Land grabs are creating food-price crisis. (Thinkstock)

Michelle Chen of ColorLines is reporting that new research by the Oakland Institute, which monitors global agricultural trends, suggests that transnational land grabs in Africa — including Ethiopia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Sudan — are setting up a repeat of the 2007-2008 food-price crisis, which was fueled by a blend of financial, political and environmental factors.

"We see really vertical integration and control of the markets [by investors] who will be able to both influence prices and also decide on what the production will be," warns Oakland Institute Policy Director Frederic Mousseau. "We have the food chain, which is pervasively and quite rapidly in recent years being under the control of financial groups."

China and Arab countries have generally been scrutinized in the media for their land deals, but much of the cash flow comes through U.S. and European investors, according to Oakland Institute, through established pension funds, agribusiness behemoths and even educational institutions.

It looks like "Trade, not aid," has become more than a slogan. Africa is rich in resources, so the continued pillaging of the continent will unfortunately continue. We're glad that organizations like the Oakland Institute exist to continue to shine light on this serious issue. Now that the problem has been identified, what is going to be done collectively to address it?

Read more at ColorLines.

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