"Rich countries grabbing farmland in Africa to feed their growing populations can leave rural populations there without land or jobs and make the continent's hunger problem more severe, an environmental think tank said on Tuesday.
The trend is accelerating as wealthier countries in the Middle East and Asia, particularly China, seek new land to plant crops, lacking enough fertile ground to meet their own food needs, Washington DC-based Worldwatch Institute said.
Worldwatch said its researchers interviewed more than 350 farmers' groups, NGOs, government agencies and scientists over 17 months. The meetings, held in 25 countries across sub-Saharan Africa, addressed issues that hinder the efforts of African farmers to alleviate hunger and poverty.
"People are always saying that Africa needs to feed itself. It can't do that if the Chinese and the Saudis are taking up the best land for production for food," Danielle Nierenberg, director of Worldwatch's Nourishing the Planet project, told Reuters."