Old post of mine, but still relevant….
Map of chernozem distribution..
There has been a tug of war over Ukraine, which has led to heavy sanctions being imposed by US and EU against Russia. This escalation of hostilities has even led to threats of nuclear engagement, all pretty hairy stuff. There are many interlinked reasons for the battle for the control of Ukraine, but one that is not often mentioned is Chernozem…the legendary black soil of Ukraine.
Food and water are the future resources we will scramble for as the planets population increases. Oil and such fall into second place, especially with constant new technological development that makes energy creation ever more diverse. I am convinced the influential corporations already have alternative sources of energy sewn up; they just keep the technology on ice to squeeze the last drop of blood out of their petro-chemical investments. But anyway…
Cherozem – black dirt – is high in phosphorus and produces extremely high yields. There is not that much Cherozem on the planet and Ukraine has one third of the world’ s supply. The soil goes down 1.5 metres over much of the country, fertile black earth all the way down, and there is even a big black market trade in lorry loads of the black dirt. Ukraine is the world’s third largest supplier of corn and fifth largest supplier of wheat.
At the moment there is a moratorium on the sale of agricultural land in Ukraine, as the possibility of it going straight into the hands of oligarchs is very real. A few powerful families could buy up the bread-basket and control a huge supply chain. The price of land in Ukraine is very low. Even though there is a ban on sale of land, this has not stopped Persian Gulf States and China from illegally acquiring land in Ukraine. They need to secure ways of feeding their populations in the future. (China is already annexing parts of Africa for this purpose)..
China has already opened a USD 3bn credit line to develop joint agricultural projects, half of which are aimed at improving irrigation systems in Kherson Oblast, a region of fertile chernozem land and one of Ukraine’s most sparsely populated areas. Considering the Chinese experience of investing in African countries, it may be assumed that China invests this much money in upgrading agricultural infrastructure with an eye to putting it under its complete control later.
But it is not just China who is wrangling surreptitiously over black earth. In return for billion euro investments from the EU, Ukraine’s new (puppet) government is giving international ”seed” companies access to its precious Cherozem.
The presence of foreign corporations in Ukrainian agriculture is growing quickly, with more than 1.6 million hectares signed over to foreign companies for agricultural purposes in recent years. While Monsanto, Cargill, and DuPont have been in Ukraine for quite some time, their investments in the country have grown significantly over the past few years.
The European Union and the United States are working hand in hand in the takeover of Ukrainian agriculture. Although Ukraine does not allow the production of genetically modified (GM) crops, the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union, which ignited the conflict that ousted Yanukovych, includes a clause (Article 404) that commits both parties to cooperate to “extend the use of biotechnologies” within the country.
This clause is surprising given that most European consumers reject GM crops. However, it creates an opening to bring GM products into Europe, an opportunity sought after by large agro-seed companies such as Monsanto.
Further proof that American investors have a sincere appreciation for the value of Ukraine’s black earth can be seen in the recent acquisition of a 50% stake by the investment fund Siguler Guff & Co in the Ukrainian Port of Illichivsk, which specializes in agricultural exports.
Ukraine controls a third of all arable land in Europe. The hasty introduction of biotechnology into developing countries leads to deplorable results that are evident in Latin America and Africa. But Europe’s farmers will go bust much earlier. Their goods, which are produced by workers in the EU where the price of labor is quite exorbitant, cannot compete with the influx of GMO products from Ukraine.
If Monsanto, John Deere et al are allowed to gain a foothold on the most productive land in Europe, then banks will lend only to farmers willing to accord with those global corporation’s practices (as happened in India). The good earth of Ukraine (an invaluable, irreplaceable resource, more rare than dwindling oil) will be wrung out and then the ground beneath it fracked. All because Ukraine is still a low-cost zone, with divided political power, an ongoing civil war that has cost thousands of lives, and utter dependency on manipulative external forces like the IMF. Asset-stripping of a whole region, by another name.