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    Archived pages: 861 . Archive date: 2012-12.

  • Title: Land Owner Protests against Socfin's Operation as Police Intimidation Continues | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Owner Protests against Socfin s Operation as Police Intimidation Continues.. Wednesday, June 27, 2012.. Press Release--Green Scenery.. Freetown, June 27, 2012.. Green Scenery, a non-governmental organization monitoring large scale land investments in Sierra Leone, has been informed that a ten-acre plantation of oil palm, cola nuts, coffee and cacao has been completely destroyed by employees of Socfin Agricultural Company S.. L.. (SAC) in Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun District.. The incident occurred in Kassay, one of the villages in the area leased by SAC to establish a large scale oil palm plantation in the chiefdom.. Edison A.. Mattia, the land owner, says he never agreed to lease the land to the government or the company.. And he never received any money for it.. Mattia is confident that the land belongs to him and his biological children whose "livelihood had been solely and wholly depending on the plantation now totally destroyed".. The brushing started in December 2011 and ended in June 2012 with the complete destruction of the plantation.. Since December the land owner complained against the company's activities in letters sent to chiefdom authorities copying also the company with no effect.. Documentary evidence like registered site plans and maps signed by chiefdom authorities attached to a string of letters sent around to local authorities including the Pujehun District Council to prevent the land grabbing have been ignored leading to the loss of an entire plantation along with livelihoods of dependents.. "This incident is a typical show case for poor consultation and negotiation procedures and the lack of transparency in the Socfin land deal", said Joseph Rahall, executive director of Green  ...   Company S.. (SAC) is a subsidiary of the Belgium Company Socfin.. SAC leased over 6,500 hectares in Malen chiefdom, Pujehun District for over 50 years with a possible extension of 21 years to establish oil palm and rubber plantations.. The company pays 5 USD rent per annum per acre with only half of it going to the land owners.. Land users, mainly women, are not compensated.. At the beginning of April 2012 a national conference of land owners and land users affected by large scale investments in agriculture was held in Freetown to discuss the challenges and opportunities coming along with the land deals attracted by the government's pro private investment policy and Agenda for Change.. One of the major concerns raised in the communiqué signed by the more than 90 participants was "there is a glaring absence of free, prior and informed consent in the land acquisition process, and no transparency in the land deals".. "It is high time for the government to put a halt to large scale agro investments by foreign companies.. Binding regulations and independent monitoring mechanisms must be put in place to safeguard our communities", Rahall emphasized.. Contact:.. Green Scenery, Joseph Rahall, Executive Director.. Mobile:.. +232 76 601979.. , Email:.. info@greenscenery.. org.. 31 John Street, P.. O.. Box 278, Freetown, Sierra Leone.. Web:.. www.. greenscenery.. For more information on large scale land deals in Sierra Leone:.. Contact.. the oakland institute.. P.. Box 18978.. Oakland, CA 94619.. info@oaklandinstitute.. 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..

    Original link path: /land-owner-protests-against-socfins-operation-police-intimidation-continues
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  • Title: Help Bring About Change | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Help Bring About Change.. Tuesday, June 19, 2012.. Dear Friends,.. Last June, the Oakland Institute exposed the largest land deal in Tanzania, which had been hidden away from public scrutiny and discussion.. In this deal, Iowa-based Bruce Rastetter’s AgriSol Energy LLC partnered with Iowa State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to.. lease more than 325,000 hectares without public debate or consent.. The Oakland Institute has been shining a spotlight on this land grab through research and advocacy since our original research revealed how Bruce Rastetter leveraged ISU’s involvement to provide legitimacy to a land grab masquerading as responsible agricultural investment.. The project was portrayed as sustainable agriculture, all the while plans were being laid to develop large-scale monocrops, use high levels of chemicals, and even ask for changes in the national biosafety regulations so that genetically modified crops could be grown.. A year later, the top news in Iowa is an.. Associated Press story.. of incriminating emails concerning Bruce Rastetter--showing a conflict of interest and profit motive behind AgriSol’s partnership with Iowa State University in the controversial Tanzania land deal.. Rastetter's position as an ISU regent makes his scheme to develop a lucrative agricultural deal even more flagrant.. This project, which was  ...   Oakland Institute research has been critical in empowering local communities and decision makers in many countries so they can make informed choices about the investment they need to develop their agriculture and overcome hunger and poverty.. By providing information and analysis, sponsoring radio programs in local languages, and hosting events on the ground around agricultural investments, the Institute is working to ensure people have a say in their own future.. This work has already resulted in popular mobilization in countries such as.. South Sudan.. and.. Sierra Leone.. as well as increasing awareness for many decision makers across the world.. We are committed to a world free of hunger, which requires policies and investments that will benefit the people, not just a handful of businessmen, investors, and politicians.. It is our mission to unearth and publish information that propels activism and builds change.. To continue this work, we look to individuals and foundations that are committed to the same work and goals for support.. We hope that we can count on your continued support and ask you to.. make a generous gift.. to the Institute today so we can continue our shared work and build coalitions to make real change.. Thank you!.. Sincerely,.. Anuradha Mittal..

    Original link path: /help-bring-about-change
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  • Title: Open Letter to President Obama | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Open Letter to President Obama.. Thursday, May 17, 2012.. Download PDF.. Dear President Obama,.. Your meeting at Camp David on May 19, 2012 to discuss food security with African leaders, including Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, is a major opportunity to address what may be the single largest man-made contributor to food insecurity on the continent today: large-scale land investments by foreign investors.. As you sit down with Prime  ...   than 8,000 supporters of the indigenous and local communities of Gambella – 70,000 people in all – who are being forcibly relocated to make land available for investment in agriculture.. There are plans to relocate an additional 150,000 people, most of whom are subsistence farmers who have been able, until now, to feed their families without receiving government or foreign aid over the last twenty years.. Read more.. Obama_open_letter_ethiopia.. pdf..

    Original link path: /open-letter-president-obama
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  • Title: Open Letter to Ambassador Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Open Letter to Ambassador Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States.. Wednesday, May 16, 2012.. Ambassador Nirupama Rao.. Ambassador of India to the United States.. 2107 Massachusetts Avenue, NW.. Washington, DC.. May 14, 2012.. Madame Ambassador,.. We are writing this formal letter to you on behalf of a representative community of Ethiopian-Americans and Ethiopians representing Ethiopia’s diverse ethnic, religious, gender and political orientation in the Washington Metropolitan area and are appalled by the social, economic, cultural, political and environmental devastation emanating from land grab in Ethiopia.. Among the culprits are a large number of Indian firms.. We join thousands of others across the globe who will soon present a petition on the subject to governments, the UN family, the international press, academic institutions and foundations and non-governmental organizations that are dedicated to human, economic and political rights, the environment, the welfare of indigenous people, fair, inclusive and equitable globalization to halt a catastrophe in the making.. Our singular purpose is to urge you, the government of India, leaders and members of the Indian Parliament, Indian human rights and other civil society organizations, academics, the Indian Press and the general society to apply immediate pressure on numerous Indian for-profit commercial agriculture-firms in Ethiopia to halt their plunders of national farmlands, trees, forests, rivers and waters; and their collusion with the dictatorial minority ethnic-based and corrupt government led by Prime Minister Meles in the uprooting, dispossession and displacement of at least 1.. 5 million Ethiopians from their homes and their livelihoods.. At the current pace of sales and leases by the government, Indian commercial agriculture firms in Ethiopia will soon control the most critical source of comparative advantage for the country and its 90 million people, as are part of a coterie of global firms, hedge funds, academic endowments and known personalities from 36 countries.. These entities operate at will, without transparent and clear terms and conditions to mitigate social, economic, political, cultural, psychological and ecological risks and to induce shared benefits.. To make matters worse, indigenous people who are being forced to giveaway their lands are never consulted and, are rarely if ever, offered viable alternatives.. The devastating role played by Indian agriculture firms widely perceived as “the new farmland colonizers in Ethiopia” poses a huge and enduring reputational risk for the Indian government and for a newly emerging India both in Ethiopia and the rest of Africa.. The perception among a wide-spectrum of Ethiopians and other Africans is that Indian firms collude with corrupt-ridden and repressive governments such as Ethiopia’s in dispossessing indigenous people and making them poorer to make profits and to secure foods for Indian consumers.. You will agree with us that this this reputational risk for democratic India and its private sector must be stopped now.. We also believe that these firms cause unrest and rebellion among indigenous people and indignation among Ethiopians.. We have no doubt this will intensify.. On May 1, 2012, rebels in Gambella killed 6 Pakistani and 4 Ethiopian employees of Saudi Star.. We are convinced that such uprisings will intensify as indigenous people internalize the loss of honor, dignity, citizenship and source of livelihood and security land grab entails; and recognize the empty promises offered by the government to offer benefits.. You will agree with us that land is fundamental to Ethiopian identity, sense of security; and has been for thousands of years.. Taking away this source of livelihood is tantamount to naked robbery.. Neither investors nor the Ethiopian government delivers on promises to communities to build meaningful and life changing infrastructure such as access roads, community centers, schools, clinics, safer drinking water and shelters or to offer income generating alternatives.. The government’s touted promise that Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the agricultural sector that employs more than 80 percent of the labor force will generate employment, modernize agriculture through a ripple effect, contribute to food security for the Ethiopian people and bring in foreign exchange that will be ploughed back into the local, regional and national economy is not borne by facts.. On the contrary, foreign and domestic elite owned large-scale commercial farms generate employment at a rate of 0.. 005 per hectare (ha) compared to less than 1/2 ha of land that supports a family of 6 people.. Ethiopians are employed as day laborers, typically at wages of US$.. 80 to US$1.. 00 per day, far below the globally accepted survival wage of US$1.. 25 per day.. In 2011 hyperinflation, primarily from food stuff, was a whopping 50 percent.. Employment as a day laborer at low wages and no job security cannot lift-up workers from destitution.. There is no single  ...   least a voice and can turn to a government that is accountable to them.. Given checks and balances, you will agree with us that no Indian government would allow “India to be used as an empty womb” by anyone.. Today, Ethiopia is an “empty womb.. ” Millions of hectares of its most fertile farmlands and the waters and rivers that give them sustenance are given away in a scheme that we can only characterize as “farmland colonization by invitation.. ” Indian companies are taking over for 25 to 99 years duration at the invitation of Mr.. Meles’ government.. Unlike India, Mr.. Meles Zenawi, the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, rules the country with an iron-fist.. There is no free press and civil society is non-existent.. Those in regions where land grab is prominent have no voice to defend their interests.. The state owns all natural resources including land and is in a position to lease or sell farmlands to foreign investors as it wishes.. Just last week, Mr.. Meles announced his intention to avail an additional 3.. 5 million hectares to investors.. The World Bank, Oakland Institute, Grain, Meat, and the Ethiopian Reporter estimate that the ultimate figure may reach 7 million hectares.. In April 2011, the Reporter pointed out that 3,638,415 hectares have either been leased or promised.. By comparison, 75 percent of the Ethiopian farming population leases 12 million hectares; most rely on less than half ha.. In Wellbeing and Poverty in Ethiopia.. , the World Bank concluded that most Ethiopian farmers are land poor and millions are landless.. So, the government’s argument that lands granted to more than 9,000 individual contractors from 36 countries and corporations are “empty and unoccupied” is not true.. The scale of penetration by Indian firms that earned them the widely expressed name of “new farmland colonizers” or as one local newspaper reported last year, “the new invaders” is unprecedented.. The Ethiopian Reporter.. confirmed last year that Bangalore-based Karuturi Global Ltd.. acquired the equivalent of 3,000 square kilometers of land, a staggering 311,900 hectares (the size of Luxembourg bought at less than US$1.. 0 per hectare) in the Gambella Region.. It owns 50,000 hectares in the Southern Region, making it the largest Indian commercial farm owner in the country.. Spentex Industries Ltd.. , another Indian firm owns 25,000 ha in the Beni-Shangul Gumuz Region.. Indian firms Ruchi and Kenan Industries, own 3,000 and 10,000 ha respectively in Gambella; while Shapoorji Pallonji and Co.. , Industries owns 50,000 ha in Beni-Shangul Gumuz; and Almidha owns 28,000 ha in Oromia.. Panasha International Agro-industries has been granted 2,500 ha in the Amhara region.. This massive “farmland colonization” is likely to be boosted to 1.. 8 million ha as promised by the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister on a visit to India last year.. Indian firms are not alone in the largest transfer of farmland and water basin resources from the Ethiopian people to foreign investors and preferred domestic elites.. Data from the World Bank, Oakland Institute, the Ethiopian Reporter and others shows that the Saudi and Gulf State sponsored and financed conglomerate Saudi Star and its affiliates own or have been promised 460,000 ha (the size of Belgium) in Gambella; 200,000 ha in Beni-Shangul Gumuz; and produce and export a variety of food stuff from 1,000 square kilometers of Greenhouse in Oromia.. Sheikh Mohamed Al-Amoudi, head of this monopoly, plans to invest US$2.. 5 billion by 2020.. In short, Karuturi and Saudi Star are the largest foreign “new landlords” in Ethiopia.. Their adverse impact is equivalent to the “banana republic” syndrome in the Caribbean and Central America and the “resource curse” in Sub-Saharan Africa that marginalized their respective societies and kept them poor.. Investors gain profits and access to food security for rich consumers while Ethiopians lose.. It is this that led Human Rights Watch to conclude in “Waiting for Death” that “The Ethiopian government is forcibly moving tens of thousands of indigenous people in the Western Gambella Region from their homes.. ”.. Accordingly, we call on you and the Indian government to apply pressure on Indian firms to:.. Desist immediately from engaging in the illegal and exploitative land grab, disenfranchisement of inhabitants and destruction of the environment,.. Disclose the terms and conditions of individual land deals to the Ethiopian public,.. Recognize the reputational risks for India and the real risks for investors, and.. Know that a future representative government in Ethiopia shall not recognize and enforce any of the current or future land deals.. Respectfully,.. Signed:.. Aklog Birara, PhD on behalf of the community.. Address: P.. O.. Box 250, Ashton, MD 20861.. Telephone: 301-814-0340.. Email:.. Biraraa@yahoo.. com.. Indian Embassy..

    Original link path: /open-letter-ambassador-nirupama-rao-ambassador-india-united-states
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  • Title: Press Release: Culture of Secrecy Around Global Land Deals Must Be Broken to Protect People and Environment | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Release: Culture of Secrecy Around Global Land Deals Must Be Broken to Protect People and Environment.. Tuesday, April 24, 2012.. EMBARGOED: NOT FOR PUBLICATION BEFORE 00:01 ON 25th April 2012 (EDC - Eastern Daylight Time).. A new report today reveals how opening up the process around large-scale land deals in developing countries would benefit local communities, governments and business, and provides direction on how this can be achieved.. The report, Dealing with Disclosure, published by Global Witness, the International Land Coalition and the Oakland Institute, looks at why it is vital to transform the secretive culture behind large scale land deals, and for the first time shows how it might be done.. At present decisions are being made in secret, with basic information unavailable even to those affected.. The report argues that all contractual information must be made publicly available unless investors or governments can prove that this would harm commercial competitiveness or public interest – a principle it calls “if in doubt, disclose”.. The rush for land in developing countries has rapidly intensified since 2008, but the sector remains largely unregulated.. Concerns are growing over the impact of big, secretive deals between governments and investors on communities and the environment.. As more and more land is taken away from local communities, growing numbers of people are losing access to the resources they have relied on for generations, and ecosystems are being destroyed.. Decisions and negotiations around land deals are frequently conducted in secret, without the knowledge, let alone consent, of affected communities.. Without access to basic information such as contract terms or pre-project impact assessment studies, local communities and other parties cannot make informed decisions about the suitability of  ...   are doing no harm, rather than communities with little information or power having to prove that a land deal is negatively affecting them.. ”.. But it’s not only communities who would benefit from the changes the report proposes, as Frederic Mousseau Policy Director at the Oakland Institute explains.. “Evidence increasingly points to the significant benefits for governments and business from improved transparency and ongoing public consultation.. Whilst investors would benefit from a level playing field as well as reduced risks of corruption and expensive and damaging conflicts with communities, greater transparency would enable governments to make more informed decisions and negotiate better deals when allocating commercial rights to land.. Download the executive summary.. Download the full report.. Download press release as PDF.. Contacts:.. Global Witness.. - Megan MacInnes, Senior Land Campaigner.. +44 7540 891 837;.. mmacInnes@globalwitness.. - Oli Courtney, Press and Communications.. +44 7912 517 147;.. ocourtney@globalwitness.. The International Land Coalition.. - Mike Taylor, Programme Manager Global Policy and Africa.. +39 338 670 1316;.. m.. taylor@landcoalition.. The Oakland Institute.. - Frédéric Mousseau, Policy Director.. +15105125458 -.. fmousseau@oaklandinstitute.. Notes to editors:.. Global Witness investigates and campaigns to prevent natural resource-related conflict and corruption and associated environmental and human rights abuses (.. http://www.. globalwitness.. org/.. ).. The International Land Coalition is a global alliance of civil society and intergovernmental organisations working together to promote secure and equitable access to and control over land for poor women and men through advocacy, dialogue, knowledge sharing and capacity building (.. landcoalition.. Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank, bringing fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time (.. oaklandinstitute.. Trasparency_Executive summary.. Transparency report - press release..

    Original link path: /press-release-culture-secrecy-around-global-land-deals-must-be-broken-protect-people-and-environment
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  • Title: Take Action Against Land Grabs: Tuesday, April 24 at the Waldorf-Astoria | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Take Action Against Land Grabs: Tuesday, April 24 at the Waldorf-Astoria.. Friday, April 20, 2012.. Protest the Selling of Africa through the Land Grab Taking Place at the Global AgInvesting Conference in NYC.. Meet at 10:30 am.. Waldorf-Astoria, 301 Park Ave.. Join food justice activists, African students, OWS groups, and environmental organizations challenging agricultural investment that harms people at the Global AgInvesting (GAI) conference.. Download full information.. Learn more about land grabs and agricultural investment.. 1.. WHY ARE WE GATHERING IN FRONT OF THE.. WALDORF-ASTORIA HOTEL ON APRIL 24.. ?.. Inside the hotel, nearly a thousand representatives of pension funds, university and foundation endowments, private equity firms, hedge funds and other high rollers have gathered together to figure how to make huge returns through grabbing land and water rights in the developing world.. 2.. WHAT IS A LAND GRAB?.. Land grab is the purchase or lease of vast tracts of land from mostly poor, developing countries by wealthier food-insecure nations and private investors.. Such land deals take away arable land at give away prices and huge tax holidays to the investors, while displacing those who live there.. This land is used  ...   the periphery of political power, are forced to leave their ancestral lands, move to the cities without jobs, and essentially lose their communities.. They suffer the most.. In Tanzania, a U.. S.. investor’s land deal will displace over 160,000 small-holder farmers in 2012.. 5 million people in Ethiopia are being forcibly relocated for similar large-scale agricultural investments.. 5.. HOW BIG IS THIS?.. Land the size of France was bought or leased by foreign interests in 2009 alone, with majority of it being in Africa.. In other words millions and millions of acres are already leased or under negotiation.. 6.. HOW IS THIS DONE?.. Without transparency or accountability to all who are impacted by this issue.. This is inviolation of the internationally recognized principle of Free and Prior Informed Consent which should guide such investments.. 7.. CAN THIS BE STOPPED?.. Local communities have managed to stop several land deals in Africa and elsewhere.. Opposition in the US by civil society and student groups has forced investors and their partners to pull out of deals as well.. GET INFORMED, TAKE ACTION.. STOP LAND GRABS.. CONTACTS:.. Jeff Furman,.. jfurman@twcny.. rr.. Anuradha Mittal,.. amittal@oaklandinstitute.. Land_Grabs_Why_the_Waldorf.. WALDORF_4-24_FLYER..

    Original link path: /take-action-against-land-grabs-tuesday-april-24-waldorf-astoria
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  • Title: Hedging on Hunger | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Hedging on Hunger.. April 23-25, New York’s hotel Waldorf Astoria is the venue for the.. fourth annual Global AgInvesting (GAI) conference.. The $3,000 admission ticket is not for the small land holders from Africa or farmers who resemble John Steinbeck’s Joad family.. Instead, it targets institutional and global end investors, and fund managers – all mulling over economic opportunities that agricultural lands have to offer.. This year in attendance are several retirement and pension funds including Alaska Retirement Board and California State Teachers’ Retirement System, among others.. Philanthropic institutions such as the Ford Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation are also present, seeking to translate their investments into development for the world’s poor.. Joining them are the fund managers of endowments of several U.. universities, including Harvard, Princeton, and Yale among several others.. They, like Lockheed Martin Investment Management Company, view agriculture as the new soft commodity market where they can see their monies grow.. Such conferences provide a platform from which fund managers connect with potential investors and make mouthwatering promises.. Susan Payne, current CEO of EmVest and ex CEO of.. Emergent Asset Management.. , for instance, promises 20 to 40 percent returns, hailing the low cost of African land as “an arbitrage opportunity.. ” Real estate speculative opportunities are behind her claim, “we could be moronic and not grow anything and we think we would make money over the next decade.. ” Lured by such promises, Harvard University and Vanderbilt University have both invested in the fund in the past.. While billed as an ag conference, this event is about making high returns.. Ensuring food or water security are not its concerns.. For  ...   cup of coffee per hectare! In fact the cost of admission to the GAI conference could get one control of over 1,000 hectares of prime farm land.. As awareness around the impacts of such investments grows, people are taking action.. Occupy Harvard and other student groups have called for Harvard to divest from Emergent.. Vanderbilt’s Fair Food Coalition is asking for the same.. Iowa State University has buckled under media and student campaigns after the revelation of its involvement in a.. land deal in Tanzania.. which would displace over 160,000 people.. These efforts gain momentum as they connect to resistance on the ground.. In.. the President.. halted a land deal.. when the local community protested that their lands had been secretly leased to a U.. investor.. In Sierra Leone, civil society groups have launched a national land transparency initiative.. It is not disputed that the people and resources of Africa have centuries of history of exploitation.. It is, therefore, incumbent on us to be vigilant regarding claims that any particular foreign profit driven investment in Africa will benefit the African people.. Agriculture does need investment.. Such investment must be fully transparent and mechanisms to hold investors accountable must be firmly in place.. The high economic returns that are promised at these conferences come at a cost to the poor.. Africa has given more than enough.. Anuradha Mittal is the founder and executive director and Jeff Furman is a member, Board of Directors, at the Oakland Institute.. Take Action: On April 24 join food justice activists, African students, OWS groups, and environmental organizations challenging agricultural investment that harms people at the Global AgInvesting (GAI) conference..

    Original link path: /hedging-hunger
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  • Title: Press Release: Launching Action for Large scale Land Acquisition Transparency (ALLAT) | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Release: Launching Action for Large scale Land Acquisition Transparency (ALLAT).. Tuesday, April 3, 2012.. Read the final communique from the Conference of Land Owners and Land Users.. Origin.. The two-day National Conference on Land Owners and Land Users affected by large scale investments in Agriculture organized by the Sierra Leone Network on the Right to Food (SiLNoRF) and Green Scenery, held on the 2.. nd.. and 3.. rd.. April, 2012 at the St.. Edwards Pre- School Hall, Kingtom, Freetown ended up with a recommendation by participants for the formation of a Civil Society coalition that would serve as a watchdog on land issues in the country.. In response to this recommendation, the “Action for Large scale Land Acquisition Transparency’’ known as (ALLAT) is formed today 3.. April 2012.. Composition.. ALLAT is a joint action initiated by Green Scenery comprising human rights, governance,  ...   governance system in the country:.. Land Owners and Land Users should have a clear understanding of the risks and benefits involved in such projects before they sign any document.. Disappointingly however, relevant, timely and adequate information is lacking.. Delegates confirm that there are no adequate binding regulations and procedures to ensure transparency and participation leading to informed decision making.. Delegates are further unhappy about the cost of the lands leased and compensation for what they lose on their land.. Against this background, we call on all, especially policy makers and international donors supporting investments in agriculture to listen and respond to grievances and recommendations of affected communities and join the campaign in ensuring good land governance system in Sierra Leone.. ALLAT works in the interest of the country.. For further information contact:.. Green Scenery, 82 Soldier Street.. Tel: 076601979.. allat@greenscenery.. Allat Sierra Leone..

    Original link path: /press-release-launching-action-large-scale-land-acquisition-transparency-allat
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  • Title: Communique from the Conference of Land Owners and Land Users, April 2-3, Sierra Leone | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Communique from the Conference of Land Owners and Land Users, April 2-3, Sierra Leone.. We the delegates from eight districts and twenty chiefdoms either affected or about to be affected by large scale land acquisition for agribusiness in Sierra Leone at a conference of land owners and land users at the Saint Edwards Pre-school hall in Freetown from 2 – 3 April, 2012, while:.. Acknowledging that there is need for investment in agriculture to ensure food security and sustainable development;.. Being aware of government’s priority in agriculture, particularly with smallholder commercialization and attracting large scale investors in agriculture;.. Being mindful of the right and access to land to support farming, access to traditional medicines, energy and water sources, cultural and social purposes, and further mindful of farming as a way of life and source of livelihood for the majority of Sierra Leoneans;.. Recognizing the dire need for women to have secure access and rights to land and the challenges of land availability, given climate change and population growth, and further recognizing the need for sustainable and diverse ways of food production to reduce poverty;.. Hereby wish to state our serious concerns about large scale land acquisition for agribusiness in Sierra Leone.. MAJOR CONCERNS.. We are concerned that:.. there is a glaring absence of free, prior and informed consent in all the communities, and there is no transparency in the land deals;.. consultations on land acquisitions are poor, excluding women and other stakeholders;.. there are no binding regulations for large scale agro-investments and monitoring mechanisms in place;.. there is no national watchdog body to monitor large scale land deals  ...   communities.. RECOMMENDATIONS.. Thus, we call on the Government of Sierra Leone and all decision-makers at all levels (international, national, district, chiefdom and local), to implement the following recommendations:.. in the absence of free, prior and informed consent in all the communities, we call for a review of all the agreements relating to the land investments, and education of all stakeholders of the content of all the agreements;.. there must be full involvement of all stakeholders in the communities in all the consultations and negotiations on land deals, especially women;.. a system of monitoring mechanisms must be put in place, and the government should establish regulations to safeguard rural populations in the face of large scale land acquisitions and industrial plantations;.. appropriate environmental management systems must be put in place to protect land, water and vegetation in lease areas to prevent destruction of these resources, to protect the livelihoods of those that depend on these;.. support is needed to help communities build their capacity in negotiation for compensation and content of the agreements, and they should be provided with independent legal counsel;.. traditional rulers, especially paramount chiefs, should allow the full participation of their constituents, especially land owners and users, in the consultation and negotiation processes;.. women that are affected by loss of their farmland and thus their livelihoods must be provided with safe and healthy alternative livelihoods;.. the land investors should provide relevant assistance and support to affected communities;.. land investment for agro-business should be designed to increase food security, not decrease it.. Read the press release: Launching Action for Large scale Land Acquisition Transparency (ALLAT).. Conference communique..

    Original link path: /communique-conference-land-owners-and-land-users-april-2-3-sierra-leone
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  • Title: Press Release: A New Report Exposes French Tycoon's Land Grab in Sierra Leone | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Release: A New Report Exposes French Tycoon s Land Grab in Sierra Leone.. Monday, April 2, 2012.. For Immediate Release April 2, 2012.. Contact:.. ; (510)469-5228.. French speaking media contact:.. Frederic Mousseau.. ; (510)512-5458.. A New Report Exposes French Tycoon's Land Grab in Sierra Leone.. In yet another exposé of exploitative practices associated with large-scale land acquisitions, the Oakland Institute examines Socfin Agricultural Corporation Sierra Leone (Socfin), controlled by the powerful French corporate titan Vincent Bolloré.. Oakland, CA: In a new land deal brief released today,.. Socfin Land Investment in Sierra Leone.. , the Oakland Institute details a pattern of coercion, lack of consultation, and failure to fairly compensate Sierra Leonean landowners who have been pressured into ceding their land to the corporate giant.. “In 2011, Socfin secured 6,500 hectares (16,000 acres) and they are running roughshod over the rights of local landowners,” said Frederic Mousseau, Oakland Institute’s policy director and author of the brief.. “Bolloré Group, ranked among the top 500 companies in the world, and its subsidiaries, have gained a reputation for descending powerfully on developing countries and setting up plantations for palm oil and rubber trees.. In Cambodia, Liberia, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone, the group has a reputation for leaving communities disfranchised as they acquire land cheaply through questionable processes and act with little regard for existing owners,” he continued.. Bolloré-controlled plantations offer abysmal employment conditions.. In Cameroon, workers at SOCAPALM have referred to themselves as “SOCAPALM slaves.. ” NGOs, human rights groups, and  ...   has been gaining momentum since an October 2011 protest resulted in the arrest of nearly 40 landowners.. Now this.. historic national assembly.. will address grievances and launch an effective response to corporations like Socfin.. “The landowners and community members in Sierra Leone are taking on a goliath.. Bolloré Group is known to effectively quell protests, as seen in their dealings in Cambodia and Cameroon,” said Frederic Mousseau.. Bolloré has thus far been adept at shielding the general public from details of dissent due to media ownership and the threat of lawsuits.. The latest report.. from the Oakland Institute offers details on the extensive holdings and growing role Bolloré Group plays in the economic structure and political life in Africa, as well as information on its business practices and human rights abuses.. Bolloré Group, whose profits from plantations in Asia and Africa surged by 187% between 2009-2011, is a formidable economic force that small farmers and landowners in Africa have to contend with in the current land rush in Africa.. Earlier research.. published by the Oakland Institute revealed that 17% of the arable land in.. has already been leased or is about to be leased for large-scale commercial farming.. All over the country, local communities and civil society are challenging the proclaimed benefits of these land deals and highlighting their devastating social and environmental impact, lack of transparency and consultation, and warn against the danger of government officials' blind promotion of foreign land acquisitions.. ###.. Press_Release_French Tycoon_Land Grab_ Sierra_Leone..

    Original link path: /press-release-new-report-exposes-french-tycoons-land-grab-sierra-leone
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  • Title: Video: Agricultural Investment or Land Grab in Sierra Leone? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Video: Agricultural Investment or Land Grab in Sierra Leone?.. Sunday, April 1, 2012.. In 2011, Socfin Agricultural Company Sierra Leone Ltd.. (Socfin SL) sealed a $100 million deal securing 6,500 hectares of farmland for rubber and oil palm plantations in Malen chiefdom in Pujehun district in the south of Sierra Leone.. The Socfin investment, however, does not have support of the local population.. In October 2011,  ...   land owners in Sierra Leone is a classic David versus Goliath battle.. The grievances made by Sierra Leonean farmers over Socfin's oil plantations are virtually identical to those made by farming communities from around the world regarding investments made by other Socfin's subsidiaries.. Download the OI's brief on Socfin Agricultural Company Sierra Leone Ltd.. Read the press release.. Read more about land acquisitions in Sierra Leone..

    Original link path: /video-agricultural-investment-or-land-grab-sierra-leone
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