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.
Peter Ndoro spoke to Dr Yao Graham, coordinator of Third World Network-Africa, a development agency, asking whether these deals really transfer technical expertise to locals.
"The motivation for South African farmers is simple," said Theo de Jager, Agri SA's deputy president, who helped negotiate the deal. "One in four farms must be redistributed in the next four or five years. So for new entrants into the sector and for those farmers who want to expand there is nowhere to go."
Can these deals benefit Africa? Have you been affected by one of these land deals? Should countries be leasing fertile land to foreign investors? Join a live BBC debate on 21 October 2009.
South Africa has signed a deal with the Republic of Congo that will give SA farmers access to up to 10 million ha of farmland, the country's biggest farmers' union said on Tuesday.