Food, Water, Global Competition

See "Fresh Air" for 2011-05-18: Food: The Hidden Driver Of Global Politics

(Audio file available there at 5:00 p.m. ET, may not be permanently available.)

With the earth's population at 7 billion and rising, with climate changing unpredictably, and fossil water now sucked out, food may suddenly become the "new oil".

Fearing they might not be able to buy needed grain from the market, some of the more affluent countries, led by Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and China, took the unusual step in 2008 of buying or leasing land in other countries on which to grow grain for themselves.

Food prices are rising, but the impact is not being felt equally around the world, says environmentalist Lester Brown..."This is becoming a huge political issue in many parts of the world, and it's creating conflict between local populations and these investors," Brown says.

Some of these contracts involve Latin America.

Related story at Earth Policy Institute.

See also: The New Geopolitics of Food at "Foreign Policy".