Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Controversy continues over Chinese foreign farm purchases

Further to my recent post on this subject, here's a WSJ article about resistance from New Zealand farmers to the purchase of 16 farms there.

According to Wiki, Crafar Farms was NZ's largest family-owned dairy concern until a crash in milk prices forced it into receivership. The receivers had two goes at getting official clearance to sell to Chinese businesses and got the okay in April this year.

Other farmers are worrying that it's the thin end of the wedge and cash-rich foreign buyers may now start to flood in, snapping up land at prices the locals can't match and ultimately turning Kiwis into tenant farmers. Australians share their concerns - though at least one business commentator there is blowing the free trade trumpet and warning of international tension if it's unheeded.

It's an issue here, too: last month saw a £50m deal between the UK and China, to sell pork products, which is OK in itself, but indicative of the potentially vast demand from the Chinese, so our food may not stay cheap for much longer.

The Daily Telegraph, reporting on this year's Hay Festival, included an interview (see 18:00) with Conor Woodman, author of Unfair Trade - How Big Business Exploits the World’s Poor and Why It Doesn’t Have To.  The title is self-explanatory, and the issue is becoming live for us here; as Woodman says, "What concerns me more than monopolies is Chinese investments in parts of the developing world where they are buying up land, fishing, mineral and mining rights. The Chinese have been going round buying up the world and we ought to be concerned by that."

On the one hand, there's land-grabbing going on inside China, where speculators are illegally seizing and converting precious agricultural land to building projects; and on the other, Chinese business is purchasing blocks of food-producing land around the world, including the South-East of England.

Don't expect our negligent, venal and treacherous ruling class to do much about it. Daily Mail business expert Alex Brummer's new book, "Britain for Sale: British Companies in Foreign Hands - The Hidden Threat to Our Economy" shows how, unlike our foreign counterparts, the UK has long been happy to sell off key British enterprises; flogging the very ground we stand on is only an extension of that process.


Nick Drew said...

unless the Peoples Liberation Army moves into the cowshed I am not sure what the problem is

Sackerson said...

Ask the Tibetans. They're not much liked in Africa, either. Wait until they are properly our masters.

And watch meat prices soar.

Nick Drew said...

Tibet: well hence the qualifying remark about the PLA

Meat: as the Chinese and others shift onto beef-eating en masse, meat prices are going to soar anyway, and they probably should: the world just cannot shift to beef-eating, it will finish us all long before the CO2 will

factory-farmed fish is the only way: uses around one twelfth of the resources per unit of protein than does beef

(and less than half that of poultry)

Sackerson said...

Didn't know that stat about the fish.

James Higham said...

Essentially though, it comes down to how one sees sovereignty. If one is a City-loyalist, one might say: "Unless the Peoples Liberation Army moves into the cowshed I am not sure what the problem is."

Otherwise, one might be quite concerned.