CNBC reports – Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf countries are scooping up farmland in drought-afflicted regions of the U.S. Southwest, and that has some people in California and Arizona seeing red.
Saudi food giant Almarai, purchased 10,000 acres of farmland in Vicksburg, Arizona, for around $48 million, parent company to Fondomonte California which bought 1,790 acres of farmland in Blythe, California along the Colorado River — for approximately $32 million.
The Saudi company said the deal “forms part of Almarai’s continuous efforts to improve and secure its supply of the highest quality alfalfa hay from outside the (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) to support its dairy business. It is also in line with the Saudi government direction toward conserving local resources.” (Their water supply)
“We’re not getting oil for free, so why are we giving our water away for free?” asked La Paz County Board of Supervisors Chairman Holly Irwin, who represents a rural area in western Arizona where food companies affiliated with the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates have come to farm alfalfa for export.
Added Irwin, “We’re letting them come over here and use up our resources. It’s very frustrating for me, especially when I have residents telling me that their wells are going dry and they have to dig a lot deeper for water. It’s costly for them to drill new wells.”