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  • Title: Regent: Silence on Africa Land Deal with Iowa State Was PR Mistake but He Did Nothing Wrong | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Regent: Silence on Africa Land Deal with Iowa State Was PR Mistake but He Did Nothing Wrong.. July 19, 2012.. Source:.. The Republic.. View Original.. by Ryan J.. Foley.. IOWA.. CITY, Iowa — Iowa Regent Bruce Rastetter on Thursday defended working with Iowa State University to pursue a large-scale land development in Africa that could have benefited himself financially and blamed growing criticism over his involvement on misinformation and public relations mistakes.. Environmentalists and watchdog groups accuse the prominent Republican businessman of trying to use his influence as a member of the board that governs Iowa State to benefit AgriSol Energy, an investment group he founded and manages that is developing farmland in Tanzania.. Iowa State withdrew from the project in February in the face of mounting criticism and a state ethics board next month will consider a complaint alleging Rastetter had a clear conflict of interest.. In an interview Thursday with The Associated Press, Rastetter said he doesn't think he did anything unethical in pursuing the plan.. If it had succeeded, he said it could have not only made profit over time — he didn't say how much, but tens of millions of dollars were at stake — but benefited the Tanzanian people by increasing their food supply and spurring economic development.. He said his goal was to invest in a country that needs help.. He said AgriSol dropped its plan to develop land it had considered using after the company learned about problems in the Tanzanian government's removal of up to 160,000 Burundi refugees who've been living there.. Instead, he said AgriSol is developing uninhabited land elsewhere in Tanzania on a smaller scale.. Critics such as the Oakland Institute, a California watchdog that monitors land deals in Africa, have denounced AgriSol's plans as a greedy land grab that improperly used Iowa State's reputation and expertise.. He said he would never seek to displace refugees but critics' claims went unchallenged for months as Rastetter kept quiet.. He blamed his silence for allowing misinformation to "catch hold" and pressure to mount on ISU to pull out.. "I stayed out of it because of being a regent, not wanting to look like I was trying to influence anyone in the process," he said.. "I should have been more proactive.. ".. Rastetter also acknowledged that the project "might have been cleaner" from the public's standpoint if a university  ...   said he was motivated to donate to Branstad because of his policies and gave to Iowa State so that more students would learn about business.. He said he asked Branstad to make him a regent so he could serve the public, noting he already helped convince lawmakers to increase funding for Iowa's public universities by millions.. "Those that want to view me as using political influence for personal gain, which I have not, ought to realize that I use political influence for the universities that I have a role and responsibility on," he said.. Rastetter said that public-private partnerships were good for universities and the public.. ISU officials were to implement an AgriSol-funded program to provide a range of services and training to help farmers living nearby.. He said Kimle, the Rastetter Chair of Agricultural Entrepreneurship, asked to get involved as a consultant for "the right reasons" because of his expertise, but perhaps should have been rejected.. He said he respected Iowa State's decision to pull out, "because the controversy and misinformation was unrelenting.. " But Rastetter said Tanzanian farmers will miss the school's expertise and students will lose opportunities to study abroad.. Rastetter and AgriSol had been working with Iowa State for more than a year to plan the project before he became a regent.. Weeks after he joined the board, he identified AgriSol as a potential conflict in a form held by the board.. He said he had no "direct involvement" in discussions with Iowa State after that, but records show otherwise.. Last June, Rastetter emailed assistant ISU dean David Acker asking for a plan detailing "the division of responsibilities between the university and our commercial side.. " Acker responded with a memo asking AgriSol to fund a five-year contract for the university's work in Tanzania.. Rastetter said he doesn't view the exchange as improper, and noted that no funding agreement was reached.. He also noted that plans for Iowa State to seek a federal grant for the project with AgriSol were dropped after university officials identified the potential conflict in helping a regent's investment firm receive tax dollars.. (Story distributed by The Associated Press).. 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: Iowa Regent Admits PR Mistakes in Africa Land Deal | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Iowa Regent Admits PR Mistakes in Africa Land Deal.. The Oregonian.. IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa Regent Bruce Rastetter on Thursday defended working with Iowa State University to pursue a large-scale land development in Africa that could have benefited himself financially and blamed growing criticism over his involvement on misinformation and public relations mistakes..

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  • Title: Blind Development | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Blind Development.. July 18, 2012.. Slow Food.. Earlier this year in April, pastoralist tribes from across northern Kenya came together with fisher communities from around Lake Turkana at a large gathering at the Kalacha oasis.. The mood was enlivened by the sharing of music, food and other cultural presentations, but widespread tensions were the underlying reason for the event and the key message was clear: “Unite to stand up against shared problems stemming from development, climate change and land grabbing, and end the conflicts arising between tribes, or fight each other to the death for limited resources.. ”.. Nomadic herders have inhabited the semi-arid plains that stretch across 80 percent of Kenya and 60 percent of Ethiopia for thousands of years, relying on their intimate relationship and understanding of the land, animals and climate.. Northern Kenya is home to famous indigenous pastoralists, such as the Maasai, Rendille, Borana, Gabra and Wata, each formed around strong relationships with a certain animal breed that features strongly in their culture.. However, in recent years rising temperatures and increased severity of drought periods have lead to conflict, at times bloody, among tribal groups.. Exacerbating the situation, these communities are also under threat from a recent spurt of investors and multinational companies interested in putting their money into Kenyan oil, mining, wind farms and agribusiness projects.. The largest, and potentially most devastating of these, is the construction of a massive dam in southern Ethiopia that began in 2004 and is due for completion in 2014.. The fragile ecosystems of this region are seriously threatened by the Gilgel Gibe III Dam on the Omo River in Ethiopia - the lifeline of the Lower Omo Valley on the border with Kenya, and the only major water source of Lake Turkana, the world’s largest desert lake.. The incredible biodiversity and ecology of the Turkana Basin has allowed many indigenous communities to form their livelihood from fishing, farming and pastoral activities around the lake, including the Elmolo, Rendille, Turkana, Dassanech, Ariaal, and Samburu, a semi-nomadic pastoralist community related linguistically and culturally to the Massai.. Research is showing that Lake Turkana is already shrinking due to decreased rainfall and the loss  ...   of the Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa project Frederic Mousseau, told.. International Rivers.. : “these large land deals benefit investors and business interests who have other options for where to put their money, but those who stand to lose from the projects are people who rely on the waters of the Lower Omo River and Lake Turkana, in both Ethiopia and Kenya.. Last week on July 11, the World Bank voted to approve funding credit for the major transmission line to link Kenya to the dam, thus allowing Ethiopia to sell electricity to its neighbor.. The decision follows months of calls by local and international rights and environmental groups to keep out of the project and the Banks own refusal to fund the dam itself, citing a lack of transparency.. "For us, the World Bank's double standards are unacceptable," Ikal Angelei, from.. Friends of Lake Turkana.. , a group of local communities that would be affected by the dam, told.. IPS.. "If the dam did not meet standards earlier, how can they fund what is produced by the dam?".. Similar situations are happening all across the region on a smaller scale.. The Ewaso Nyiro River, which originates from Mount Kenya, supported the Borana pastoralists in the lowlands of north-east Kenya until large foreign-funded horticulture operations along the river in the highlands and Rift Valley began consuming massive quantities upstream.. Less water remains to support Borana leading to hostility between them and the Gabra and Waata peoples.. The gathering in Kalacha was a last call for northern Kenya’s tribes to set aside their recent conflict with one another and unite in the fight against their common problem - land grabbing.. Allowing massive tracts of land in this region to be taken over by foreign business will result in a widespread loss of culture and landscape.. The pastoralists must stand strong with a united voice; they need to be heard.. The Kalacha Cultural Food and Music Festival was organized by.. Kivulini Trust.. , a Kenyan NGO supported by the Christensen Fund.. Their work is also supported internationally by the Oakland Institute, Slow Food and the Indigenous Partnership for Food Sovereignty and Biodiversity..

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  • Title: Anti-Rastetter Group Meets in Cedar Falls; Talks Strategy | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Anti-Rastetter Group Meets in Cedar Falls; Talks Strategy.. Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier.. By Jon Ericson.. CEDAR FALLS Iowa --- Last weekend Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement protested at the homes of Gov.. Terry Branstad's staff to remove agribusiness leader Bruce Rastetter from the Iowa Board of Regents.. On Tuesday night, the group met in Cedar Falls to talk strategy to oust Rastetter from the board which governs the state's public universities.. CCI filed an ethics complaint with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign board in June over Rastetter's involvement with Iowa State University and AgriSol Energy, a business led by Rastetter working to buy and develop farm land in Tanzania.. Representatives for Rastetter and Branstad have denied a conflict of interest between Rastetter's work on the board and AgriSol.. However, Rastetter recused himself from discussing issues of AgriSol and Iowa State last September.. More than 40 people turned out at the Cedar Falls Recreation Center for the "Fire Rastetter" session.. Some were longtime CCI members, others were involved in Occupy Cedar Falls or groups that fought against the closure of the Malcolm Price Laboratory School.. Critics of AgriSol, including CCI, Food and Water Watch and the Oakland Institute, say the  ...   the entrepreneurship program of Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.. Speakers at the Tuesday event said the Rastetter AgriSol controversy is just one example of how corporations are taking more control of universities in Iowa and across the nation.. "Bruce Rastetter is a real egregious example of what you see as far as corporate influence at our public universities," said Tim Schwab of Food and Water Watch.. His watchdog group also has signed on to CCI's ethics complaint.. CCI and Food and Water Watch gave out petitions to those in attendance to encourage people to sign on to remove Rastetter from the Regents.. The group started planning to be present at the Aug.. 3 Board of Regents meeting in Cedar Falls as well as the Aug.. 23 meeting of the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, where that board will decide whether to further investigate the Rastetter ethics complaint.. "We're really facing issues of the encroachment of corporate power into our institutions.. We are seeing more and more of that in higher education," said Joe Gorton, a criminology professor at the University of Northern Iowa.. More anti-Rastetter sessions are planned Wednesday in Iowa City and Thursday in Ames..

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  • Title: Regent Rastetter Rejects Ethics Complaint | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Regent Rastetter Rejects Ethics Complaint.. Altoona Herald.. by Jens Manuel Krogstad.. Agribusiness investor Bruce Rastetter said it was a mistake for Iowa State University to cease involvement in a controversial project that would bring modern large-scale farming practices to about 35,000 acres of land in Tanzania.. Rastetter, a top Republican donor and member of the Iowa Board of Regents, also denied any allegations of ethics violations during an interview with Des Moines Register reporters and editors on Wednesday.. ISU announced in February that it was walking away from the project, headed by Agrisol Energy LLC, because of misunderstandings about the university’s involvement.. Rastetter, a managing director of Agrisol who owns a 30 percent stake in the company, said ISU would have provided valuable Extension-style agricultural education to Tanzanian farmers.. “I think they backed out because of the controversy, the pressure and misinformation that was out there and difficult to counteract,” Rastetter said.. A leading critic of the deal — the Oakland Institute, a California think tank — has called the project a scheme to make millions off cheap African land, some of which is occupied by refugees.. Agrisol says the only land it leases in Tanzania has been unoccupied since 2009.. Last month, Iowa  ...   May 1, 2011.. Addressing the complaint’s allegations, Rastetter said he halted direct involvement with ISU on the Agrisol project before joining the board.. He said the regents office worked with him to file his potential conflicts of interest paperwork in June, which he described as a normal timetable.. He recused himself from Board of Regents decisions about the project around that time, he said, and did not participate in any votes on the project.. In addition, he said the state ethics board assisted his staff in filing personal financial disclosure forms.. “Our people worked closely with staff there when we made the initial disclosure, and if there needs to be more, we’ll do that,” he said.. Rastetter said his public statements in September 2011 about his recusal from the project referred to an earlier action, and not a recent decision to do so.. “It wasn’t a new recusal,” he said.. “I’m very comfortable that no conflict existed.. The Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board will meet Aug.. 23 to review the complaint and either dismiss it or order an investigation.. Megan Tooker, executive director of the ethics board, said she couldn’t comment on whether anyone from her office helped Rastetter fill out the disclosure forms..

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  • Title: American Bio-Energy Firm in Trouble in Tanzania | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: American Bio-Energy Firm in Trouble in Tanzania.. July 17, 2012.. Latitude News.. by Ben Taub.. An American bio-energy firm that touts its social mission could kick more than 160,000 farmers off their land in Tanzania.. AgriSol, a company with offices in Alden, Iowa and Rowayton, Connecticut, is leasing hundreds of thousands of acres in Tanzania.. The company claims.. its mission is to.. ”improve food security…the health of Tanzanian children, and the livelihoods of the smallholders around our farm.. But an independent think tank.. tells Inter Press Service.. that AgriSol’s land deal with the Tanzanian government will do just the opposite for thousands of Burundian refugees who fled genocide in 1972 and have farmed the Tanzanian land since then.. A U.. S.. firm might displace Burundian refugees who are now naturalized Tanzanians.. (Reuters).. The refugees recently  ...   and farm on it.. AgriSol would pay just 25¢ an acre to lease as many as 800,000 acres from Tanzania,.. reports the Oakland Institute.. , an American think tank that has been investigating AgriSol’s Tanzania activity.. Displaced refugees are given just $200 each, the Oakland Institute report says.. The Institute also alleges that AgriSol wants to make changes in Tanzania’s bio-safety regulations in order to grow crops in protected forests and wetlands.. The company could net as much as $300 million a year from the deal, according to disclosures.. Larry Ginter, a retired farmer in Rhodes, Iowa, told Inter Press Service, “This is a classic case of colonialism, and is theft of the highest order.. AgriSol claims to have halted operations in the refugee settlements.. Follow the link at Straight to the Source for more..

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  • Title: Daily Iowan: Rastetter and Tanzania Response from the Oakland Institute | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Daily Iowan: Rastetter and Tanzania Response from the Oakland Institute.. Daily Iowan.. True, not all businesses are cruel, and not all profits mean greed.. After spending more than 18 months researching AgriSol's land deal in Tanzania, this conclusion could only apply if one failed to read company's internal documents or chose to ignore the reality on the ground that our field research yielded.. It appears from your editorial that you are fine with the forced relocation of 160,000 people who have grown their own food to feed their community and others in the region.. Where will they go, how will they survive, what happens to their livelihoods seems to be of no concern to the paper.. The paper is impressed by AgriSol's ability to rake in immense profits secured through demands  ...   Is forcing 160,000 people to leave their homes and make such demands of a developing country as the gateway to immense profits ethical?.. Issues raised by the AgriSol land deal, including influence of money in politics, (Bruce Rastetter's large campaign contribution that preceded his appointment to the state Board of Regents), lack of transparency and accountability, and denial of the right to freedom of expression to the affected communities, require continued vigilance and investigation.. The Oakland Institute has investigated more than 70 land deals.. Our work, including documentation on the AgriSol's land deal, is available on our.. website.. Please check it out.. Failure to do so and take action will only allow hog barons to get richer while the poor in poor countries get poorer.. Anuradha Mittal Jeff Furman.. Oakland Institute..

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  • Title: Land Acquisitions: Investment Opportunity or Hydro-Colonialism? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Acquisitions: Investment Opportunity or Hydro-Colonialism?.. July 16, 2012.. Polity.. Today we live in a ‘post-surplus world’ with a tense situation in global food markets, while at the same time facing increasing food demand.. By 2050 the world will need 50% more food than it currently does, and transformation and partnerships with Africa will be essential to these global food needs.. (2).. In order to secure food security, land acquisitions have increased.. Recipient countries sell or lease out land to Government or private sector investors.. What is new to this process are its scale.. (3).. and its possible implications.. GRAIN, a non-government organisation that backs smallholder farmers, recently highlighted the risk of water scarcity connected to the process of land acquisition.. (4).. This CAI paper examines the controversial act of land acquisitions.. The implications of the ‘investment perspective’ and the ‘water and land scramble perspective’ are discussed, with a focus on Saudi Arabia’s debated land deals in Ethiopia.. Land acquisitions: Two sides of the coin.. The process whereby foreign entities buy land from its occupiers, or ‘the hidden revolution,’ as Fred Pearce, writer of The Land Grabbers calls it, has received increasing global attention.. (5).. Countries that are ‘finance-rich, resource-poor’ look to ‘finance-poor, resource-rich’ countries to ensure their own food and energy security.. (6).. Concern over food security spiked when grain prices reached an all-time high in 2007/2008.. To secure the future of their populations, countries such as South Korea and Saudi Arabia began to invest in overseas land.. (7).. Numerous other countries are involved in this agricultural investment process, including India and China.. Nevertheless the business also includes African intra-regional land investments.. (8).. On one side, supporters of land acquisitions argue that the investments contribute to new techniques, seeds and money for the agriculture sector.. (9).. These investments address the food crisis, create employment and earn foreign exchange.. (10).. Its opponents, on the other side, argue that farmlands are separated from their host countries and force farmers off their land.. (11).. The procedure has therefore been nick-named ‘land grabbing’, a term that implies an act in which someone deliberately and illegally takes away someone’s land rights.. Media has raised concern of a land grab of neo-colonial character, which is risking food security and affecting smallholder farmers.. (12).. A European Report on Development 2011-2012 focusing on food, water and energy, stressed the need for effective natural resources management for sustainable and inclusive growth.. (13).. In addition, at the Rio+20 Summit 2012 ‘the landscape approach’ was introduced.. This is an initiative with the aim to include local stakeholders to ensure sustainable development.. (14).. The concept of land investment is based on the assumption that investment can contribute to development.. Governments can use foreign exchange earnings gained from agricultural exports to attain food security by trade and in the end finance technological imports to increase industrialisation.. (15).. The principles for this process include keeping it African-led and African-owned, multi-stakeholder, market-based, sustainable, transparent, agile and non-bureaucratic.. (16).. Hydro issues.. On the African continent water scarcity is a reality that affects one in three people.. (17).. A recent report by GRAIN, underscores the effect of land grabbing on Africa’s fresh water systems.. "If these land grabs are allowed to continue, Africa is heading for a hydrological suicide," said co-ordinator of GRAIN, Henk Hobbelink.. (18).. The report implies that the scramble for land is a struggle for control over water.. Countries such as India and Saudi Arabia do not lack land for food production, they lack water.. (19).. The idea that water is abundant in Africa and that African water resources are under-utilised is a popular one.. (20).. However, the land deals in Africa contain large-scale industrial agricultural businesses that consume vast amounts of water.. If this development continues, it risks exhausting Africa’s water sources, which means that millions of people could lose access to water.. (21).. History tells us that industrial agriculture is not sustainable: during India’s Green Revolution, water was pumped from deeply dug boreholes for irrigation and India’s groundwater consumption consequently reached an unsustainable height.. Today Indian farmers have to drill deeper every year, an unsustainable situation.. (22).. Another territory at risk of over-consuming its water resource is the Nile river basin.. Ethiopia, South Sudan, Sudan and Egypt are dependent on its water for agriculture and have irrigation infrastructures for 5.. 4 million hectares (13 million acres) of land.. However, 8.. 6 million hectares of land have been leased out.. (23).. In Ethiopia 85% of the population relies on agriculture.. The Ethiopian Government has therefore recognised the need for rapid agricultural growth.. The Government has urged for increased commercialisation including foreign and domestic investments.. The  ...   in Gambela province local people are forced off their land.. The Ethiopian Government is aiming to relocate 1.. 5 million people from their homelands by 2013.. (45).. Concluding remarks.. Due to increasing rates of urbanisation and growing food demand there is a need for advanced, more sustainable and efficient agriculture production.. In order to reach these goals, advanced technology and investments are necessary.. Land acquisition with large-scale farming is one way to reach these goals.. It is evident looking at the above discussion, that in order to be sustainable recipient nations of land deals must be able to negotiate contracts in accordance with its national constitution and international human rights treaties.. The investment countries must consult the locals and offer compensation if necessary.. In addition, the recipient country needs to broaden its revenues from the macro level, to also become beneficial on a micro level.. Written by Christine Petré.. (1).. NOTES:.. (1) Contact Christine Petré through Consultancy Africa Intelligence's Rights in Focus Unit (.. rights.. focus@consultancyafrica.. com.. ).. (2) Sheeran, J.. , ‘Grow Africa: Transforming African agriculture’, World Economic Forum on Africa 2012 website,.. http://www.. weforum.. (3) ‘Buying farmland abroad: Outsourcing’s third wave’, The Economist, 21 May 2009,.. economist.. (4) ‘Squeezing Africa dry: behind every land grab is a water grab’, GRAIN website, June 2012,.. grain.. (5) Templeton, T.. , ‘Fred Pearce: Land grabbing has more of an impact on the world’s poor than climate change’, The Guardian, 20 May 2012,.. guardian.. co.. uk.. (6) Borras Jr.. , S.. , et al.. , ‘Towards a broader view of the politics of global land grab: rethinking land issues, reframing resistance’, ICAS working paper series no.. 001, May 3010.. tni.. (7) Templeton, T.. (8) Hall, R.. , ‘The next great trek? South Africa commercial farmers move north’, Institute of poverty, Land and agrarian studies, University of the Western Cape, PLAAS working paper series, 2011.. (9) ‘Buying farmland abroad: Outsourcing’s third wave’, The Economist, 21 May 2009,.. (10) Lavers, T.. , 2012.. ‘Land grab’ as development strategy? The political economy of agricultural investment in Ethiopia.. The Journal of Peasant Studies, 39(1), pp.. 105-132.. (11) ‘Buying farmland abroad: Outsourcing’s third wave’, The Economist, 21 May 2009,.. (12) Tentena, P.. , ‘Is land grabbing a reality in Uganda?’ East African Business Week, 28 May 2012,.. http://allafrica.. (13) ‘Confronting scarcity: Managing water, energy and land inclusive and sustainable growth’, European Report on Development website, 2012,.. http://erd-report.. eu.. (14) ‘Rio+20: The “landscape approach”’, IRIN, 18 June 2012,.. irinnews.. (15) Lavers, T.. (16) Sheeran, J.. , ‘Grow Africa: Transforming African agriculture’, World Economic Forum on Africa website, 2012,.. (17) ‘Squeezing Africa dry: Behind every land grab is a water grab’, GRAIN website, June 2012,.. (18) Tran, M.. , ‘Africa land deals lead to water giveaway’, The Guardian, 12 June 2012,.. (19) ‘Squeezing Africa dry: Behind every land grab is a water grab’, GRAIN website, June 2012,.. (20) Ibid.. (21) Tran, M.. (22) ‘Squeezing Africa dry: behind every land grab is a water grab’, GRAIN website, June 2012,.. (23) Ibid.. (24) Lavers, T.. Land grab as development strategy? The political economy of agricultural investment in Ethiopia.. (25) ‘Ethiopia: Building on progress.. A plan for accelerated and sustained development to end poverty’, The World Bank website, September 2006,.. http://siteresources.. worldbank.. (26) ‘Squeezing Africa dry: Behind every land grab is a water grab’, GRAIN website, June 2012,.. (27) Green, A.. , ‘Saudi agriculture minister enticed by African land’, This is Africa, 8 June 2012,.. thisisafricaonline.. (28) Ibid.. (29) Ibid.. (30) Balghunaim, F.. (31) Green, A.. (32) Ibid.. (33) Balghunaim, F.. (34) ‘Understanding land investment deals in Africa, Country report: Ethiopia’, The Oakland Institute website, 2011,.. oaklandinstitute.. (35) Pearce, F.. , ‘Land grabbers: Africa’s hidden revolution’ The Guardian, 20 May 2012,.. (36) Davison, W.. , ‘Saudi Star offers jobs to overcome Ethiopia criticism’, Bloomberg Business Week, 30 May 2012,.. arabianbusiness.. (37) ‘Contracts’, food crisis and the global land grab website,.. http://farmlandgrab.. (38) ‘Squeezing Africa dry: Behind every land grab is a water grab’, GRAIN website, June 2012,.. (39) ‘Buying farmland abroad: Outsourcing’s third wave’, The Economist, 21 May 2009,.. (40) ‘Land legislation in Ethiopia’, Ethiopian law-info website, 24 December 2011,.. http://ethiopianlaw.. weebly.. (41) ‘United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples’, United Nations,.. un.. (42) ‘Ethiopia: Indigenous people forced from land’, Human Rights Watch, 8 June 2012,.. youtube.. (43) ‘”Waiting here for death” forced displacement and “villagisation” in Ethiopia’s Gambella region’, Human Rights Watch Report, January 2012,.. hrw.. (44) ‘Ethiopia: Forced relocations bring hunger, hardship’, Human Rights Watch website, 17 January 2012,.. (45) ‘Squeezing Africa dry: Behind every land grab is a water grab’, GRAIN website, June 2012,.. Edited by: Consultancy Africa Intelligence CAI..

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  • Title: How Politicians Gave Away $100bn of Land | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: How Politicians Gave Away $100bn of Land.. July 15, 2012.. Novafrica Developments--The Africa Report n°42.. With minimal consultation, governments and local authorities are signing away huge tracts of lands for lease on the cheap.. Now communities are raising their voices in opposition to these projects that bring little local development.. The Nguruman Escarpment is one of the global tourism’s secret.. Rising from the arid and salty wastes of Lake Magadi as the Rift Valley heads south out of Kenya is a steeply rising expense of yellow-fever acacia thickets and vast savannah meadows.. At its northern edge, is overlooked the Serengeti plains from a height of 2,000m.. It feels as if God installed a private balcony to gaze over creation.. Visits are by invitation.. Bill Gates has been here; Kofi Annan stayed here while mediating the Kenya crisis in 2008; and Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga has used it as a retreat.. In the shadow of the Ngurumans lies a darker reality: the dispossession of a Maasai community to secure this paradise.. The Olkiramatian Group Ranch, a community of about 8,000 people, faces eviction following a legal battle with Nguruman Ltd, the company that owns the escarpment property.. In 1996, during a severe drought, the community’s herders took their livestock up the escarpment.. The northern edge of the escarpment has traditionally been used for dry season grazing.. On that occasion, however they found their access paths blocked.. A few days later, they received a court writ accusing them of trespass and charging them with destruction of grassland valued at almost $2m.. Recently, a court in Kericho ruled in favor of Nguruman Ltd and its sole director, Hermanus Phillipus Steyn.. The ruling meant that if they were unable to pay the damages, some 3,000 families resident in Olkiramatian Group Ranch and the neighboring Shompole Group Ranch face eviction from their homes.. The land grab had started in 1986 when Steyn, a South African investor, along with 14 officials of Narok and Olkejuado county councils – the two local authorities under whose jurisdiction the Ngurumans fall – obtained the title deed to a small ranch known as Kamorora, on which the lodge sits.. Kamorora had been illegally registered.. However over the course of the next few years, Steyn quietly bought out his co-directors in Nguruman Ltd.. As sole proprietor, he was able to dictate terms, preventing the surrounding communities from accessing the escarpment.. In Kenya, such stories are common.. Presidents and their homeboys settle their people in new lands saving a chunk for themselves.. They are then reluctant to implement land reforms that would secure individual and communal land rights or deal with historical dispossession.. These were some of the underlying issues that led to the blood-letting following the botched 2007 presidential elections.. The tension between a deregulated land regime and claims to territory from marginalized ethnic groups such as the Maasai has defined much of Kenya’s politics.. It is perhaps because of this raw domestic competition over land that it has escaped relatively unscathed from the bigger phenomenon sweeping Africa: the global land grab.. Over the past decade Africa has experienced unprecedented pressure from foreign investors seeking cheap agricultural land.. The figures are imprecise, collated by activist groups without verification from state authorities, but point to the scale of the problem.. A review of data from several national reports, together with surveys by the African Union, the United Nations (UN) and the World Bank suggests Africa has effectively given away some $100bn of land since 2000.. The international market price of land is, of course, subject to huge dispute – not least because of the lack of reliable national valuation systems.. Market prices for land sold or leased in Africa vary spectacularly.. For example, an acre [0.. 4ha] of land in Kitengela, just outside Nairobi, sells for a minimum of $10,000 an acre, yet there are reports of land in the Tana Delta, where Qatari companies are planning a rice project, being leased for as little as $3 an acre.. In South Africa, tracts in the Wine lands can change hands for as much as R500,000 ($60,000) an acre but sell for as little as R700 in the Karoo.. In Ghana, land prices have escalated sharply over the past two decades and plots in the Eastern Region, north of Accra, are sold on long leases for $40,000 an acre.. Leases in Nigeria are generally more expensive still.. Leases around urban centers such as Lagos and Abuja are among the most expensive in the world.. With growing activism and laws in Africa and beyond constraining the operations of mining and oil conglomerates, the trade in land and agricultural commodities is becoming the last frontier for buccaneer capitalism.. A recent report by the International Development Law Organization found that, globally, “in 2009 alone, transactions covering at least 56.. 6m ha were concluded or under negotiation, more than 13 times the average amount of land opened to cultivation annually between 1961 and 2007.. Most of  ...   of greenhouses, Karuturi Global produces 650m rose stems annually, some 10% of the global flower export market.. After Karuturi’s investments in Ethiopian horticulture, the government granted it a 250,000ha concession for rice farming in Gambela.. Now it wants a further 500,000ha.. Another major investor is Ethiopian- Saudi magnate Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi.. He was, until 2009, Africa’s richest man, with a fortune estimated at $10bn.. Al Amoudi has secured a 85,000ha rubber farm in Ethiopia.. His 10,000ha rice paddy in Gambela, run by his flagship Star Enterprises, is advertised as “one of Ethiopia s premier investments”.. Al Amoudi has asked for a further 100,000ha in Gambela to cultivate stock for biofuels.. But as the new projects force local communities off their ancestral lands, destroy forests and eat into the game reserve in central Gambela, the Anuak and Nuer communities are rising in protest.. In Uganda, there is also a rising clamor over state-backed foreign investor-driven land gabs.. A clear example of the new coalition of interests is emerging in the north-eastern region of Karamoja.. Designated a closed district under colonialism, Karamoja and its pastoralist people are still assigned he role of “backward native” occupying a desolate place and caught up in a cattle-rustling culture.. Today, “development” means the deployment of the Ugandan army and Special Forces for “disarmament” exercises.. That has been followed by the appointment of a “can-do” minister for Karamoja affairs.. The minister Janet Museveni, is the wife of President Yoweri Museveni and mother of the commander of Special Forces, Colonel Muhoozi Kainerugaba.. Janet Museveni advised a jittery European Union official not to expect Uganda to “romanticize” what she termed “nomadism” but to recognize it as “a danger we have to fight like other social ills”.. Pastoralists have been driven off as much as 60% of Karamoja’s fertile land.. Pointing fingers at the first family, Karamoja’s legislators recently named companies that have acquired more than 8,000ha in unclear circumstances.. This did not include another 49-year lease of 1,000ha for just $50,000, paid not to the community, but to its local council.. In Mozambique, much of the new investment moved towards timber, for carbon credits, and agricultural land.. According to the Oakland Institute’s seven- country study of land deals in Africa, Mozambique granted concessions to investors for more than 2.. 5m ha between 2004 and the end of 2009.. This is 3% of the land area and 7% of the country’s arable land.. More than a million hectares went to foreign investors, 73% for timber and 13% for biofuels and sugar.. “What appeared to be a new European “land grab” and the pressure for high profits has pushed foreign companies into seizing land farmed or used by local communities, displacing farmers and threatening their livelihoods and food security”, says the Oakland Institute report.. As the investors needed local partners, Maputo’s political elite have benefited hugely, according to a local analyst.. In January, in the Cateme region of Tete Province, more than 700 families resettled by the Brazilian company Vale rebelled against the violation of their rights and poor living conditions after resettlement.. Police beat back the protestors, a sign that the regime was not prepared to hear the community’s complaints.. Value not added.. Part of the problem, says Namanga Ngongi, director of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is that African land has been the last factor of production to be marketed.. After years of Bretton Woods structural adjustment programs, agriculture was liberalized when it required more state intervention and management.. “Land was never factored into calculations around value”, Ngongi explains.. “If we were able to show our rural populations that their lands were valuable, then maybe they can start factoring them into negotiations around the sale of those lands.. There is no piece of land in Africa that is not claimed, says Joan Kagwanja, of the UN Economic Commission for Africa’s Land Policy Initiative.. Although governments favor large-scale agricultural investments, the data shows Africa’s small-holder farmers to be far more productive.. Reversing land deals would require a Herculean effort.. At the Land Policy Initiative, a research team has embarked on a thorough review of the land deals.. It aims to set standards and guidelines for future land leasing.. In touting the benefits of large-scale plantation farming, Africa’s leaders are forgetting some very recent lessons.. It is actually the continent’s 60 million small-holder farmers who are the backbone of agricultural development.. Because their lands, from which so many are now being moved, have never been valued, they are being leased out to foreign investors for little more than nothing,.. “If we were able to show rural communities that they are sitting on assets that could change their economic status you may have a lot more interest on their part in participating in discussions that would be profitable to them, to the country at large and to the international community,”’ says Dr Ngongi.. Parselelo Kantai in Addis Ababa, Fred Katere in Mozambique and Kalundi Serumaga in Uganda..

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  • Title: Activists Take Message to State Officials’ Doorsteps | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Activists Take Message to State Officials’ Doorsteps.. July 14, 2012.. Des Moines Register.. Three busloads of activists traveled to two state officials’ homes Saturday advocating for the dismissal of one of the regents who oversees the state universities.. Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement organized afternoon protests at the homes of Jeff Boeyink, Gov.. Terry Branstad’s chief of staff, and David Roederer, director of the Iowa Department of Management.. Citizens for Community Improvement filed an ethics complaint last month against Regent Bruce Rastetter, accusing him of abusing his position to acquire land in Tanzania that would benefit AgriSol Energy Corp.. , where Rastetter is managing director.. The protesters demanded that Branstad dismiss him.. Under Iowa law, Branstad has the authority to suspend and replace regents, although  ...   activists boarded three school buses Saturday and traveled to the homes of the two members of the Branstad administration.. While there, with the aid of a megaphone, they held “ethics hearings” outside of the men’s homes and passed out pamphlets to neighbors.. Several neighbors came out of their homes in Boeyink’s neighborhood.. One man tried to take the materials left on Boeyink’s doorstep, but after a brief discussion with some of the protesters he agreed to return it.. The man declined to be interviewed.. Citizens for Community Improvement organizer David Goodner said the activists spoke briefly with Roederer outside his home.. The state ethics board will consider the complaint against Rastetter at its next meeting in August.. A date for the meeting has not been announced..

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  • Title: Letters to the Editor--Rastetter and Tanzania | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Letters to the Editor--Rastetter and Tanzania.. July 13, 2012.. Rastetter and Tanzania.. We're all entitled to our own opinions, but not to our own facts.. The Daily Iowan.. 's July 12 editorial "AgriSol profits don't make the company at fault" makes an ideological argument about the value of so-called "free markets" and "feeding the world" without any critical analysis of the actual facts on the ground, much less the perspectives of the poor refugees directly affected.. These are the facts.. Bruce Rastetter is a hog and ethanol baron and vulture capitalist who gave Gov.. Terry Branstad's re-election campaign $160,000.. Branstad returned the favor by appointing Rastetter to the state Board of Regents.. Rastetter spent months abusing his power as a regent to leverage Iowa State University to provide cover for a corporate land grab in Tanzania that could displace as many as 160,000 refugees.. Rastetter's deal with Tanzania could allow his corporation to lease 800,000 acres of land for 25 cents an acre.. The subsistence farmers on the land — who currently grow a variety of crops and account for 40 percent of the region's food on just 4 percent of the land — will be forcibly displaced and moved to urban slums, where they will no longer be able to  ...   take it out of the country with them.. Misty Rebik.. Iowa City resident.. Rastetter has conflict of interest.. Food Water Watch respectfully, yet completely, disagrees with.. Editorial Board's assessment of Bruce Rastetter ("AgriSol profits don't make the company at fault," July 12).. While suggesting the preposterous — that Rastetter's operation in Tanzania is actually a humanitarian cause that will cure "mental retardation" through providing cheap eggs to poor people in Africa — the Editorial Board completely ignores a long paper trail showing the ways in which Rastetter has deeply compromised both himself and Iowa State University through his Tanzanian land grab.. Rastetter has acknowledged his conflict of interest — serving on the Board of Regents while also working with the school on his for-profit project AgriSol — but only after media attention embarrassed him.. The AgriSol project has created additional conflicts for administrators and professors in the College of Agriculture, who eagerly decided to put the personal interests of Rastetter above those of the students, farmers, and consumers in Iowa.. The public deserves a Board of Regents and a university that are forthright, upfront, and honest; that serve the public at all times, and Rastetter's presence in Ames would appear to make this impossible.. Matt Ohloff.. Iowa organizer for Food Water Watch..

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