Tuesday, December 2, 2008


"Qatar has asked Kenya to lease it 40,000 hectares of land to grow crops as part of a proposed package that would also see the Gulf state fund a new £2.4bn port on the popular tourist island of Lamu off the east African country.
But the deal is likely to cause concern in Kenya where fertile land is unequally distributed. Several prominent political families own huge tracts of farmland, while millions of people live in densely packed slums.

The country is also experiencing a food crisis, with the government forced to introduce subsidies and price controls on maize this week after poor production and planning caused the price of the staple "ugali" flour to double in less than a year
Pastoralists, who regard the land as communal and rear up to 60,000 cattle to graze in the delta each dry season, are also opposed to the plan.

The Kenyan president, Mwai Kibaki, returned from a visit to Qatar on Monday. His spokesman said the request for land in the Tana river delta, south of Lamu, in north-east Kenya was being seriously considered.

"Nothing comes for free," said Isaiah Kabira. "If you want people to invest in your country then you have to make concessions."" (Thanks Anna)

OK so let me get this straight: The poor are hungry, but they will farm the land so that Qatar can eat. And the pastoralists will sacrifice their land so that the rich can make more money. Great plan.

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