In 2008, the world’s food system began to fall apart. However, threatened with hunger, rich countries have started buying up and leasing fertile tracts of the developing world.
With 60% of all arable land in the world in Africa, this is where investors have firmly set their sights.
In Mali, 75% of the population are farmers, but rich, land-hungry nations like China and Saudi Arabia are leasing Mali’s land in order to turn large areas into agribusiness farms.
Many Malian peasants do not welcome these efforts, seeing them as yet another manifestation of imperialism. As Mali experiences a military coup, the developers are scared off. But can Mali’s farmers combat food shortages and escape poverty on their own terms?
At the time of decolonisation, Africa was self-sufficient in food and exported around 1.3 million tonnes of food every year between 1966 – 70. Today, Africa imports 25% of its food.