How would you feel if your own government placed you in competition with foreigners for foodstocks grown in your own country? How would you feel about it if your country was already facing food shortages?
These questions aren't hypothetical in some parts of the world. These scenarios are happening today and it's a problem that's rapidly worsening.
At first it was east Africa where China and some Middle Eastern states began appropriating top grade farmland to grow crops for their people at home. Offer a couple of hundred million in foreign aid, build a dam or a bridge or a new presidential palace and suddenly small farmers are being cleared from their holdings to make way for your brand new agri-business.
Now, according to the United Nations Humanitarian Affairs office, the same syndrome has reached Southeast Asia.
Sam Pov, a rice farmer in Cambodia’s western Battambang Province, is very worried that his land will be taken over by a foreign investor.
"I've heard the rumours about [Kuwait and Qatar]. I heard they might get our land because they need food," he said.
"The commune leaders haven't talked to us yet, and I don't think they will if the time comes. This is a good time for them to get paid and get huge benefits."
Last year, delegations from oil-rich Kuwait and Qatar visited the impoverished nation, eyeing leases on land to export food back home - a move that could leave many Cambodians without enough food, say activists and NGOs.
Kuwait has reportedly offered US$546 million to the Southeast Asian nation in loans for dams and roads, while Qatar will invest $200 million in agriculture.
The International Food Policy Research Institute reports that land grabbing is becoming extensive in Asia:
CAMBODIA: Land being leased by Kuwait for rice (in negotiations) 100,000ha rubber plantation secured by Vietnam
LAOS: 100,000ha rubber plantation secured by Vietnam
PHILIPPINES: 10,000ha for agro-fishery secured by Bahrain 100,000ha for Qatar 1.24 million hectares for an unknown company in China (on hold)
INDONESIA: 500,000ha, a $4.3 billion rice investment, secured by Bin Laden Group of Saudi Arabia (on hold)
CHINA: 10 poultry farms worth $300 million and pig farms for $250-300 million purchased by Goldman Sachs of USA
Goldman Sachs buying up poultry and pig farms in China? There's a troubling message in that. The world is running out of food, something that's being accelerated by climate change and a global freshwater crisis. We're about to play a game of international musical chairs in which wealthier nations exploit poorer nations to lay claim to foodstocks those poorer nations often cannot really afford to sell without harming their own people.
Goldman Sachs knows that we're on the edge of an era where we'll be gaming the international food market as never before and the little guy, the guy who can't afford to get into the game, is going to take it in the neck.