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  • Title: Africa's Farmland in Demand: 'Is There a Better Place than This?' | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Africa s Farmland in Demand: Is There a Better Place than This?.. December 3, 2011.. Source:.. Toronto Star.. View Original.. Video:.. Land rush in Africa.. By Rick Westhead.. KIMAMBILA, TANZANIA—Said Manga scans the red volcanic soil outside his mud-brick home and sees a patch of African plain bursting with life.. The farmer watches plump chickens zigzag between nearby rows of maize, sorghum and wheat swaying in the afternoon breeze.. Barely visible in the distance, Maasai tribesmen herd their cattle north towards Kenya.. “Is there a better place than this?” Manga asks, softly, breathing in deeply and rubbing soil in his hands.. Indian industrialist Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi has his eye on this lush scenery, too, but he sees something much different: the potential for large-scale commercial farming.. Karuturi, from the South Indian city of Bangalore, envisions the fields around Kimambila growing cut roses for Canada, lentils for India, tomatoes for the Middle East.. He’s hardly the only foreigner with eyes on Africa.. With 60 per cent, or 600 million hectares, of the world’s remaining arable, uncultivated land, according to the U.. S.. consultancy group McKinsey Co.. , the continent is once again a coveted landscape.. The 19th century had the Great Scramble for Africa, when developed nations raced for several decades to lay claim to new territories and their riches.. This century may yet be known as the Great Selloff of Africa.. After a global food crisis in 2008, prices of grain and other staples tripled and agricultural investment in Africa has swelled.. The crisis set off alarms in countries with booming economies but where arable land was increasingly at a premium.. In many of these countries population is growing rapidly — India is forecast to have 1.. 5 billion people by 2050, making it the world’s most populous nation — or a thriving middle class is creating demand for more, better food.. Coupled with climate change that has caused either flooding or drought, the quest was on.. In only a few years, companies from India, China, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have snapped up 227 million hectares of farmland in the world’s developing countries, more than three times Canada’s 68 million hectares, according to a report by Oxfam this fall, some for as little as $1 per hectare.. Ethiopia, for instance, has long-term leases with Karuturi and others for 1.. 2 million hectares of land.. The famine-prone country currently exports fruits and vegetables worth $60 million per year and flowers worth $160 million.. The United Nations, Oxfam and the U.. -based Oakland Institute are concerned the long-term leases amount to sweeping “land grabs,” forcing African farmers and nomadic tribes from their homes and off their fields.. This fall, a UN intergovernmental body failed to adopt international guidelines on land governance.. Three-quarters of the guidelines have been agreed upon but rules on large-scale investment in farmland remained a sticking point, said Olivier De Schutter, the special rapporteur on the Right to Food.. The committee is to meet again early in the new year.. Rick Rowden, a doctoral candidate and researcher at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, says more than 80 Indian companies have invested $2.. 4 billion into East Africa, agricultural investments that will be used to grow cash crops for the Indian market.. “You ask Indian companies if they want to be known for the colonization of another country and they don’t care,” he says.. “The capitalists in India are not any different from capitalists in other countries.. They want to be set free to do what they want without rules or restrictions.. ”.. On one hand, foreign investment offers the promise of modernizing the world’s least-developed region.. Only 7 per cent of farmland in Africa is irrigated, compared to 40 per cent in Asia.. Foreign companies promise to share modern farming technologies, introduce new, high-output hybrid crops, and build schools and health clinics.. They insist that they only lease land that isn’t already being used.. But environmentalists envision a doomsday scenario where foreign investors spend the next 20 years aggressively farming cash crops and leave when groundwater reservoirs dry up and soil is sapped of its nutrients.. “Forget the promises.. Companies are plunderers no matter where they come from,” said Vandana Shiva, a New Delhi environmentalist.. “It’s a resource grab.. The trip from Tanzania’s capital of Dar es Salaam’s deep-water shipping ports to Manga’s farmland is a four-hour drive past fields of cassava and cashew plants and tin-roofed churches with names such as “Glory to God Miracles Center.. Everywhere are signs of India’s influence: a showroom full of trucks made by Tata, India’s leading automaker; branches of Baroda Bank, India’s third-largest; and recruitment centres for Indian colleges and universities.. Billboards for the Indian mobile phone company Airtel, some with images of the Taj Mahal, dot the countryside.. More vivid reminders of India are on the way.. Earlier this year, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh announced India would provide $5 billion in aid to Africa (India both gives and receives aid).. It will also finance the construction of a railway in East Africa and establish an India-Africa virtual university.. When Tanzania was a British colony during the 1950s, blessed with exotic wildlife but starved of development, Manga’s father stumbled on the village of Kimambila when he was working as a labourer on a railway.. He never left.. Eventually, others arrived, drawn to the rich, red soil, the regular rains and temperate climate that combine to transform seedlings to ready-to-eat maize in only 10 weeks.. Village leaders say 1,250 families live in Kimambila.. “It’s a simple life,” says Manga, 33.. The biggest event is when local families host a party to announce that their daughters, typically aged 14 or 15, are ready for marriage.. “It’s a great party, the best time we have,” Manga says.. The Mangas may be happy but they are far from comfortable.. They sleep on dirty foam mattresses and grow enough food to eat but not enough to sell at local markets.. They have about 50 chickens and sell one every few months for about 7,000 shillings ($4.. 40).. The money helps to cover the cost of charging their cellphones.. Manga’s family can’t afford the 200,000-shilling dowry it costs for him to marry, although he has had two children out of wedlock with a neighbour’s daughter — infractions that have cost his widowed mother 24,000 shillings.. One afternoon, Elias Mtinda, a food security expert with the antipoverty group ActionAid Tanzania, told Manga and his neighbours that their stretch of land has been targeted by the government to be leased to foreign developers.. In August, during a nine-day fact-finding mission through Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia, Karuturi and three dozen other Indian executives visited Morogoro.. Karuturi said that his company planned to invest some $2.. 5 billion in Tanzania, one of the world’s poorest countries where an estimated 600,000 children under five have died from malnutrition during the past decade.. “There is huge potential for agriculture in East Africa,” Karuturi said.. “The region has 120 million hectares of arable land, the same size  ...   for its fields in the village of Gambella.. In early October, 12,000 hectares of maize were lost in flash flooding.. Indian newspapers reported the setback cost the company $15 million.. The floods help to explain, Singh says, why Karuturi isn’t paying more for its leases.. “The lands here are difficult to tame,” Singh says.. “To break their virginity, you have to deal with weeds and water shortages and access issues.. The land his company is developing is remote, he says, and there are few roads connecting it to transport routes.. Each bore well, for instance, can supply water for about five hectares, an area about the size of five football fields.. So for a 100,000-hectare plot of land, the company needs 20,000 wells.. “There’s no electricity, so we have to figure out how to get diesel, clean diesel with no dust in it, to 20,000 locations,” Singh says.. “It’s not easy, you see.. Even more difficult for Karuturi is navigating the flurry of charges related to displacing local villages.. The U.. -based Oakland Institute wrote in June that a group of Ethiopian villagers who live near the Gambella National Park are to be relocated in 2012 to make way for new Karuturi fields.. The institute reported soldiers have already been deployed to the area.. While its contract allows Karuturi the right to have locals removed by force if they are impeding their projects, the company told the Indian magazine Outlook that the soldiers had nothing to do with them, but were instead there to deal with neighbouring South Sudan and cross-border cattle disputes.. Singh insists Karuturi has not left anyone homeless.. “We are building houses.. We are not employing children, we need more people to work our farms,” Singh says.. But ActionAid’s Mtinda doesn’t buy it.. He says there are reports of sprawling commercial farms destroying the livelihoods of the nomadic Maasai herders, who have shepherded livestock across the African plains for centuries.. Singh insists Karuturi wants to make life better for the Maasai.. “We have housing for them, too,” Singh says.. “It’s safer and it’s better than what they have now.. In Uganda in April, a mob killed an Indian man and vandalized a temple while protesting the decision by India’s Mehta Group to cut down a rainforest to make more room for its sugarcane crop.. Then there were riots throughout Madagascar after the government agreed to a deal that would have given control of 1.. 3 million hectares to South Korea’s Daewoo, nearly half the country’s arable land.. The Tanzanian village of Kiru Six is about three hours’ drive south of Mount Kilimanjaro.. In late January, tensions erupted on a sugar plantation that belonged to several Indian investors.. Early one evening, itinerant workers set fire to the crops and made their way to the farmhouse.. “I didn’t see them but I heard them and they were so angry,” says Idi Salim, a guard at the plantation.. “I ran away before they got here.. Salim is paid $1.. 25 per day to guard what remains of the plantation.. Three months ago, locals cleared the charred remains of the sugar and planted a new crop.. Several said they would keep the proceeds themselves.. “This is what happens when you come in and take ancestral land,” grunts Paolo Andrea, a local farmer in Kiru Six.. “You don’t just come in and grab land.. It doesn’t matter who says you can.. Newspaper reports say two Indians were injured during the attacks, although Andrea says one was actually killed with machetes.. A local police official declined to comment.. “I don’t know when they will come back,” Salim says of his employers.. Few in Tanzania or Ethiopia can explain why their governments are parting with so much valuable farmland for such bargain-bin prices.. Getachew, the University of Addis Ababa professor, says 27 per cent of Ethiopia’s annual GDP goes to pay down debt.. Foreign lenders have turned off the tap on any further money.. “They’ve promised big public works spending, like these dams, but they have no other way to pay for them other than by selling off our land,” Getachew says.. “You won’t find one single Ethiopian who thinks this is a good thing.. We’ve had three revolutions here because of land ownership issues.. It’s sacred.. People do not want to see this going to foreigners.. In Dar es Salaam, ActionAid’s Aida Kiangi says Tanzania’s sell-off is steeped in corruption.. “There are many envelopes changing hands,” she says, but it can be hard to prove and harder still to publicize.. Last year, for example, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative released a report on Tanzania’s mining sector.. The initiative, started by the British government with support from the World Bank, is a coalition of governments, civil society groups, and companies that sets standards for transparency in the oil, gas and mining sectors.. Mining companies, the report said, provided royalties worth $84.. 4 million to the Tanzanian government in 2009.. The government, however, had only reported receiving $48.. 3 million.. “That was page 20 news in the few papers it did make it into,” Kiangi says.. There are other ways to exert pressure on companies and the government.. With about 1.. 6 million British pounds in funding from the British and Danish governments, ActionAid and five other civil society organizations are starting a land-monitoring registry.. Local villagers will be encouraged to send an SMS message whenever they see something unusual.. It might be government officials surveying land, or it could be an influx of strangers into a village.. “We want to know about anything that looks out of place,” Kiangi says.. “The big problem we have here is there’s no transparency in government.. We still have no idea how many deals there are for land with foreign companies.. But if we knew about them as they’re still unfolding, we could go to key contacts in government and find out about the deals before they’re done and take it from there.. It’s a tall order to think advocacy groups can influence public policy, but Kiangi says it’s possible.. “We found out this way about two new mines under development by Canada’s Barrick Gold here,” she says.. “We weren’t able to do anything about the terms of those agreements this time, but maybe next time we can.. It’s anyone’s guess whether that kind of system would make a difference in Kimambila.. This is the sort of small community where it’s impossible for a newcomer to go unnoticed.. But Kimambila is also a place, several locals concede, where residents live in fear of authority.. What if someone in a uniform shows up and says they need to move?.. “We’ll start walking,” Manga says.. What chance does he have against companies eyeing millions in revenue and a government aiming for its own payday?.. Contact.. the oakland institute.. P.. O.. Box 18978.. Oakland, CA 94619.. info@oaklandinstitute.. org.. Donate.. Your tax-deductible donation allows us to conduct independent research, analysis, and advocacy to facilitate democratic participation in critical policy decisions that affect our quality of life..

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  • Title: Think Tank Deplores Ethiopia Land Grab Deals | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Think Tank Deplores Ethiopia Land Grab Deals.. December 1, 2011.. Addis Voice.. By Abebe Gellaw.. Washington DC (ESAT News)–The founding Executive Director of the Oakland Institute (OI), an independent policy think tank based in California, USA, has condemned cheap land giveaway deals that have been displacing indigenous communities from their ancestral land.. In an exclusive interview with the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), Anuradha Mittal has said that the deals are illegal and should be voided.. She says that the land giveaway deals in Ethiopia have been causing great misery to the indigenous people, who are not even being consulted when their fertile land is given away to foreign agribusinesses to produce food and cash crops for export.. Mittal further pointed out that the land deals that has been destabilizing and detrimental to ordinary Ethiopians are illegal and should be voided.. “These deals are illegal.. The people’s voice has not been taken into consideration.. These deals need to be voided,” she said.. “These leases are pretty atrocious if you look at the price of land of this fertile land, which is close to water being given away for leases, which are 45, 50 or 90 years leases.. There are no environmental, social impact assessments done,” she said.. Mittal further noted that the Ethiopian government cares little about the impacts of these deals on powerless local communities that are being displaced as a result of the land giveaway.. “You don’t find any kind of consultation process with the local communities because in Ethiopia land belongs to the government,” she noted.. Lack of democracy and good governance is at the heart of such a situation, according to Mittal.. “We don’t find investment scheme that would result Ethiopia as a country, as an economic power, gaining any kind of advantages,” she said adding that the scheme appeared to allow “strategic investors” to rob Ethiopia’s rich resources and taking the benefit out of the country.. Earlier this year the Oakland Institute published special reports on seven countries severely affected by land grab.. In its country report on Ethiopia, OI underlined that the land lease deals would aggravate food insecurity, have negative environmental impacts and devastate indigenous communities.. According to the report, published earlier this year, over 3.. 6 million hectares of land has been transferred, largely to foreign agribusinesses.. Despite the fact that Meles Zenawi has been arguing that leasing away millions of hectares of  ...   the impact of land giveaway discovered rampant violation of human rights and the indigenous people are denied their basic rights to raise their concerns.. “Our researchers reported a lot of repression.. They reported indigenous communities were hunted down like animals where they constantly asked if they support these plantations.. They are supposed to say yes.. If they would say no beatings follow and rapes follow,” she said.. The OI director blamed the Ethiopian defense forces for enforcing the land giveaway deals.. Mittal says that the defense force uses tanks to monitor “the areas where people are constantly being beaten or arrested if they voice their dissent.. In Gambella, a region severely affected by land grab deals, the institute’s researchers found out that one of the Gambella National Park is being deforested and devastated by investors operating in the region including Karuturi and Saudi Star, which is owned by Sheik Mohammed Al Amoudi.. Another OI finding contained in its country report on Ethiopia and that has raised eye-brows is that up to 75 percent of land grab investors in Gambela affiliated with the TPLF.. The OI country report on Ethiopia states: “It is widely perceived that Tigrayans receive beneficial treatment in relation to investment are given land freely and receive preferential access to credit.. All but one of the domestic investors that we visited were from the Tigray region…One regional government official in Gambella estimated that 75 percent of the domestic investors in Gambella were from Tigray.. ” Mital said such a practice is a kind of colonialism.. Mittal argued that Ethiopia is a rich country with massive resources that can feed itself.. She highlighted that people have to figure out how to remove the governance obstacle that is hindering the nation’s progress.. “History shows that if a country like Ethiopia continues to marginalize its own people, continues to ignore and show no respect to human rights, continues to practice schemes which will cause more food insecurity, we do know that there will be more hunger and poverty in Ethiopia.. We do know from history that increased hunger and poverty leads to increased insecurity that leads to political instability,” the OI chief said.. Author of several books and reports, Mittal, is an internationally recognized expert on development, trade, human rights and agriculture issues.. Recipient of several awards, she was named as the Most Valuable Thinker in 2008 by The Nation magazine..

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  • Title: Anuradha Mittal Speaks at Moana Nui: Globalization, Development, Geopolitics | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Anuradha Mittal Speaks at Moana Nui: Globalization, Development, Geopolitics.. November 11, 2011.. Watch Anuradha Mittal speak.. at.. Moana Nui..

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  • Title: Are Foreign Investors Colonising Africa? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Are Foreign Investors Colonising Africa?.. October 25, 2011.. Al Jazeera.. New economic powers India and China are being accused of buying land cheaply and uprooting indigenous communities.. Indian, Chinese and U.. companies are among many inking land-investment deals in Africa, including Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Mali, and Mozambique.. According to a.. study.. by the U.. - based Oakland Institute, foreign investors bought or leased a land area in sub-Saharan Africa about the size of France in 2009 alone.. American universities’ trusts (including Harvard’s) are also buying up land, reportedly displacing millions of farmers in the process.. Advocates say the land is being taken from indigenous communities by often violent means, and that land rights are handed over without proper contracts after closed-door deals.. A lack of regulations in these countries allows foreign firms to purchase or lease large tracts of arable land, leaving little recourse for displaced residents.. Investors claim to be growing food for the global market that will indirectly alleviate food shortages in Africa, but land is very often used to grow non-edible export commodities such as flowers and biofuels.. Defendants of the deals say local farmers who are employed by foreign firms earn more working the land than they otherwise could, and that infrastructure developments (like clean water facilities or improved irrigation systems) are there to help them.. But many of the long-term social and environmental costs are more hard to predict, and critics say the “land grabs” are already causing “.. deprivation and destitution.. ” for locals.. Indian author and media commentator Anand Giridharadas  ...   open letters to the people of India asking them to speak out against Indian agro-companies brokering land deals in their country.. "What would Gandhi say today were he to know that Indians, who were only freed from the shackles of colonialism in recent history, were now at the forefront of this "land-grabbing" as part of the race for foreign control over African land and resources; currently being called the Neo-Colonialism of Africa?".. "This land is not just "nobody"s land" as the government claims; it is our life! Without it, we could have never existed as a people.. I don"t think we will accept our land being given away to foreigners without resisting.. ".. "We have had enough and will not tolerate this new onslaught of exploitation and dehumanization in the 21st century! Many want to keep us Africans poor, disenfranchised and vulnerable only to more easily take advantage of the pillaging of our continent.. ".. An Open Letter to the People of India, a Day Light Robbery in Ethiopia.. "Doing Business" With African dictators "If it is unacceptable for Ethiopians to go to India, China or Saudi Arabia and clear their land without consulting the people, it is unacceptable here.. We are human too and we care about the future of our children like everyone else…my message to the foreign investors is, listen to the owners of the land!".. ecadforum.. The horn of Africa has some of the highest rates of hunger in the world.. (Photo from UK Department for International Development).. Read the full.. Oakland Institute report..

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  • Title: Dan Rather Reports: Trouble on the Land | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Dan Rather Reports: Trouble on the Land.. September 27, 2011.. Dan Rather Reports.. As populations expand and food prices hit record highs, international investors are hoping to strike it rich in an unlikely place, Africa.. We investigate one controversial deal and the surprising cast of players involved – including one of America’s oldest land grant universities.. Watch the.. preview.. and view excerpt of Dan Rather's.. interview with the Oakland Institute executive director Anuradha Mittal.. View full episode in.. iTunes on the web.. or.. iTunes on your computer.. Excerpt 1:.. Excerpt 2:.. Update:..

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  • Title: Harvard, Vanderbilt, Spelman Exposed for Taking Part in “African Land Grab” | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Harvard, Vanderbilt, Spelman Exposed for Taking Part in “African Land Grab”.. June 20, 2011.. Democracy Now!.. A new report raises questions about the connection of Harvard, Vanderbilt and other U.. universities to European financial interests buying or leasing vast areas of African farmland.. Called “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa,” the report by the Oakland Institute claims farmers in Africa are being driven off their lands to make way for new industrial farming projects backed by hedge funds seeking profits and foreign countries looking for cheap food.. We speak with Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute.. “We have heard about the role of these private hedge funds in food speculation and speculation of food prices, because they control commodities” says Mittal.. “But when they start buying even the means of production—they control labor, they control large tracts of land, they control water, they dictate what is grown and how it is grown—it is the kind of vertical integration of a food system that we have never seen before.. AMY GOODMAN:.. A new report claims farmers in Africa are being driven off their lands to make way for vast new industrial farming projects backed by European hedge funds seeking profits and foreign countries looking for cheap food.. The study finds American universities with large endowment funds have also invested heavily in African land in the past few years.. The reports, published by California-based Oakland Institute, claims this is increasing price volatility and supply insecurity in the global food system.. The name of the study is called “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa.. We’re joined by the study’s author; Anuradha Mittal is with us now.. Anuradha, can you talk about the significance of what is happening in Africa and the universities, like Harvard, like Vanderbilt and others, that are involved with this?.. ANURADHA MITTAL:.. Sure.. What we are basically seeing right now is this trend that has come to be known as land grabs.. And according to the World Bank, in 2009, nearly 60 million hectares of land were purchased or leased all over the world, with most of them, around 70 percent or more, being in Africa.. And so far, the media has reported on the Chinese, on the Middle Eastern states, you know, the Qataris, buying and purchasing huge tracts of land in Africa.. But the story that we’re not told is one of private hedge funds and equity funds who are looking for arbitrage opportunities in Africa and are also taking over huge tracts of land.. And that’s what our study finds, as well.. Talk about the hedge funds, the European financial interests, and how Harvard, Vanderbilt and other American universities are linked to them.. ANURADHA MITTAL:.. What we find is that there are several outfits—you know, Emergent Asset Management, Chayton Africa, Pharos Fund, just to name a few.. And by the way, they’re not just in Europe, but also in the United States.. And because they’re promising high returns, from 20 to 40 percent returns, which are based on such arbitrage opportunities, you have universities—Harvard or Vanderbilt, Spelman and many others—who are interested in that trend, and some are actually investing, those exposed by our reports being Harvard and Spelman and Vanderbilt.. Responding to the report, Emergent CEO Susan Payne told CNN in an emailed statement that, quote, “The allegations set out in the Oakland Report are grossly inaccurate.. We are consulting our lawyers and will be issuing a full statement rebutting the allegations.. ” Anuradha Mittal, your response?.. Well, we are definitely looking forward to that rebuttal, because what’s unique about our work is not their word against ours.. Our information is based on the documents that were provided by Emergent Asset Management.. So really, what they’re saying is that they’re providing false document to investors, and so it’s really their word against their own documents.. The things that we talk about—lies about leases, lies to the local communities whose lands are taken away, or the promises that they’re making in terms of benefits to communities—they are verified by the number of people that are employed, by the benefits they’re giving to communities, the actual land lease of the size of land they have.. And these are documents that have been provided by Emergent itself.. Harvard University, in a response to CNN, a spokesperson said he was  ...   done by having researchers on the ground spend months there, our research, which is based on actually interacting with these investment funds, looking at the business plans, looking at the exact head counts—what we find is, for instance, a 100,000-hectare project in Mali, which is being done by Malibya, claims to create thousand jobs.. But research by United Nations clearly shows that in Africa two hectares are enough for a farmer to feed his or her family.. So if you divide 100,000 hectares, you would see it could employ at least 50,000 families or sustain 50,000 families.. And if you do the numbers, of four or five family members, we know how many people are sustained, compared to thousand jobs, which in most times in mechanized industrial farms are low-paying jobs.. They are, you know, seasonal employment.. So if you really look at the numbers, the jobs are not the jobs that would provide a decent livelihood.. In the case of Emergent, for instance—I met with a community in Mozambique—it is only about a thousand hectares there, compared to some of the larger deals.. But the people were very clear that this village of 7,000 people depends and needs those thousand hectares, and they’re livelihoods are better, rather than working as plantation workers in this large industrial farm.. Can you talk about how food prices fit into this and large migrations of people? I mean, even climate change—does this weigh in, why countries are trying to buy up large swaths of farmland in Africa?.. Well, Amy, you’ve struck upon a very important point.. First of all, when we’re dealing with climate change, this idea of large plantation-style agriculture, which is being spread around the world, completely ignoring the impact or the amount of CO2 emissions it will lead to, is quite incredible, that instead of moving to sustainable agriculture, ecological agriculture, we are promoting these industrial agriculture.. Secondly, I mean, just the—we have heard about the role of these private hedge funds in food speculation and speculation of food prices, because they control commodities.. But when they start buying even the means of production—they control labor, they control large tracts of land, they control water, they dictate what is grown and how it is grown—it is a kind of vertical integration of a food system that we have never seen before.. So it is a huge threat for the global food supply, not to mention what it means for local populations.. We are devastating and destroying their livelihoods, their food security, which in turn means that when people are uprooted in Mozambique, uprooted in Zambia, the options that they have is to go and work in the mines of South Africa or in the mines of Zambia, and again disrupting communities, destroying lives, with no reversal and no—of these policies.. At the same time, with the lack of regulation and with the lack of transparency, any hopes for decent compensation are almost not there.. AMY GOODMAN:.. Can you talk about the links of, oh, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs?.. Well, it was interesting, in the course of our work, the funds that we have studied.. And by the way, I should mention that we have only released the first phase of our research.. In the second phase, we will be informing people more about the other funds that are operating in Africa.. And almost all of them have started their careers—the CEOs, the chief investment officers, they have all started their careers in JPMorgan or at Goldman Sachs.. And it’s interesting, given the role that—of, say, Goldman Sachs, which has been made very visible in food speculation, to see its trainees, its ex-employees now go off and start these hedge funds, which are now speculating on land and hoping to benefit from arbitrage opportunities because land is cheap in Africa.. And I would also add—.. We have five seconds.. Yes, while they talk about food security, I would urge listeners to visit Emergent’s.. site.. , where the CEO says, “We could be moronic and not grow any food, and we will still make money by buying land in Africa.. Anuradha Mittal, we’ll leave it there.. We’ll link to your.. report.. , executive director of the Oakland Institute.. Thank you.. Adobe Flash Player.. is required.. to watch video inline on this page,.. and JavaScript must be enabled..

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  • Title: World News: African Land Grab | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: World News: African Land Grab.. June 14, 2011.. Newsy.. By Gary Cotton.. Sources:.. CNN.. ,.. CBS.. Modern Ghana.. The Guardian.. Daily Nation (Kenya).. BBC.. An Oakland Institute report claims large land deals in Africa are displacing hundreds of thousands of farmers.. Transcript:.. A new report by the Oakland Institute claims to have uncovered a series of international deals it says are leading to the displacement of (quote) “hundreds of thousands” of African farmers.. The report, by the American research firm.. as “left-leaning,” spells out land purchases equaling the size of France and it claims these large tracts of land are being bought for surprisingly little.. “Over and over again I was told that it was very easy to secure land, Zambia is a country where 94 percent of the country is under customary rights.. If you are a foreign investor and you want to secure land you have to get the permission of the chief.. You get a bottle of Johnnie Walker, kneel down, clap three times, and make your offer of Johnnie Walker whiskey.. Liquor for land? According to.. a writer for CBS.. , there’s a little more to it than that--but not much.. “While the report does not claim the deals break any laws per se, it does strongly insinuate the local population does not reap anything near the promised benefits.. [the deals] often come with incentives for speculators ranging from unlimited water, oil and timber rights to tax  ...   saying the “land grab” may not be as bad as it seems.. He writes, the deals are all part of a larger, positive plan for the region.. “It is wrong to claim that such investments will only help promote food exports at the expense of local needs.. … Such claims ignore Africa’s determination to harness emerging technologies to promote agricultural development.. The efforts are being promoted as part of larger strategies to stimulate economic transformation.. And Investors are riding that sentiment, denying they are causing any harm.. In fact, they say, they’re doing just the opposite.. One company told BBC.. “They are extremely happy with us.. He said that in Mozambique the company's employees earned salaries 40% higher than the minimum wage.. The company was also involved in development projects such as the supply of clean water to rural communities.. So, cheap land for clean water and better salaries- some call that a fair trade.. But some African leaders suggest that trade will never happen.. Obang Metho of the Solidarity Movement.. for New Ethiopia said,.. “No one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans, create jobs or improve food security … These land grab agreements – many of which could be in place for 99 years – do not mean progress for local people and will not lead to food in their stomachs.. These deals lead only to dollars in the pockets of corrupt leaders and foreign investors..

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  • Title: Claims of African Land Grab Spark Controversy | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Claims of African Land Grab Spark Controversy.. June 12, 2011.. By Brian Walker.. Click here to view CNN interview with Anuradha Mittal.. STORY HIGHLIGHTS.. Think tank claims hedge funds buying African land cheaply, displacing farmers.. China, Libya want to grow food, Oakland Institute says.. U.. universities among investors, institute director says.. Company calls allegations "grossly inaccurate".. A new report published this week claims farmers in Africa are being driven off their traditional lands to make way for vast new industrial farming projects backed by European hedge funds seeking profits and foreign countries looking for cheap food.. But some firms named in the study are hitting back, saying they are providing desperately needed jobs and cash to impoverished regions on the continent.. The Oakland Institute, a left-leaning social development think tank, says investors have bought up nearly 60 million hectares (148 million acres) since the financial crash in 2009 -- land equal to the size of France, in what it calls a "land grab" in Africa.. "The same financial firms that drove us into a global recession by inflating the real estate bubble through risky financial maneuvers are now doing the same with the world's food supply," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.. "It's kind of shameful that while we in the Western world paint Africa as a basket case -- we talk about its hunger, we talk about its corruption -- but we are responsible for trying to steal the land and turn it into a breadbasket for the North" Mittal said, referring to developed economies.. The report, "Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa," focuses on seven African nations and claims to uncover a tangled web of deals being obscured by shell companies and governments.. It concludes that the alleged "land grab" is leading to the potential displacement of hundreds of thousands of farmers, often in deals with far-off government bureaucrats or naive local tribal chiefs.. "We're told over and over that the key to development is by helping small farmers," Mittal told CNN.. "But instead, in this rush for mechanized farming, for growing bio-fuels, for growing grains for export, we seem willing to sacrifice women farmers and indigenous communities with no solutions for what happens later to them in Africa.. The study by the California-based group pins much of the blame on London-based Emergent Asset Management, which runs one of Africa's largest land acquisition funds, and is headed by former JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs currency traders and investment bankers.. European and U.. agribusinesses are singled out for buying hundreds of thousands of hectares for future biofuel development.. And the report says the current rush for cheap land is also backed by China, Libya and other Mideast and Asian investors looking for ways to secure food sources and farming  ...   traditional farms that often have no clear formal ownership for small fees and promises of employment.. The study's authors say that land in the war-torn Sierra Leone sometimes leased for as little as $2 per hectare.. "Foreign investors often employ local 'agents' or 'coordinators' to identify land for lease and negotiate leases with local communities, chiefs and landowners," the report charges.. "There is evidence that these 'agents' take unfair advantage of local traditions, perceptions and vulnerabilities in order to convince local populations that they will benefit from the lease deals, while refraining from discussing potential risks such as loss of farmland or negative environmental impacts," the report says.. Mittal pointed to Zambia, where she claims that 94% of the country's land is held informally through customary rights, and where land use and ownership must be negotiated with local chiefs.. "I was told that you would go with a bottle of Johnnie Walker, sit on the ground with him and clap three times and make your offering of whiskey," Mittal told CNN.. "Then you have secured the title to the land with no problem.. The study also points to programs in Ethiopia where hundreds of thousands are being driven off their traditional lands and placed in new government-planned villages, while foreign investors move in to start new export-driven farms.. "We have seen cases of speculators taking over agricultural land while small farmers, viewed as 'squatters,' are forcibly removed with no compensation," Frederic Mousseau, policy director at the Oakland Institute, said in a press release.. "This is creating insecurity in the global food system that could be a much bigger threat to global security than terrorism," Mousseau added.. "The majority of the world's poor still depend on small farms for their livelihoods, and speculators are taking these away while promising progress that never happens.. However, one investor group tied to Emergent in South Africa says that the projects it backs are boosting incomes and market access in places once totally cut off from anything beyond growing enough food for themselves.. "We've really created something out of nothing in Africa," said Anthony Poorter, Africa director for EmVest Asset Management.. "There are no shady deals.. He pointed to three land projects his firm backs in Mozambique, including a $12 million, 1,000-hectare farm (2,471 acres) that employs 350 people and provides rising income to the surrounding area.. "Our projects in Mozambique have caused a real boost to the income of local communities," Poorter said, pointing out EmVest tries to source as much of its labor and supplies locally as possible.. "The GDP of Matuba village has risen significantly and we are the biggest employer.. Poorter summed it up by saying, "We have people lining up for jobs every day, so it can't be that bad a place to work..

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  • Title: US-Backed Agricultural Project in Tanzania Would Displace 160,000 People, Harm Environment, Report Finds | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: US-Backed Agricultural Project in Tanzania Would Displace 160,000 People, Harm Environment, Report Finds.. August 3, 2012.. Free Speech Radio News.. Download audio.. In Tanzania, a land development project backed by a US-based company, could displace more than 160,000 local residents and threaten forest and wetlands in the region.. That’s according to a report by the Oakland Institute, which has been tracking  ...   acres.. Agrisol has pledged to improve the local infrastructure and provide jobs, but The Oakland Institute says those pledges have not been carried out and the plan could have harmful effects for the people, wildlife and environment of the area.. For more, we’re joined by Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.. To read the full report:.. http://www.. oaklandinstitute.. org/land-deal-brief-lives-hold..

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  • Title: Mozambique Farmland Is Prize In Land Grab Fever | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Mozambique Farmland Is Prize In Land Grab Fever.. June 14, 2012.. NPR.. By Dan Charles.. Listen to audio.. First of a two-part series.. Read part 2.. In these days of financial uncertainty, the hot new investment tip is farmland.. This spring, 750 Wall Street types crowded into New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for a conference on investing in global agriculture.. Philippe de Laperouse.. , managing director of.. HighQuest Partners.. , which organized the event, says those investors started out just looking for a safe haven for their money.. But with food demand up and future production uncertain, many of them have caught the scent of future profits.. Many development NGOs and advocacy organizations have sounded an alarm about this surge of private money.. (Here are critical reports from.. GRAIN.. Oxfam.. , the.. Oakland Institute.. and even that paragon of mainstream thinking, the.. World Bank.. ) Many of them call it a global "land grab.. Investors, naturally, see opportunity for everyone.. Jes Tarp, CEO of.. Aslan Global Management.. , says "Africa has a tremendous future in terms of agriculture.. Africa could feed much of the world.. Enlarge.. Dan Charles/NPR.. Farming, like most other tasks, is done by hand in rural Mozambique.. I decided to take a closer look at the reality behind this rhetoric and went to Mozambique, which has become a hot spot in the global rush for land.. It's a country in southern Africa with beautiful beaches and also extreme poverty.. Mozambique is a little bigger than Texas, and with slightly fewer people.. It has a lot of land, and in many areas, a good supply of fresh water.. Nobody can actually buy land in Mozambique.. The government owns it all.. But the government will give companies exclusive rights to land for 50 or 100 years, and it's really cheap.. Mozambique's government, in fact, has been encouraging investors to come take advantage of this land.. Dozens of companies, both foreign and local, have lined up to seize the opportunity, setting up mega-farms that cover thousands of acres.. (You can find a list of land deals in Mozambique and many other countries in databases compiled by the.. Land Matrix.. or by.. ).. One of these farms has landed right beside a small village called Ruasse, in northern Mozambique.. Getting there takes work.. In my case, it meant bouncing along 60 miles of dirt road, passing a steady stream of people walking along the side of that road carrying firewood and bags of corn.. Ruasse is a collection of one-room brick houses with thatched roofs, scattered across hard-packed dirt.. People here survive mainly on the crops they can grow on the land nearby.. Caterina Alberto, one of the most prosperous farmers in this village, says the arrival of a huge farming enterprise next door was a shock.. "It was said that a company was coming here.. But no one told us that the company was coming to destroy us," she says.. The company, in this case, is.. Quifel Natural Resources.. , based in Portugal.. Here's what happened, according to Alberto and others in the village.. Corporate Neighbors Move In.. Representatives from the company showed up in Ruasse several years ago with a proposal.. They explained that Quifel Natural Resources, through a subsidiary called Hoyo-Hoyo Agribusiness, hoped to grow cash crops — sunflower, sesame and soybeans — on the land across the road from the village.. (There's expanding demand for those crops in Mozambique, both  ...   walking across the rough, freshly plowed ground.. Penaciaia shows me the land where both farmers' crops once stood.. He says they were growing sorghum, corn and cassava, both to feed themselves and to sell, so they would have money to buy food later.. Munalile says now he has only a little food to get through the coming winter.. The farmers say the company never paid them any money for the crops it destroyed.. "They always say that they'll pay, but they never do," says Munalile.. Hoyo-Hoyo Agribusiness hasn't yet drilled the well that the village wanted.. People here still carry their water from a nearby stream, and on the day I was in Ruasse, the company's small fleet of John Deere tractors was hauling big tanks of water from that stream to some newly planted potato fields.. Alberto says that's another big problem.. "This whole community has just one river; this one here," she says, gesturing toward the stream.. By the month of August, this river will be all dry.. That's why the population is complaining.. So you see the situation we're in.. She says that villagers have complained to local government officials, but the government hasn't done anything to help them.. This conflict, however, is now getting increasing attention.. It was the subject of a.. presentation.. at a high-profile.. conference.. on land issues at the World Bank in April.. I reached the CEO of Quifel Natural Resources, Rui Laurentino, in his office in Lisbon.. Laurentino says that the company will soon start what he calls the "social component" of its project.. That plan, he says, includes improving Ruasse's medical services and school.. He also says that the company plans to pay farmers for land that they've lost.. Those payments, he says, "are imminent.. " And he says that since my visit in May, the company has started to clear new land for those farmers.. Not Just An Isolated Incident.. According to many observers at farmer advocacy organizations and at the World Bank, such conflicts are a common feature of large land deals in Africa.. It's not just in Mozambique; it's in Tanzania, Ethiopia and Sierra Leone, too.. In many cases, poor villagers who use the land don't have formal control over it and don't have a voice in decisions to lease or sell the land to big investors.. Those decisions are typically made by village chiefs or political leaders in national capitals.. Joao Muthombene, executive director of Mozambique's Christian Association for Community Development, says local communities in his country do have legal protection — on paper.. "There's a law that says you have to negotiate with communities.. But what we have seen is that no company is taking it seriously.. Yet Muthombene doesn't think it has to be this way.. The fact that companies are interested in Africa's farmland shouldn't be a threat, he says.. It's a good thing.. The deals just have to be fair for local people.. I heard much the same thing in the village of Ruasse.. Small farmers told me that they felt that there was enough land for everyone — as long as there was equipment available to clear it.. They had no objection to big investor-owned farms, if those investors keep their promises.. In fact, they said, there's another big investor-owned farm just 10 miles away, and that one's fine.. That one's been a good neighbor, the farmers say.. Stay tuned for that story on Friday..

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  • Title: Lâchées par leur Gouvernement, des Populations Autochtones Résistent à Bolloré (1ère partie) | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Lâchées par leur Gouvernement, des Populations Autochtones Résistent à Bolloré (1ère partie).. May 30, 2012.. Rubrique “Afrocentrique”.. Écouter l'Émission.. Le Groupe multinational du français Vincent Bolloré fait l’essentiel de son bénéfice en Afrique notamment dans les plantations de palmiers à huile et l’hévéa sur des pans entiers de territoires africains.. Les dirigeants africains préfèrent servir les intérêts des investisseurs étrangers avant ceux de leurs populations.. Dans trois des sociétés où le Groupe Bolloré détient la majorité en Afrique (Société financière /SocFin en Sierra Leone et au Cambodge et Socapalm au Cameroun) ont acquis par concession d’importantes terres arables en 2008.. Mais les conditions de cessions restent obscures et l’impact sur l’environnement et les populations demeure un véritable problème dont se soucient peu les gouvernements qui ont attribué ces contrats dans la plus grande opacité.. Alors face à la trahison des dirigeants de ces pays vis-à-vis des populations autochtones qui se sentent complètement lésées, les chefs de villages, sur la base des valeurs ancestrales et grâce aux oracles « positifs » et une foi sans limite en ce que le Dieu créateur et leurs ancêtres seront de leur côté, les chefs des ethnies Bagyeli du Cameroun composées essentiellement de pygmées, les chefs des ethnies Malen en Sierra Leone, et les ethnies Bunong du Cambodge ont décidé de se battre contre le géant Bolloré.. Ce dernier est très actif dans 92 pays dont 43 en Afrique et présent dans les secteurs aussi diversifiés comme les produits hydrocarbures, le transport et la logistique, les opérations  ...   a promis de compenser les populations pour le manque à gagner lié à la perte de l’exploitation agricole, de construire des infrastructures et surtout de créer des emplois.. Le gouvernement sierra léonais a passé par pertes et profits les intérêts des populations autochtones, estimant qu’elles n’ont pas voix au chapitre.. En réalité, c’est un problème récurrent chez les dirigeants africains qui estiment que la voix des populations en zone rurale n’est pas prépondérante.. Souvent considérés comme pauvres et analphabètes par les « Africains » qui se croient « lettrés », les habitants des zone rurales africaines peinent à voir leurs intérêts pris en compte par le gouvernement central.. Au mieux, on les laisse « palabrer » tout en organisant l’adhésion de leurs chefs par tous les moyens tant de corruption classique que révolutionnaire.. Dès lors qu’ils y trouvent leur compte, ceci à très haut niveau, de nombreux gouvernements africains apparaissent comme de grands incrédules qui se font rouler dans la farine en accordant leur soutien à des multinationales qui obtiennent de nombreuses concessions en termes fiscaux.. C’est dans ce cadre qu’il faut comprendre que les codes d’investissement, miniers, forestiers ou du travail, etc.. ne sont que des passoires dès lors que des contrats parallèles peuvent être signés au profit des « en-haut-d’en-haut ».. Alors comment résister seul contre tous ?.. Les génies tutélaires africains et les « ancêtres » peuvent-ils intercéder devant la justice divine face au rouleau compresseur de groupes multinationaux bénéficiant de tant de concussions bienveillantes des autorités locales ? YEA..

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