Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Can Foreign Ag Firms Help Feed China?

The country's farmers need all the help they can get. Not only have they been deprived of funding and technology, environmental math is against them too. Farmers lack the equipment required to respond to an increasing demand for agricultural products, as well as an adequate social security apparatus.

China's farmers have to feed a fifth of the world's population using 10% of its arable land. Government analysts say per capita water levels, currently one quarter of the global average, will drop below internationally defined crisis levels by 2030 if usage continues at its present rate.

In a nation where agriculture accounts for 70% of water consumption, catastrophe may only be avoided through improved efficiency.

With their years of experience in mechanization, agricultural chemistry and biological research, foreign agri-tech firms are uniquely positioned to capitalize on China's needs. Meanwhile, well- financed overseas food processors and retailers are able to implement large scale infrastructure improvements that are beyond their domestic competitors.

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