South Africa Versus Australia: Food Security And Land Grab

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1. Comparison of South Africa food security

Most of Africa’s countries are food insecure, notwithstanding trademarked improvements in nutrition over the past two decades. Although in 1994 South Africa some of the political and economic advancements, the country is plagued by unemployment and poverty following the recent global economic change, by steep food and fuel prices, high-energy taxes and increasing interest rates. Most of the ordinary South Africans are now struggling to meet their basic household needs since these inopportune conditions have put severe pressure on them. Thus, a proper definition of the term “food insecurity” and measures that are suitable for the South African context must be urgently developed. South Africa is facing difficult macroeconomic conditions such as inflation. It will cause commodity prices to keep raising without proper planning that could cause great influence in low-income earner. FAO, the food and agriculture organisation measures undernourishment as the number of people older than 15 who are actually hungry but not eating anything without eating the whole day due to lack of money and no resources for food. Hence most of South Africans have low body weight.

Australia is a country that experiences a high level of food accessibility and many people enjoy good access to a wide variety of food. In order to have a secure food supply, food availability, food accessibility and knowledge and resources to use food appropriately need to exist. Food availability means that people have enough food for suitable quality available consistently. This might include production, storage, distribution and exchange of foodstuffs, provided reliably and frequently. Countries like Australia is major agricultural producer and exporter, therefore, can grow a variety of crops. Australia is now establishing a more functioning and efficient technology that helps to increase high-quality agriculture products. Moreover, food accessibility is also a key fact to having a secure food supply. It means that we can access to food by physically and economically. Developed countries such as Australia can access the food easily in the market, supermarket or grocery shop. To make sure the food is secured, we need to use the food appropriately which means using food safety and applying knowledge about nutrition, clean water and sanitation when preparing food. Most of the restaurants in Australia provide clean and cooked food which means it is safe to eat.

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Risks to food security

An analysis found that the increase of population growth is highlighting the growing pressures on the environment, energy resources and global food supplies. Solutions for supporting the extra billions in the future are being investigated and documented. 1 out of 7 people on the earth goes to sleep hungry. The area that is overpopulation caused people to die of malnutrition and hunger-related illness every day. Besides, agricultural production has increased will indirectly cause the growth of energy consumption to produce a crop. Hence the ratio of crops produced to energy input has decreased over time. The “Green Revolution” techniques also gradually rely on chemical fertilisers, pesticides and many which are petroleum products making agriculture increasingly dependent on petroleum. moreover, climate change is also considered a risk to food security. For example, high temperature and unreliable rainfall make farming more challenging which ten cause less food available globally and global food prices increase and lead to vulnerability in poor.

Global world rankings of food security (Australia and South Africa)

Australia is ranked as 6 out of 113 countries in the economist intelligence unit’s 2018 global food security index because of excellence in food knowledge and it is ranked 4 for the quality and safety of its food. However, South Africa is ranked 45 out of 113 countries due to food insecurity.

2. Description and cause of land grab

Land grabbing can be defined according to the size, people, control, legality and usage. The local plot sizes decide whether it is a land grab. To have a size to identify land grabs, people must look at land holdings in the countries and determine what the average and culturally adapted sizes are the range that most holdings fall into. Anyone can become a land grabber, an individual, companies, public or private, governmental or non-governmental, domestic or foreign. Besides, land grabbing is about overall control. The land grabber can do anything they want in the specific land they own. Land grabbing can be both legal or illegal according to the law but most land grabs are legal. In some developing countries, laws do not protect them against land grabbing which indirectly encourages land grabbing and use human rights. Most of the land grabbers use the land in harmful ways for an exclusive purpose such as the monocultures method is used in agriculture.

The land grab is unquestionably made people think of the colonial era with foreign nations again staking a part on the continent. However, since South African governments are partnering with foreign investors in the land grab, observers are left to question if this is another case of South African leaders selling their citizens short or simply just governments tracking an economic development opportunity. Evidence suggests a marked inequality in the benefits received by those involved in and affected by these transnational land properties, particularly for those originally dwelling on the land. This problem should deserve both increased international attention and country-level debate to ensure such agreements provide more equal benefits to all parties involved.

Land grabbing can have different shapes and forms and can happen in different situation or condition. There is state-led land grabbing and there are land grabs by transnational corporations. There are land grabs to produce food for export, mining or other large infrastructural projects. However, even at the local level, leaders and community chiefs grab land. There are also mechanisms within families and communities that result in land grabbing and local elites might land grabbing too.

Description of the companies involved in the land grab

Lots of multinational investment bank and financial services holding companies such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan love to invest in land grabbing business. Finance capital companies include organisations as various as banks, brokerage companies, insurance, financial service providers, pension funds, investment funds and firms and venture capital funds. Since 2007 is the beginning of the financial crisis and food price increase, more and more finance capital companies have been frequently involved in land grab. After then, land became a target for financial capital investors who needed to find new opportunities for creating immediate returns on investment or to find a safe investment for money that could not be invested elsewhere in more profitable ways. This trend is developing the significance of financial markets, financial institutions, financial motive and financial elites in the land acquisitions. Financial leads may not always be very visible in a land deal because they may be financing land grabs indirectly. For example, banks may provide credit to the companies involved in land deals, or premium funds or private and corporate investors might be part of an investment fund that does not reveal where the investments come from.

Benefits to the companies involved

Agricultural companies most often view investment inland as an opportunity to leverage their significant financial resources and market access to take advantage of underutilising the land, expand their holdings, and vertically unite their production systems. The World Bank identifies three areas in which multinational companies can take advantage of economies of scale and it is access to cheap. International rather than domestic financial markets, risk-reducing diversification of holdings. In the past few 10 years, multinationals have avoided direct involvement in relatively profitless primary production, instead of focusing on inputs and processing and distribution. When the food price change, the risk was transferred from primary production to the price-sensitive processing and distribution fields and returns became concentrated in primary production. This has motived agriculture businesses to vertically combine to reduce supplier risk that has been raised by the ongoing food price volatility. These companies hold mixed attitudes towards food imports and exports. While some concentrate on food exports, others focus on national markets first.

3. Negative and positive effects on the local population of land grab

Negative effects: Land grabbing occurs in most developing countries where some of the people experience poverty. In South Africa, there is a huge business in agriculture but the companies are not afraid to steal farm from the locals. Some, even the elderly, have their land taken from as the local governments cooperate with corporations that become nasty rich in the process. Politicians are more often now cooperate with the companies and involve in land grabs. Moreover, the locals are often forced to work for the companies that steal their land. When this happens, many of the locals are forced to work for very long hours and they deteriorate with an inspection when their shifts come to an end to ensure they have not stolen any crops during the day.

Positive effects: Local population would benefit from the new job, market, infrastructures and amenities. It can include enhanced productivity and trade, development of agricultural technology, and installation of schools and health facilities and other types of agricultural foundation.

Social, economic and environmental change due to land grab

Social effect: Land for traditional African communities represents the very essence of their uniqueness. The trees, rivers, lakes and forests are not just small assets, properties or potential resources but also and repositories of parental feelings, sites for sacred rites, and historical landmarks that unite the group to the specific locations and landscapes. Hence, their loss produce effects which go far beyond their actual implications. As a result of the land grab, these populations live real injuries since they see their indigenous regions completely vandalised.

Economic effect: According to some researcher, land grabbing has positive effects on Africa. They debate the local population would benefit from the jobs, businesses, facilities and infrastructures. The activists note instead that the poorer are the first to lose ground as local people are not qualified enough to take these jobs, access to new markets is laborious and infrastructures, if realised, provide benefits only for a very restricted part of the population.

Environmental effect: Many lands grab strip communities of land and create environmental problems through concentrated agriculture and increased water demand. In the poorest countries, local smallholders forced to abandon their family lands have to relocate, either cities or clear forests or peatland to continue farming.

4. Policies to improve sustainability for local

Fully implement the ‘Tenure Guidelines’ on land, fisheries and forests through participatory, including devices that prioritise the rights and needs of legal ownership users, especially women. Beside that, ensure free, earlier and informed approval of all communities affected by land transfers, including the fair and equal participation of all groups within local communities, especially excluded and marginalised groups such as women, children, minorities, the elderly and disabled people. Moreover, review public policies and projects that support land grabbing and instead of supporting these policies that designate the needs of small-scale food producers, particularly women, and sustainable land use. Furthermore, control businesses involved in land deals to make them fully responsible for considering human rights, ownership rights and environmental, social and labour rules. This includes ensuring that investors carry out extensive human rights due diligence, are transparent and fully accountable completely all their operations at home and abroad.

Proposed solutions using similar global scenario

In the November of 2011, more than 250 participants from 30 different countries, typically representatives of farmers’ organisations gathered in Nyeleni Village, a centre for agroecology training organised in a rural area in Mali, where located at West Africa to participate into the first International farmers’ conference to stop land grabbing. This village is an iconic place, where the first international conference on Food Sovereignty was held in 2007 in the same place. For the three days which are from the 17 to the 20 of November, participants are exchanging their experiences and creating alliances to stop the global land grab. Small scale food production is replaced by large monoculture plantations for export and local farmers are left without land, jobs, food. This is the reason why farmer organisations decided to gather together facing this problem and create a space for exchanging experiences and try obtaining common solutions. During the initial debates, participants shared their experiences and offered a multifaceted image of land-grabbing. On the one hand, they are totally agreed that land grabbing is not a completely new phenomenon, as most countries have suffered it through the establishment and in some places colonial legal systems insist until now.


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