Productive Land As A Failure Plan
A study done by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine calls out the danger to food security created by an overweight global population. Larger bodies require more energy even when sitting still. The global population is expected to grow by 1.9 billion people between now and the year 2050. The added strain on the food supply created by the overweight percentage of the global population is projected to be the equivalent of an additional billion people.
We’re already seeing food wars. China, Saudi Arabia, and other governments have begun buying arable land in other countries in an effort to secure food supplies for their citizens. Some governments, Brazil, for example, have put laws in place prohibiting foreign land ownership. In Brazil, no more than 2% of land can be owned by foreigners in any single Brazilian state (though internal debate in Brazil may reverse the restriction, which was imposed in 2010).
With serving sizes of individual meals in U.S. restaurants big enough to feed entire families, the overeating trend among Americans isn’t likely to reverse itself anytime soon. And the rest of the world is following suit. While almost 75% of the North American population is overweight or obese, 50% of Europe’s population is likewise big. The figure is 25% for Asia.
So, along with global warming, peak oil, and currency crises, now you can add food scarcities to your list of worries.
Global warming is a multi-millennia cycle, oil isn’t a fossil fuel and replenishes, and currencies come and go. I don’t think you really need to lose sleep over food shortages either.
Why To Spend On Productive Land
Still, it never hurts to have a back-up plan, and owning some land on which you could grow your own food somewhere in the world is a good idea. Even if the world doesn’t run out of food, supply chains can get broken by embargoes or war, etc.
Of course, as with a physical gold back-up plan, you have to be able to get to your land in time of crisis. Additionally, it’d help if you knew how to grow food…and had seeds to plant. So don’t forget to buy a book on farming (a real book, not some e-book that requires a reader, which requires electricity) and some packets of seeds to keep on hand.
More seriously, access is key. Depending where you’re planning to base yourself long term, good arable land options in the Americas are to be found in Belize, specifically in the Cayo District, in Panama in the mountains, in Ecuador, in Uruguay, and in Argentina. In Europe, Romania, Croatia, even France or Italy could work.
A family of four, depending on the source you believe, should be able to provide food for themselves on a plot of land anywhere from 2 to 5 acres, depending on the quality of the land. Finding a small piece of land of on its own isn’t always easy. However, in Belize, you can buy a 4-acre parcel in a development for US$75,000. In Panama, you can find land in the mountains for less than 50 cents a square meter in more remote areas (meaning access won’t be easy) or for less than US$1 per square meter with better access. In Europe, land isn’t cheap, but you can find old farmhouses with some land for reasonable prices in rural areas as young people continue to head into the cities.
Bottom line is that investing in a piece of productive land as a back-up plan for feeding yourself and your family in case of emergency isn’t an overly cautious or overly expensive insurance policy.