Financial Times (4/24) has an interesting article titled commodities boom drives up land values. In the UK, farmland prices have risen 40% over the past year. There is at least one UK investment fund dedicated to the purchase of farmland, and the operation of farms, on behalf of investors. In the Ukraine, prices for the best farmland are expected to double over the next year. And in Serbia, there’s an increase from of more than 40% over the past year. Farmland prices have been going up significantly in the US, too, although the FT article doesn’t mention any numbers.
On the same page, FT has another article: EU warned over cut in number of pesticides. Excerpt:
European Union plans to restrict chemical use by farmers in Europe could reduce harvests at a time of global food shortages, farmers, academics, regulators and pesticide makers warned on Wednesday.
Crops such as apples and hops could no longer be grown on the continent if EU draft plans are not amended, they said. Wheat and potato yields could drop by almost a third, according to industry-sponsored research.
Research commissioned from Italian consultancy Nomisma forecast drops in yields of about 30 per cent by 2012. The EU would lose its self-sufficiency in wheat, potatoes, wine and cereals.
(Here’s a letter to the editor from someone who strongly disagrees with the thesis that these pesticide controls will be devastating to European agriculture.)
Via the interesting site Gongol, here’s an article about the growing shortage of fertilizer, with comments by Norman Borlaug.