Monday 18 Jan 2021 | 05:45 | SYDNEY
Monday 18 Jan 2021 | 05:45 | SYDNEY

Middle East food security: Buying the farm


Rodger Shanahan


15 January 2009 09:18

Mark Thirlwell highlighted the move by Gulf nations to ensure food security by using their massive oil revenues to buy or lease arable land from developing countries. Despite the massive drop in the oil price, GCC countries are still engaged in the same quest for land, with the UAE doing a significant deal with Sudan, Qatar and Kenya reaching a similar agreement, and Bahrain and the Philippines also in negotiations

For countries with little to sell other than their labour or their land, some are even using the Gulf's quest for food security to attract foreign investment, as the recent visit to Doha by Sri Lanka's prime minister attests. There appears to be no slackening in this move towards achieving food security, and it may well be an issue for Australia in future, if regional countries continue to sell or lease land to provide food for Gulf countries at the expense of providing for their own populations, or if such a move decreases the market for Australian agricultural exports.