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Rent a farm - in another country

Monday, June 16, 2008

For%20Rent.jpgSome countries are finding an alternative solution for the lack of farms to fulfill their agricultural needs: they are renting the land from other countries!

The new idea has many benefits. It helps the country in need of food and it also helps the "host" country that often lacks resources for their own land production, as well as the infrastructure.

Persian Gulf countries are the main users of this rent-a-farm system. Many of them are very oil rich and can afford this arrangement. According to the recent U.S. News and World Report article:

"Many of the richest countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, are handicapped by a dry, unforgiving climate and a shortage of farmland; thus they must import more than 60 percent of their annual food supply. Existing water stores are expected to be exhausted in 30 years, and yet, food demand is growing. Population growth in the region is more than double the world average, the prices of some staples are up more than 30 percent this year, and civil unrest is mounting."

Gulf states are not alone in these pursuits, and have been joined by some Asian countries, as well as individual farmers from the United States and Australia.

Since farmland is disappearing globally due to things like urbanization, population growth and development, this trend will continue. One can only hope that the agreements will continue to be beneficial for both parties involved, and that all countries will have an equal chance to participate, while they maintain their sovereignty.