'Made in Australia' - but on a Qatar-owned land

Illustration: Matt Golding, The Age
Qatar government's agricultural arm - Hassad Food - has recently secured a yet another land acquisition in Australia. As Qatar's population is expected to grow to as much as 50 million people by 2050 (from only 813,000 in 2005) food security becomes one of the most striking future threats, for which Qatar has already started bracing itself. According to an article in the Australian The Age, Hassad Food has recently agreed to pay as much as $35 million for 8000 hectares of sheep-grazing and cropping land in Victoria's Western District - a premium of up to twenty per cent was paid in this transaction.

Qatar; with only 65,000 hectares of arable land, only nominal natural water reserves and the scorching heat that makes agriculture a totally unfeasible and loss-making business; invests heavily in foreign arable land. Recent acquisition in Australia comes only a year after another purchase of the 2630-hectare Kaladbro Estate, Victoria's Western District. The company's $100 million portfolio also includes 6800 hectares in Canowindra, New South Wales, and a 125,000-hectare holding in Queensland's Clover Downs for $18.5 million.

Qatar's Hassad Food does also either directly own or rent arable or otherwise useful for agriculture land in countries around the world (i.e. Australia, Sudan, Turkey, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Georgia).

To see the article in The Age click here.

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