OUTSIDE THE BOX
Afew years back, foreign investors scouting for large swaths of land to plant rice and eucalyptus trees backed off after encountering strong local opposition. Anecdotal reports indicate that they have not given up altogether but may be working through Thai fronts to achieve the same end. With warm weather year round, fertile soil, and ample supplies of water, Thailand remains a target for foreigners interested not only in securing industrial raw materials and food supplies but also in obtaining a higher rate of return on their investment.
A rice farmer who rents land from an agrobusiness firm in Ayutthaya. Many evicted farmers cannot find gainful employment and earn enough for food that they otherwise could produce themselves.
These investors are part of a diverse group who has significantly increased foreign direct investment in agriculture in recent years through long-term leases or purchases of land in all parts of the world, particularly in developing countries, where intense local opposition often occurs. Fred Pearce, author of When the Rivers Run Dry, spent a year travelling the globe to gather data relating to such investment and recently published a book entitled, The Land Grabbers: The New Fight over Who Owns the Earth (Beacon Press, May 2012). The book provides information on investors, types of land and crops, the process of land acquisitions or grabbing, and impact on local communities and the environment.
This article is older than 60 days, which we reserve for our premium members only.You can subscribe to our premium member subscription, here.