Recent protests and political tensions in North Africa and the Middle East have been attributed to the public’s anger at high levels of unemployment, corruption, and authoritarianism. Less reported has been an important fourth factor—rising food prices, surging 17 percent in Egypt alone.
As food prices continue to rise, and food shortages become more frequent, investment in agriculture has also seen an increase. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), FDI flows in agriculture jumped to US$3 billion per year in the 2005-2007 period, up from $600 million during the 1990s.
Countries with large territories such as Canada, China, and the United States are hosts to significant levels of inward FDI in agriculture. South American countries attract FDI in grains, sugar, fruits, soy and livestock while for Central American countries it is mostly fruits and sugar can. In Africa, foreign investors have shown a particular interest in staple crops such as rice, wheat and in oil crops whereas FDI in South Asia has targeted production of rice and wheat. Other Asian regions have concentrated more on cash crops, meat and poultry.
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Read: “The Lure of Brazilian Agriculture,“ an article by Jerry Haar for Latin Business Chronicle.