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In Ethiopia, foreign investors grabbing 'green gold'

Global food prices have been going up and more developed countries are looking to places like Ethiopia, Madagascar, Tanzania, Sudan and Argentina for farmland where it is less expensive to grow food, which is then exported back to the first world nations, according to AllAfrica.com.

In Ethiopia, this process has come to be known as grabbing "green gold." The outside investors sometimes do not even pay taxes and often buy land for less than it is worth.

Why are countries like Ethiopia selling their valuable land? Some of the investors are promising information and new technology, as well as capital gains from food exports.

The report calls some of these host countries, themselves in need of food security, "too naive" or "unconcerned."

What then is the alternative? Ethiopia's government could start by using its own capital - small, but significant, says the report - to invest in farming. There has to be interest from the part of the host country to develop technology, importing them if necessary. Training is needed for its own domestic business and wealthy expatriate Ethiopians are another source for funding.

Ethiopia is a "poverty-stricken economy," according to the CIA World Factbook. About 85 percent of its labor force works in agriculture, while 38.7 percent live below the poverty line. 
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