(GIN) – Over 300 sq miles of farmland in Tanzania has been bought by South Korea – the latest in a series of deals between Africa and land-scarce countries abroad.
Half the land will be developed for local formers, South Korea said, with the other half to produce processed goods such as cooking oil, wine and starch for the Asian nation.
Seoul also signed a deal last year to lease lands described as the size of Belgium in Madagascar, but that deal could unravel if a government that took power this year in a coup carries out its pledge to cancel the sale.
Rich countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Kuwait, are increasingly buying up farmland in poorer nations to help shore up their own food supplies.
Lee Ki-Churl, of the state-run Korea Rural Community Corporation defended the purchase. "Some African countries export fruit and import fruit juice, or export olives and import olive oil, simply because their past colonialists did not teach them how to process food," he told the AFP news agency.
"We plan to set up an education center for Tanzanian farmers in the food-processing zone in order to transfer agricultural know-how and irrigation expertise to them."