A new land deal allowing South African farmers to produce livestock, milk and fruit in Libya has been put on hold pending the finalisation of an investment protection agreement between the two countries.
At least three or four private equity funds are currently raising capital with a mandate to invest in agricultural enterprises in Africa.
Accaparement des terres - le cas de l'Afrique du Sud - par AGTER
The much-discussed Congo land-lease, granting 200,000 hectares to South African farmers with a further 10 million hectares in the balance, appears to mark a departure from the usual terms underpinning foreign acquisition of fertile land by multinationals
Der Spiegel video on Dominion Farms in Kenya and a Chinese farm project in Tanzania. Auf Deutsch.
De Jager is worried about Libya’s record in enforcing contracts with foreign companies, and the lack of social support networks. “There’s a lot of money to be made for someone with balls,” he says.
Sime Darby Bhd, which owns 220,000ha of oil palm estates in Liberia, plans to strengthen its presence on the African continent and is eyeing more land in Cameroon, Congo and South Africa. The expansion is part of a long-term strategy to double planted areas to one million hectares and be nearer to the growing markets of Europe and the US.
The delegation hopes to conclude an agreement with the Libyan government that sets out commercial terms, including investment protection, tenure security and incentives.
De Jager is most excited about an impending Agri SA fact-finding mission to Libya at the invitation of President Muammar Gaddafi. "If we succeed there, we can succeed anywhere in Africa."
The Congolese government said it had signed similar agreements with China, Brazil and Israel.
El ministro de agricultura congoleño, Rigobert Maboundou, dijo que este acuerdo forma parte de un Plan de Acción de su Gobierno para consolidar la agricultura como un pilar de su economía y que, además de este pacto, el mayor de este tipo firmado en África, tienen otros similares con China, Brasil e Israel.
There has been criticism of the deal in France, pointing out that Denis Sassou-Nguesso, the Congolese president, is widely considered to be severely corrupt. But de Jager believes such attacks are motivated by a desire to protect French [farm export] interests against competition.