Wow, this is pretty interesting. So China plans to rent land from other countries, grow food on it, and then ship the food back to China to decrease grain prices. At first glance, this would seem like globalization at it’s best: I mean without low transportation costs, how else could this plan even be feasible?
However, this isn’t really ‘globalization’ in the free market, free trade sense. If it was, the US would end their farm subsidies and flood the world market with cheap grains instead of paying the mid-west to destroy their own crops so that there wouldn’t be a need for this plan in the first place (I never really did much research on this stuff so it’s probably more complicated than I make it).
China in a way is still attempting to maintain self sufficiency in grains instead of purchasing it off the world market. Except it’s kind of weird because it’s not really self sufficiency if you have to rely on grain being grown on foreign lands thousands of miles away. It kind of smells a little like colonialism, but it also looks similar to the way western corporations move to China to exploit cheap labor. Except in China’s cases, they’re exploiting… cheap land?
Now the article is really brief and I can’t seem to find much other information on the internet either. So here are all my questions: Is China going to send their own peasants to other countries to farm the land? Who will be managing these farms? Is the land that’s to be rented out originally farmland or are they cutting down forests? What about environmental issues? If China is sending their own workers there, will they have to abide by Chinese or domestic laws?
And finally, this doesn’t seem to make much economic sense. So if these farms are producing grains for the sole purpose of lowering domestic prices, that means the gap between China’s and the world’s grain prices will increase. There is a higher profit to be made to sell the grain on the world market, so there seems to be a built in incentive for the managers to cheat. It’s like they’re bringing back the old wheat-tax-quota from the 1980s, except they’re exporting this system to foreign… collectives? I mean these will be state-owned factory farms. Wouldn’t these farms hurt the Chinese household farmers as well? Didn’t China’s Green Revolution take place because they allowed the market to dictate the peasant’s behaviors?
If anyone has more information on this, please comment. Muchas gracias.