As Earth Week 2013 rolls around, a frenzy of land grabbing threatens our food supply, Indigenous land use practices, access to water and the future of farming. In recent years the focus on speculation in food prices caused riots in over 30 countries. However, speculative investment has turned its eye in 2013 from food commodities to farmland itself. Land is now considered a safer bet.
The formula has not changed though: investment funds estimate that as population increases, more people will seek to eat, and the value of places to grow food will go up. Farmland investment company Agcapita’s website touts land for sale: “Agcapita believes farmland is a safe investment, that supply is shrinking and that unprecedented demand for ‘food, feed and fuel’ will continue to move crop prices higher over the long-term. We believe Canadian farmland has some highly unique and useful characteristics … if structured correctly, [it offers] minimal counter-party risk and in certain markets a margin of safety due to discounted prices.” Scarcity begets a good speculative market — too bad that scarcity in this case means hunger.