In Africa biggest land grab after colonial era: Reports

In Africa biggest land grab after colonial era: Reports London: Ethopia, one of the world's poorest country, is selling or leasing its land to foreign investors for intensive agriculture on such a scale that it may be the biggest land grab after Colombus, according to media reports.

Up to 125 million acres of land -- an area more than double the size of the UK -- has been acquired in the last few years or is in the process of being negotiated by governments and wealthy investors working with state subsidies, say reports published in the Mail and the Guardian.

Ethiopia is one of the hungriest countries in the world with more than more than 12 million people according of Food and Agriculture Organisation, are chronically or at least periodically food insecure, but paradoxically the government is offering at least 7.5 million acres of its most fertile land to rich countries and some of the world's most wealthy individuals to export food for their own populations.

But Ethiopia is only one of 20 or more African countries where land is being bought or leased for intensive agriculture.

The data used was collected by Grain, the International Institute for Environment and Development, the International Land Coalition, ActionAid and other non-governmental groups.

The land rush, which is still accelerating, has been triggered by the worldwide food shortages which followed the sharp oil price rises in 2008, growing water shortages and the European Union's insistence that 10 per cent of all transport fuel must come from plant-based biofuels by 2015.