan, Indonesia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, and Australia, 
according to the report.

'Land grabbing' can be a mutually beneficial relationship, as foreign 
investors can 'get more' out of the land using newer agriculture 
technology, and the local 'host' can profit. However, forcible 
relocation of people and soil erosion are risks.

Land has made a comeback – from cattle, private ski resorts, hunting and 
fishing clubs, to the Maine coastline – for American entrepreneurs who 
prefer to take a stake in natural real estate to diversify and hedge 
their assets against the risky gold, oil, and stock prices.

Rising grain prices also give investors incentive to turn to land.

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