Harvesting Farmland: An Analysis of National Factors Contributing to the Use of Large-Scale Land Acquisitions as a Food Security Strategy
Hintz, Charles Eric
MetadataShow full item record
This thesis analyzes factors contributing to the recent trend of nations purchasing, leasing, or otherwise acquiring agricultural land abroad as a food production resource. These “large-scale land acquisitions” (LSLAs) have been studied extensively; however, scholars have mainly focused on LSLAs’ effects on “host” nations, providing only cursory explanations of “investor” nations’ motivations. This thesis corrects this deficiency in the literature by investigating drivers underlying the selection of a LSLA food security strategy. It conducts controlled comparisons of four case study nations, China, South Korea, India, and Saudi Arabia, which are diverse in terms of size, economics, politics, and other factors, but which all pursue food security LSLAs; it seeks to establish whether these nations share specific motivations for LSLAs, despite their differences, to determine the extent to which nations employing such a strategy, in general, share such motives. The first two chapters compare direct food security drivers of LSLAs in these states; the third examines if these nations share economic paradigms, to test if such paradigms act as an “underlying” stimulus of LSLAs. Regarding food security drivers, this thesis finds that all four face long-term rising and diversifying food product demand, limited production capacity, and reliance on food imports combined with a national preference for self-sufficiency; thus, LSLAs seem to be a method of reducing import dependence and securing access to food. Regarding economic outlook, this thesis finds that all four share an illiberal paradigm, consistent with these states’ aversion to markets. Given significant projected growth in world food demand, these findings could aid in predicting which nations might pursue such a policy in the future.