21 November 2008

Corn project

Greetings from Wageningen,

It's been a pretty wild day weather wise.  When I woke up the wind was so strong that bikers were barely moving, it then started raining really hard, this turned to sleet and then everything stopped. It was calm and sunny for a half an hour, then the rain came again, followed again by sleet, and then it brightened up. Since this morning it has been raining off and on, but the wind hasn't come up yet. 
I read a really interesting article in the NY Times this morning about a project by South Korean carmaker, Daewoo.  Daewoo has signed a 99-year lease in Madagascar to grow 2.5 million acres of corn and 750,000 acres of palm. They hope to grow 5.5 million tons of corn per year on the land equal to half of Belgium. Though this sounds strange, it's quite common, especially after the food crisis. Though it's possible that this could provide many jobs for the local population and may increase the agricultural production of Madagascar, many similar projects have failed in both regards and I have many doubts.  In most cases, long-term leases like this result in mining of the soil, proletarianisation of the peasants, and further deepening of poverty in the region. The projects seldom provide as many jobs as they replace because the projects usually use large-scale mechanisation and agricultural knowledge based on perfect agro-ecological conditions. Of course, this case may turn out differently but I'm not holding my breath. 
The wind is picking up again and it's getting darker, here we go again. 

Thanks for reading, Andrew

Update: It's been two hours since I wrote the above; an hour ago it was sunny AND raining and now it's sleeting/snowing.

No comments:

Post a Comment