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  • Title: Ethiopia: Food for Famine and Thought | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Ethiopia: Food for Famine and Thought.. June 4, 2012.. Source:.. Abudiga Info.. View Original.. The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition.. At the recent 2012 G8 Food Security Summit in Washington, D.. C.. , Abebe Gellaw, a young Washington-based Ethiopian journalist, stood up in the gallery and thunderously proclaimed to dictator Meles Zenawi,.. “… Food is nothing without freedom…” Is he right?.. When President Obama invited the leaders of Ghana, Tanzania, Benin and Zenawi to the Summit on May 18, few expected any meaningful outcomes.. A White House statement on the Summit declared: “The New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is a shared commitment to achieve sustained and inclusive agricultural growth and raise 50 million people out of poverty over the next 10 years by aligning the commitments of Africa’s leadership to drive effective country plans and policies for food security; the commitments of private sector partners to increase investments where the conditions are right; and the commitments of the G-8 to expand Africa’s potential for rapid and sustainable agricultural growth.. ” To implement the “New Alliance” and spark a Green Revolution in Africa, dozens of global food companies, including multinational giants Cargill, Dupont, Monsanto, Kraft, Unilever, Syngenta AG, have signed a “Private Sector Declaration of Support for African Agricultural Development”.. The vast majority of Ethiopians eke out a living as smallholder farmers.. According to a 2010 USAID report, eight of every ten Ethiopians live in rural areas with average land holdings of 0.. 93 hectare.. A 2011 report by the Oakland Institute (OI) stated that Zenawi’s regime has “transferred at least 3,619,509 ha of land to investors, although the actual number may be higher.. ” These “lease” transfers (for 99 years) are handed out to companies from India, China, Saudi Arabia and 36 other countries for pennies per hectare.. The OI further reported that “displacement from farmland is widespread, and the vast majority of locals receive no compensation.. ” The displaced farmers who have lost their ancestral lands to “leases” are mostly indigenous minority peoples.. In 2011, Africa imported $50 billion worth of food from the U.. S.. and Europe.. Food prices in Africa are 200-300 percent higher than global prices, which means higher profit margins for multinationals that produce and distribute food.. With a steady growth in global population, the prospect of transforming Africa into vast commercialized farms is mouthwatering for global agribusinesses.. The “New Alliance for Food Security” will accelerate at warp speed the “transfer” of hundreds of millions of hectares of arable African land to Cargill, Dupont, Monsanto, Kraft, Unilever, Syngenta AG and the dozens of other signatory multinationals.. Working jointly with Africa’s corrupt dictators, these multinationals will “liberate” the land from Africans just like the 19th Century scramble for Africa; but will they liberate Africa from the scourge of hunger, famine, starvation and poverty?.. A Brief Lesson in African History.. In 1894, fourteen European and other countries including the U.. (the “G-14” of the era) held a land grab conference in Berlin to “save” the Dark Continent.. The publicity cover for the conference was the liberation of Africa from the slave trade and the need to undertake a civilizing mission.. To that end, the Berlin Conference passed hollow resolutions.. But the real agenda was to carve up Africa between the European powers peacefully and without the need for internecine imperialistic wars.. The Scramble for Africa gave Britain a nice slice of Africa stretching from Cape-to-Cairo.. France gobbled up much of western Africa.. King Leopold II of Belgium took personal possession of the Congo.. Portugal grabbed Mozambique and Angola.. Italy snagged Somalia and laid claim to parts of Ethiopia.. Ironically, the G-8’s “New Alliance” smacks of the old Scramble for Africa.. The G-8 wants to liberate Africa from hunger, famine and starvation by facilitating the handover of millions of hectares of Africa’s best land to global multinationals in Ethiopia, Mozambique, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, Sudan, Nigeria and Ghana, among others.. Is history repeating itself in Africa? Only the people of Madagascar have been able to successfully fight back and rescue their country from the clutches of the international land grabbers by dumping their president.. Ethiopian Hunger Games.. When it comes to famine and starvation in Ethiopia, the standard response by the ruling regime and its international donors is to deny, evade and sugarcoat the whole thing in clever euphemisms (calling it “severe malnutrition, “food insecurity”, etc.. ; see my commentary, African Hunger Games at Camp David ), blame droughts and natural forces and endlessly supply food handouts.. Bad governance, dictatorships and corruption are rarely blamed for the predictable and recurrent famines and starvation in Ethiopia.. Last week, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) in Ethiopia announced that “3.. 2 million people are food insecure in Ethiopia” and that it needs an additional US$183 million to provide emergency assistance.. At the same time, Mitiku Kassa, Zenawi’s official responsible for agriculture, blamed the “food insecurity” on drought: “Irregularity in rainfall seasons resulting in problems of such a kind is not a new thing to us.. We faced it last year and a year before that and we are managing it so far… The country has enough resources and mechanisms in place to deal with it this time, though.. ” The mechanism in place is beggary proficiently practiced as a high art form by Zenawi’s regime over the past two decades.. A little over a month ago, the U.. pledged to provide nearly $200 million in additional humanitarian aid to Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa.. In 2011, the U.. provided more than $1.. 1 billion in humanitarian aid.. Ethiopia received more than US$3 billion in 2008, making that country the largest recipient of development aid in Africa.. To say that Ethiopia will continue to face chronic “food insecurity” is like predicting the sun will rise tomorrow.. “Food insecurity” (a/k/a famine) in Ethiopia is expected to reach biblical proportions by 2050.. Census Bureau made the catastrophic prediction that Ethiopia’s population by 2050 will more than triple to 278 million.. That did not stop Zenawi from declaring a crushing victory on famine in 2011: “We have devised a plan which will enable us to produce surplus and be able to feed ourselves by 2015 without the need for food aid.. ” Zenawi’s plan to “produce surplus” is to stretch out cupped palms for handouts of crumbs left over from exports by Karuturi Global, Saudi Star, Cargill, Monsanto… and the rest.. It is manifest that with the “New Alliance”, the U.. and the other G8 countries have willfully blinded themselves to the moral hazard of endlessly aiding famine victims in Africa and unashamedly accepted the moral bankruptcy of endlessly aiding African dictators.. It is axiomatic for them that providing endless handouts to  ...   but the fact of the matter is that neither Ethiopia nor the rest of Africa can achieve food sufficiency by tethering predatory multinational corporations with corrupt African dictators in a new “alliance for food security” and and strapping them around the necks of Africa’s smallholder farmers.. A joint venture between jackals and hyenas will never benefit the gazelles.. There are some simple questions that need to be asked about Ethiopia’s hunger games: Could Ethiopia reasonably expect to achieve food security when its citizens are prohibited by law from owning agricultural (for that matter all) land? Does it make sense to hand out the country’s most arable land to “foreign investors” to produce food for export and ensure food security in other countries when Ethiopians are dying from starvation? Could Ethiopia reasonably expect to be saved from famine, starvation or “chronic food insecurity” by Karuturi, Saudi Star, Cargill, Dupont and the rest of the vampiric leeches? Does the smallholder Ethiopian farmer scratching out a living on 0.. 93 hectare stand a snowball’s chance in hell against Karuturi, Saudi Star, Cargill, Dupont…? Is the ultimate destiny of the smallholder African farmer to be a consumer of food produced by global agricultural multinationals instead of being a local producer and harvester of his/her own food?.. Zenawi has adamantly opposed private ownership of land, which by all expert accounts is the single most important factor in ensuring food security in any nation.. In 2000, Zenawi said (and has repeatedly taken similar positions since):.. I have not heard of any truly convincing reason as to why we should privatize land ownership at this stage.. I have not heard of any economic rationale for doing so.. If there were to be an overwhelming economic rationale to do it and ultimately that would be the best way of securing the interests of our peasant farmer and therefore politically that would be our agenda… But at the same time we do not have any illusions as to what land ownership can do to the peasant farmer over the long-term.. We do not believe that the long-term future and destiny of our peasant farmers is to be stuck in the mud, so to speak.. We feel that ultimately there has to be industrialization, ultimately these people have to find to get employment outside agriculture.. In 2012, Zenawi pontificates about the need to “transform the livelihoods Africa’s smallholder farmers” through “public investment” and predicts “there is no future for agriculture in Africa.. ” He just does not get it! There can be no smallholder farmer when there is no land to have and to hold.. The smallholder Ethiopian farmer that Zenawi talks about is no better than the sharecropper or the tenant farmer.. When the smallholder farmer is arbitrarily evicted from his land because he refuses to support Zenawi’s regime, denied fertilizer because he voted for the opposition or is put on the blacklist and watched day and night by hordes of informants because he wants to remain politically independent, he is no longer a smallholder farmer.. He becomes a landless, hopeless, helpless, restless, hapless, rootless, voiceless and powerless panhandler of international food aid.. Without the small holder farmer, not only is there not a future for agriculture in Africa, there is no future for Africa itself!.. USAID, Ethiopia’s largest donor, in its 2010 report (perhaps unread by Khan), makes the simple point that effective agricultural development and long-term food security requires “100% ownership and buy-in by the Ethiopian people”.. But instead of a “buy in”, Zenawi has pursued a relentless and ruthless policy of kick out, resulting in the displacement and confiscation of ancestral lands from countless small holder farmers.. Now, Zenawi rubs his hands with glee to swipe his cut of the $22 billion promised in the L’Aquila Initiative.. That is all he cares about!.. Food is Nothing Without Freedom!.. Ethiopia’s four-decade old dependence on humanitarian food aid will continue and worsen.. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child provide that it is the natural right of all people to have access to food.. But under Zenawi, Ethiopians face a double whammy: A insatiable hunger for food and an unquenchable thirst for freedom, democracy and human rights.. Ethiopians suffer from hunger and thirst because they are victims of a ruthless dictatorship!.. In 2007, speaking at the World Food Day, President Horst Köhler of Germany made the following extraordinarily insightful statement:.. Hunger is not an inescapable destiny, but can be eliminated by wise policies.. This requires first and foremost that the governments of the developing countries make food security for their populace a priority goal….. Democratic participation by the people is the best guarantee that governments will genuinely understand people’s basic needs and will take these into account.. As the Indian Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen has so aptly said, in countries where there are no elections and there is no opposition, governments do not need to worry about political fallout from their failure to eradicate poverty….. Good governance and a functioning executive are absolutely crucial for an economic policy that is geared to the needs of the people and will help to eradicate poverty….. Who can seriously expect a smallholder to invest his savings in his farm and machinery if he fears he may be thrown off the land at any time?… Excessive long-term help from outside can stifle the recipients’ initiative and frequently even results in aid-dependency.. … Hunger is above all the result of political mistakes – in the developing countries as in the industrialized nations.. To conquer hunger in our globalized world we need an honest, reliable and partnership-based development policy that spans the entire planet….. Perhaps President Obama could begin a new alliance for food security based on honesty and a genuine commitment to fundamental democratic principles that could help alter permanently Africa’s destiny as the beggar continent.. The real solution to famine in Ethiopia lies in nourishing the emaciated Ethiopian body politic with clean elections, accountability, transparency, open political space and robust human rights protections.. In 2009, he lamented, “There is no reason why Africa cannot be self-sufficient when it comes to food.. I have family members who live in villages — they themselves are not going hungry — but live in villages where hunger is real.. ” President Obama should remind Zenawi and the rest of the African gang of dictators that though man does not live by bread alone, a hungry man in the village is an angry man!.. 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: Indian Farmer’s African Safari | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Indian Farmer’s African Safari.. June 2, 2012.. Business World.. Rajeev Dubey.. Can Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi beat the odds against him and become a global farmer?.. SOARING AMBITION: Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi at his farm in Gambela, Ethiopia.. (BW Pic By Rajeev Dubey).. April 2008.. The government of Gambela state in Ethiopia had invited Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi to discuss his offer to lease 100,000 hectare for farming.. Karuturi’s expectations of a deal going through were so low that he sent his public relations officer Ashok Sharma and some lawyers for the meeting.. The managing director of the world’s largest rose exporter, the Rs 645-crore Karuturi Global (KGL), had better things to do with his time than take a 700-km ride from Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa for a deal that seemed unlikely to materialise.. But his father, Karuturi Surya Rao, promoter of a Bangalore-based cable maker, and also chairman of Karuturi Global, offered to join the troupe.. Though the deal seemed unlikely, Karuturi senior was worried about his son’s soaring ambitions and wanted to make sure that no undue risks were being taken.. As it turned out, Karuturi was both right — and wrong.. The state would not offer 100,000 hectare (ha).. Instead, it wanted him to take 300,000 ha (or 741,000 acre, an area twice the size of the National Capital Territory of Delhi) on a 99-year lease at 20 birr (about $1.. 5) per ha per annum.. HOME ALONE: An empty village of pastoralists at Gambela farm.. Karuturi senior wanted nothing to do with the deal.. The team was walking out when Ram called for an update.. “Sign it right now,” he shouted over the phone from Addis Ababa when he heard the terms.. “I want it signed and sealed before they change their mind.. ” Karuturi senior could hardly believe what was going on.. “What’s the point of taking land that you cannot walk (across)?” he asked his son on the phone.. “I can’t walk it, but I can fly over it, dad,” Karuturi replied nonchalantly, “This is my company.. Let me handle it.. ” There was a deafening silence at the other end of the phone.. Even as the agreement to make Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi the biggest land-holding Indian on Earth was being signed, Karuturi senior walked out in protest and sat in the car, fretting over the risk.. The 25,274 sq.. km Gambela bordering South Sudan is among the poorer states of Ethiopia.. A majority of its 300,000 populace is pastoral.. Gambela and other states have since leased out land to others, including India’s Shapoorji Pallonji Co.. (50,000 ha) to grow biofuel, and Spentex Industries (25,000 ha) to grow cotton.. To understand what prompted Gambela to make Karuturi an offer he could not refuse (another 12,000 ha was leased to KGL at Bako, near Addis Ababa), swing across 2,400 km to this animated discussion in Nairobi, Kenya.. A Chicken And Egg Situation.. April 2012: John M.. N.. Mututho is livid.. “Mr Minister, this time you better take this seriously,” he says.. Tension hangs in the air in the 9th floor boardroom overlooking the Kenyan Parliament in Nairobi.. It is from there that Mututho draws his powers to admonish the farm minister.. He is the chairman of the Parliament-appointed Agriculture, Livestock and Cooperatives Committee.. Mututho monitors the agriculture ministry’s budget proposal for self-sufficiency in foodgrain.. “Honourable minister, we feel really heavy at heart.. We really don’t like it,” says Mututho, on the ministry’s inability to achieve food security.. The discussion that follows could well have been a Cabinet discourse in the Nehruvian-era when India was food-scarce.. But this is the state of granaries in many African nations.. In 2011, Africa imported food worth $50 billion, most of which came as aid from the US and Europe.. “We have a very nasty situation.. We import everything except air,” Mututho tells BW just after the panel meeting.. For the first time, Kenya is inviting foreigners for large-scale corporate farming.. Land will be free of lease for 25 years.. Kenya is facilitating deals by consolidating 131 agriculture laws into just four.. There will be no restriction on exports either (but local prices are higher than international prices; farmers will find it lucrative to sell domestically).. Kenya joins Tanzania, Mozambique, Senegal and Sierra Leone, in offering vast tracts to feed their growing populations.. NGOs, human rights groups and activists call it corporate colonialism and land grab, and are mounting pressure to desist.. “There is opposition from west Africa.. that we not give foreigners any more land.. For Kenya, that does not stand,” says Mututho.. But it all began in Ethiopia which was a symbol of starvation in the 1980s.. The $32-billion Ethiopian economy — about half the size of Reliance Industries — has the fastest-growing African GDP at 10 per cent.. Around 75 million of its 120 million ha is arable.. But only 15 million ha is cultivated.. In 2003, Ethiopia set aside 3 million ha for commercial farming.. Of that, 1 million ha has been leased, inviting the wrath of activists protesting natives’ displacement.. “No debate has taken place.. In a country where you have 13 million people dependent on food aid, (if) you unleash this development model where human development and consensus is being ignored, the fallout is huge,” says Anuradha Mittal, executive director of California-based policy research body, Oakland Institute.. “They are trying to take potshots at non-European, non-American investors.. It is almost racist,” counters Karuturi.. Acres Up To The Horizon.. The elevated but non-asphalt road stretches 72 km from one end of the KGL farm to the other.. It’s the highway to South Sudan, 100 km away.. A white flag-waving party of 20 Sudanese refugees passes by.. Acres of cultivable land meet the horizon as big bulldozers, earth movers and dumpers work round the clock to clear shrubs, anthills and trees; 65,000 ha have been cleared.. The rest will be done by March, promises Karuturi during one of the gut-churning rides.. The Gambela project has enormous implications for him.. Success here could open the floodgates for similar deals in other African countries.. Failure could consign him to obscurity, besides attracting the ire of investors and financial institutions.. As the sowing season approaches, visits to each of the sites are mandatory, followed by marathon problem-solving sessions at the main camp in Ilea that start post-dusk and go on till midnight, over loads of tea, soft drinks and beer.. Planning takes up most of the time.. The last time he had a crop in the fields, Karuturi grossly underestimated nature’s influence on his farm that lies between the Baro and Alwero rivers.. Floods consumed 60,000 tonne of maize sown on 12,000 ha.. It was a $15 million write-off.. “We were caught napping.. Later, when I spoke to villagers, they showed me (water) marking on trees.. It is so simple.. It was there.. I felt like an idiot,” says Karuturi.. When he told the flood woes to rose buyers in the Netherlands, they had a ready answer: build dykes.. The Dutch have mastered of it.. Nearly 25 per cent of the Netherlands is below the sea level and 21 per cent of the population lives below sea level.. Another 50 per cent land is barely 1 metre above the sea.. WHAT WORKS FOR HIM.. The world's largest exporter of cut roses, generates 40 per cent gross margin from rose business.. The Gambela farm between two rivers, Baro and Alwero, has high (6 per cent) organic matter in soil.. 65,000 ha of 1,00,000 ha have already been cleared for farming, rest by the end of 2013.. Stable government in Ethiopia (ruling since 1991) ensures support to projects awarded by current regime.. WHAT DOES NOT.. No experience in largescale farming.. Lost a maize crop due to poor anticipation of the power of nature.. Gambela farm needs $380 million of investment for two crops a year; Karuturi has invested only $128 million till date.. Still learning to use modern farming equipment; training workers on new equipment.. Farm is still to be secured from wildlife from the Gambela National Park,especially deer.. WHERE THE  ...   Gobo manages 300,000 ha.. With most of its land devoted to wheat, Ivolga has emerged as one of the biggest wheat-producing firms in the world.. El Tejar, on the other hand, is the world’s biggest grain producer, but it also raises cattle for meat production.. Los Gobo grows soybeans, corn, wheat and sugar in Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.. Increasingly, large agri companies are listing on stock exchanges.. Argentina’s Adecoagro, Los Gobo came out with an IPO in Brazil in 2011.. Now, El Tejar has declared it will tap the stock market in 2012.. “There were two setbacks: an entire crop got washed out; expansion has suffered since Axis Bank did not disburse $180 million.. the company could not meet a condition that the National Bank of Ethiopia should approve repatriation of funds,” adds Narendra Dokania, senior analyst at ICRA.. “It was a syndication.. It lapsed.. We didn’t seek re-approval,” says Karuturi.. Axis Bank declined comment.. “The major challenge is towards fund-raising,” says Inamdar.. Developing 100,000 ha needs an investment of $380 million over three years.. KGL has invested $128 million.. Where will the rest come from? “It will be debt, over three years.. We have got financial closure for $50 million from the Indian Overseas Bank,” says Karuturi.. Water And Dykes.. The rains are due in June and Karuturi knows his future is at stake.. Going by the Dutch advice, KGL has been building 78.. 9 km of 15-metre-high, 15-metre-wide dykes along the farm.. But heavy machine operators are in short supply.. Karuturi shouts at his cook in his native tongue.. “I was telling him I have brought you here at three times your salary.. Why can’t you double up as an operator?” he explains.. Machine operators building the dyke spotted a pride of lions the previous evening.. Perhaps, they had strayed from the Gambela National Park, looking for water on the dry bed of Alwero.. Karuturi is at the spot at 8.. 30 am.. Not for the lions, but because of the dry bed.. He rubs his eyes in disbelief.. “I can’t believe this is dry,” he says.. “I have asked my people to build a dyke and divert the Alwero outside of our land,” he says.. But what happens when rain water drains from higher areas (423 metre above sea level) to lower areas? It will destroy the crop.. The project’s vice-president gets the flak over the phone for not anticipating this.. Karuturi sits on a plough and begins calculating the pumping capacity to ease water over dykes.. The calculation goes all wrong, causing him anxiety.. “Who can build this level of capacity? This kind of water goes through Sardar Sarovar,” he mutters.. To his amusement, he finds he had over-calculated.. A gasp and a sigh later, he shoots off instructions with details of locations.. The pumps must be installed by the time he is back the next fortnight.. In the main camp, it’s problem-solving time, just seven days short of sowing time, the first crop of the season.. Also the first since floods.. Anxiety is high.. Chief representative of Farmers’ National Corporation, the US firm contracted to farm, is upfront: “My big worries: Floods, deer, weeds and bugs.. ” KGL has imported chemicals to tackle weeds and bugs.. Dykes should save the crop from floods.. But deer? There are thousands of them.. Protests from environmentalists forced the government to create a 10,000 ha deer corridor dissecting the farm for a million-strong migration of white-eared kob from Gambela National Park to Baro.. A 30-km solar electric fence is being imported to keep the deer out.. Will It, Won’t It?.. It’s uncertain whether KGL will get the remaining 200,000 ha from Ethiopia.. According to the Land Rent Contractual Agreement signed between KGL’s 100 per cent arm Karuturi Agro Products and Ethiopia’s agriculture ministry on 5 November 2010, KGL was handed over 100,000 ha with the promise of the rest on completion of farming on the first parcel within two years.. But pressure mounted from anti-land grab activists and the West.. So Ethiopia has set up Agricultural Investment Support Directorate to monitor land allotment.. Its chief Essayas Kebede has said land allotment to KGL will be capped at 100,000 ha.. Any cap on land, however, will be a setback for KGL’s ambition.. “We are lobbying the international community to see if we can stop the land grab by KGL, Ruchi Soya and others,” says Nyikaw Ochalla of Anywaa Survival Organisation, which represents the 100,000-strong Anywaa tribe of Gambela.. In a letter to Karuturi (November 2011), Human Rights Watch highlighted “Villagisation and Rights Abuses in the Gambela region”.. It asked: “There is evidence that Anuaks used and occupied land that is part of KGL’s lease area.. What process has KGL undertaken to ensure appropriate compensation, as per Ethiopian law and international best practices?”.. Karuturi responded: “Anuaks use and occupy land within KGL’s lease area without any disturbance.. KGL has made no effort to disturb them.. ” But with rising pressure, is he confident of getting the remaining land? “Absolutely.. There is no way this country will go back on the contract,” he says.. “If there is a macro element because of politics and social pressure, we are fine.. We have not invested on 200,000 ha.. He pauses.. “Honestly, I don’t care.. I have got Tanzania.. They want to give me a million ha.. Mozambique, they have a 100,000 ha.. DRC has so much of land.. ” “There are social issues, but Ethiopia is supportive,” says ICRA’s Dokania.. “Agriculture is a big focus for Ethiopia and so is manufacturing,” says Mayur Kothari, convenor, India Business Forum in Ethiopia.. Opponents, though, do not relent.. “You can say, well, it’s the Ethiopian government’s fault, but you have to look at the role of the investor too,” says Mittal.. “Oakland Institute! I don’t even know who they are.. We have invited them over.. Come and have a look.. What are you guys talking about? They quote us but they still besmirch us.. What can we do?” Karuturi asks.. A lot will depend on how deftly KGL tackles Human Rights Watch, Anywaa and Oakland, among others.. Karuturi says there are five villages with 1200-odd people on his farm.. “I have not displaced anybody.. These are pastoralists.. We leave 5 km around the village for them to graze cattle,” he says.. “This is a myth.. In Gambela, land belongs to the indigenous people,” says Ochalla.. Even before he gets over that hurdle, Karuturi has a lot to prove.. “All of them are going to make a loss.. There is no infrastructure there.. How will you sell?” asks Ajay Jakhar, chairman of the Bharat Krishak Samaj.. Karuturi plans to use river navigation via Baro to access markets up to 2,000 km away.. KGL has commissioned 500-tonne barges to be pulled by tugboats.. “We can go up to North Sudan upstream.. Down the Nile, we can go up to lake Victoria, 2,000 km away.. Lake Victoria has Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda along its shores,” says Karuturi.. As the government does not subsidise food or farming in Africa, local prices are higher.. Wheat and maize quote at about $250 per tonne on the Chicago Board of Trade.. But in Africa, they are sold at about $400 per tonne.. But what could trip the world’s largest farmer dream? Fund-raising and ability to bring in agripreneurs will be key.. Karuturi is still $200 million short on funding Phase 1 of the 300,000 ha.. Besides, “there are political risks in Ethiopia and Kenya,” says Inamdar.. Ethiopia is stable today, thanks to its autocratic Prime Minister Meles Zenawi Asres.. If the 57-year-old PM loses his hold, his detractors may attack projects he has okayed.. Karuturi may seem prepared, but he knows he is in a zero-tolerance zone.. After all, he wouldn’t want to live his late father’s worst fears.. “I promised myself that never again will we be caught napping,” says Karuturi.. That’s as far as predictions go.. But in a project of this scale, who can account for the unpredictable?.. (This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 11-06-2012)..

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  • Title: The Ethiopian Land Giveaway – OpEd | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: The Ethiopian Land Giveaway – OpEd.. May 30, 2012.. Eurasia Review.. By Graham Peebles.. What’s Yours Is Mine What’s Mine’s My Own.. It is a colonial phenomenon, appropriate land for the needs of the colonists and to hell with those living upon the land, indigenous and at home.. Might is right, military or indeed economic.. The power of the dollar rules supreme in a world built upon the acquisition of the material, the perpetuation of desire and the entrapment of the human spirit.. Africa has for long been the object of western domination, control and usury, under the British, French, and Portuguese of old.. Now the ‘new rulers of the World’ large corporations from America, China, Japan, Middle Eastern States, India and Europe, are engaged in extensive land acquisitions in developing countries.. The vast majority of available land is in Sub-Saharan Africa where, according to The United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues report, ‘The Growing demand for Land, Risks and Opportunities for Smallholder Farmers’ “80 per cent (of worldwide land) –about 2 billion hectares that is potentially available for expanded rain-fed crop production” is thought to be.. Huge industrial agricultural centres are being created, off shore farms, producing crops for the investors home market.. Indigenous people, subsistence farmers and pastoralists are forced off the land, the natural environment is levelled, purging the land of wildlife and destroying small rural communities, that have lived, worked and cared for the land for centuries.. The numbers of people potentially affected by the land grab and its impact on the environment is staggering.. The UN in it’s report states “By 2020, an estimated 135 million people may be driven from their land as a result of soil degradation, with 60 million in sub-Saharan Africa alone.. This contemporary ‘Land Grab’ has come about as a result of food shortages, the financial meltdown in 2008 and in light of the United Nations world population forecast of 9.. 2 billion people by 2050, and three main resulting pressures.. 1.. Food insecure nations – particularly Middle Eastern and Asian countries, seeking to stabilise their food supply.. 2.. To meet the growing worldwide demand for agro-fuels and thirdly, by the rise in investment in land and soft commodities, such as coffee, cocoa, sugar, corn, wheat, soya and fruit.. Often investors are simply speculators seeking to make a fast or indeed slow buck, by ‘Land Banking’, sitting on the asset waiting and watching for the price to inflate, then selling, the Oakland Institute in its report ‘The Great land Grab’ found “along with hedge funds and speculators, some public universities and pension funds are among those in on the land rush, eyeing returns of 20 to as much as 40%”.. Land not as home, land as a chip, to be thrown upon the international gambling table of commercialisation.. Chopping Trees Cutting Costs.. As well we know everything and indeed everyone ‘has its price’.. Even the people and land of a country, sold into destitution by governments motivated by distorted notions of development, where people, traditional lifestyles and the environment come a distant second to roads, industrialisation and the raping of the land.. People too poor to hold on to their dignity, too weak in a world built and run on power and might, to protest and demand justice for themselves and their families and rounded, responsible husbandry for the environment.. And the price of land, well as one would expect bargain basement, with 99 year leases the norm and various government incentive packages.. In some cases the land is literally being given away, as the Oakland Institute (OI) states in its report, “In Mali one investment group was able to secure 1000,000 hectares (ha) of fertile land for a 50 year term for free.. Elsewhere “$2.. 00 a hectare (roughly equal to two Olympic size athletic grounds) is the going rate.. ” According to The Guardian (21/3/2011) “The lowest prices are in Africa, where, says the World Bank, at least 35 million hectares of land has been bought or leased.. Other groups, including, Friends of the Earth say the figure is higher.. Ethiopia.. For Sale.. The Ethiopian government, through the Agricultural Investment Support Directorate is at the forefront of this African Land Sale.. Crops familiar to the area are often grown, such as maize, sesame, sorghum, in addition to wheat and rice.. All let us state clearly, for export to Saudi Arabia, India, China etc, to be sold within the home market, benefitting the people of Ethiopia not.. The Oakland Institute research “shows that at least 3,619,509ha of land (an area just smaller than Belgium) have been transferred to investors, although the actual number may be higher.. ” The government claims that the land available for lease is unused and surplus, this is disingenuous nonsense.. Large areas of land are in fact already cultivated by smallholders subsistence farmers and pastoralists using land for grazing, all of which are un-ceremonially evicted.. Villages are destroyed and indigenous people expelled from their homeland and forced into large scale villagization programmes.. Human Rights Watch (HRW) in its report ‘Waiting Here For Death’ states, “The Ethiopian federal government’s current villagization program is occurring in four regions—Gambella, Benishangul-Gumuz, Somali, and Afar.. This involves the resettlement of approximately 1.. 5 million people throughout the lowland areas of the country—500,000 in Somali region, 500,000 in Afar region, 225,000 in Benishangul-Gumuz and 225,000 in Gambella.. ” Imposed movement then, often applied with force, in order to provide pristine land, free of any inconveniences to the corporate allies.. Level Growing Field.. There are five areas of  ...   of, and close to the people in need, and see them flourish.. Land Rights, Human Cost, Environmental Damage.. The land rights of the indigenous people of Ethiopia are, as one would expect somewhat ambiguous.. As a legacy of the socialist dictatorship of the 1960s and ‘70s, the government technically owns all land.. However there is protection in law for indigenous people.. The Ethiopian constitution Article 40, 3 states “Land is a common property of the Nations, Nationalities and Peoples of Ethiopia and shall not be subject to sale or to other means of exchange.. And 4) “Ethiopian peasants have right to obtain land without payment and the protection against eviction from their possession.. ” And in regard to pastoralists affected by the land sell off, paragraph 5) “Ethiopian pastoralists have the right to free land for grazing and cultivation as well as the right not to be displaced from their own lands.. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which Ethiopia signed in 2007, making it a legally binding document, states in Article 26/1.. “Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources, which they have traditionally owned, occupied or other- wise used or acquired.. ” And paragraph 2.. ”Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by reason of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.. ” The declaration also outlines compensation measures for landowners.. Article 28/1.. “Indigenous peoples have the right to redress, by means that can include restitution or, when this is not possible, just, fair and equitable compensation, for the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned or otherwise occupied or used, and which have been confiscated, taken, occupied, used or damaged without their free, prior and informed consent.. ” Paragraph 2.. “Unless otherwise freely agreed upon by the peoples concerned, compensation shall take the form of lands, territories and resources 10equal in quality, size and legal status or of monetary compensation or other appropriate redress.. The law it would appear is clear, implementation and respect for its content is required, and should be demanded of the ruling EPRDF by the donor countries to Ethiopia.. Land And People.. People are not being consulted or democratically included in the decisions to transform their homeland.. This contravenes the Ethiopian constitution, that states in Article 92/3.. “People have the right to full consultation and to the expression of views in the planning and implementations of environmental policies and projects that affect them directly”.. Hollow words to those being evicted from their land, like Omot Ochan a villager, from the Anuak tribe whose family has lived in the forest near the Baro river in Gambella for ten generations.. Speaking to The Observer Sunday 20 May 2012, he “insisted Saudi Star had no right to be in his forest.. The company had not even told the villagers that it was going to dig a canal across their land.. “Nobody came to tell us what was happening.. ” He goes on to say “This land belonged to our father.. All round here is ours.. For two days’ walk.. ” Well that was the case until the Government in their infallible wisdom leased some 10,000ha to their friend, the Ethiopian born Saudi Arabian oil multi millionaire, Sheik Al Moudi (In 2011, Fortune magazine put his wealth at more than $12bn) to grow rice for his Saudi Star Company.. Omot continued, “two years ago, the company began chopping down the forest and the bees went away.. The bees need thick forest.. We used to sell honey.. We used to hunt with dogs too.. But after the farm came, the animals here disappeared.. Now we only have fish to sell.. ” And with the company draining the wetlands, the fish will probably be gone soon, too.. Sheik Al Moudi plans to export over a million tonnes of rice a year to Saudi Arabia.. To ease relations with the Meles regime and as The Observer states “to smooth the wheels of commerce, Amoudi has recruited one of Zenawi’s former ministers, Haile Assegdie, as chief executive of Saudi Star.. Traditional land rights for people who have lived on the land in Gamabella and elsewhere for centuries are being ignored and in a country where all manner of human rights are routinely violated, legally binding compensations are not being paid.. Government drafted lease agreements with investors state the Meles regime will hand over the land free of any ‘encumbrances’ – people and property that means, anyone living or using the land to graze their livestock or pastoralists moving through.. The Independent 18th January 2012 reports “Ethiopia is forcing tens of thousands of people off their land so it can lease it to foreign investors, leaving former landowners destitute and in some cases starving.. ” The Government says any movement is voluntary and not enforced, a clear distortion of the facts.. HRW in their report confirms the government’s criminality “mass displacement to make way for commercial agriculture in the absence of a proper legal process contravenes Ethiopia’s constitution and violates the rights of indigenous peoples under international law.. A price worth paying it would seem, to the Ethiopian government and those multi nationals appropriating the land, seeing a market and capitalizing on the countries need for dollars.. Desperate in a world propelled by growth to maximize the value of every so called asset, even if it means prostituting the land, sacrificing the native people and destroying the natural environment..

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  • Title: Saudi Star Offers Jobs to Overcome Criticism of Ethiopia Project | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Saudi Star Offers Jobs to Overcome Criticism of Ethiopia Project.. Business Week.. Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc, owned by Saudi billionaire Mohamed al-Amoudi, said it plans to overcome local opposition to its Ethiopian rice project by offering jobs and training, a month after five people working on it were shot dead.. Criticism by residents may subside when the 10,000-hectare (24,711-acre) plot is developed and 5,000 jobs are created on the farm in the southwestern Gambella region in about two years, Saudi Star Chief Executive Officer Fikru Desalegn said in an interview yesterday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital.. Ethiopia is leasing 4 million hectares of land to foreign investors in regions including Gambella as part of a commercial- farming drive.. Advocacy groups such as the U.. -based Oakland Institute have said the program has resulted in rights violations and forced the relocation of more than a million people.. The government says resettlement has been voluntary and unrelated to the investment program.. Providing employment for residents of the Gambella will “definitely teach the public it is very useful for them,” Fikru said.. Other benefits for the 13,000 residents of the area will include investment in infrastructure such as roads and vocational education by the company, he said.. Two Pakistanis and three Ethiopians employed by Ghulam Rasool Co.. , a closely held Pakistani engineering company, died last month after being shot by unidentified gunmen while building an irrigation canal for the project..  ...   leased in 2008 from the government for 138 Ethiopian birr ($7.. 78) a hectare annually, Fikru said.. Rice is now being grown on 350 hectares and the company expects to cultivate the whole area by mid-2014, he said.. Saudi Star’s lease may yield 4.. 5 metric tons of rice a hectare and produce two harvests a year, said Fikru, formerly a minister in Ethiopia’s federal government.. As much as 45 percent will be exported, mainly to Saudi Arabia, he said.. Land Earmarked.. About half of the land in Gambella has been earmarked for investment, while nationwide, about a 10th of the total 4 million hectares set aside by the state has been leased, according to the government.. Saudi Star, part of Ethiopia’s Derba Group, plans to lease another 290,000 hectares in the Dima area of southern Gambella, Fikru said.. The projects may annually generate 17.. 3 billion birr, Derba said in February.. The Oakland Institute says that as many as 70,000 indigenous Anuak and Nuer people have been evicted for investors in Gambella and that the farms will increase local hunger.. “There was nobody in the 10,000 hectares,” Fikru said.. “We have not paid any compensation.. A May 2011 environmental and social impact assessment of the project by the National Engineering Services Pakistan and Lahore-based Country Services Mapping Service Ltd.. shown to Bloomberg by Fikru said there were “no resettlement issues” and that the project would improve local livelihoods..

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  • Title: Poor Peasants Fight a Multinational Giant | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Poor Peasants Fight a Multinational Giant.. May 24, 2012.. Deccan Herald.. Frederic Mousseau.. Transparency, documentation, and proper consultation are essential for local people.. The Bunong tribe of Cambodia, the Bagyeli people of Cameroon, and the villagers of Malen Chiefdom in Sierra Leone share a common struggle.. They are all challenging industrial plantations of oil palms and rubber by the subsidiaries of Socfin (Societe Financiere des Caoutchoucs), a company whose main shareholder is the Bollore Group, owned by the French businessman Vincent Bollore.. Since 2008, resistance has been growing in each of these communities to the loss of.. farmland, the questionable conditions under which the land concessions are awarded, and the environmental impact of the activities carried out by the various subsidiaries of the group.. This is a struggle of David vs Goliath: poor disfranchised communities vs the giant Bolloré Group, which is present in 92 countries (including 43 in Africa) and controls not only plantations but also key strategic sectors including petroleum, transportation, logistics, and 13 African ports.. Growing opposition.. An April 2012 report from the Oakland Institute provided a worrisome overview of the growing opposition to Socfin plantations in several countries.. The report also shared the details of opposition to the deal the company signed in March 2011 - Socfin Sierra Leone (Socfin SL) - which will establish oil palm plantations on 6,500 hectares in southern Sierra Leone, with a planned extension of an additional 5,000 hectares.. The project enjoys high-level government support but on the ground faces tough resistance from the local population.. In October 2011, 40 demonstrators were arrested following an attempted blockade of the plantation.. They were protesting the lack of transparency, inadequate consultation with local people, and the lack of information on resettlement plans.. They also complained of appalling work conditions and low pay in the plantation, corruption of  ...   in the face of well-recognised studies, which show unambiguously that the path to sustainable development must go through agricultural diversification and the use of ecological and biological methods of fertilisation and production.. To justify its low wages for plantation workers (250,000 leones or 50 dollars per month, 6 days a week, 8 hours a day), which the villagers complain about, Socfin offers a convenient rationale: it does not want “to create an imbalance on the macro-scale of the country.. ” Basically the company will not increase salaries because salaries are low in the country, which is obviously one of the main elements that make investments in Sierra Leone attractive and highly profitable for such investors.. In its response Socfin also emphasised the 75,000-dollar social development fund it has offered to the local people.. This amount might seem significant given the dire level of poverty in the country.. However, with its 158,800 hectares of plantations in Asia and Africa, the Bolloré Group recorded a 250-million-dollar profit in 2011, an increase of 163 million dollars (187 per cent) since 2009.. These figures represent an average annual profit of 1,500 dollars per hectare of plantation, or 10 million per year for a plantation of 6,500 hectares.. In comparison, 75,000 dollars is a pittance.. While Socfin’s response attempts to divert attention from issues at hand, its land deal in Sierra Leone must be urgently reviewed and the trial against the people from Sanh village in Pujehun dropped.. Transparency, adequate documentation, and proper consultation are essential for local people to have a say in the future of the land and natural resources on which their livelihoods depend.. People need certain basic information, whether to negotiate the conditions and terms of an agreement or to be able to reject it.. This is what free, prior, and informed consent looks like..

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  • Title: Activists to Obama: Reassess Ethiopia Partnership | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Activists to Obama: Reassess Ethiopia Partnership.. May 18, 2012.. CBS News.. ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Rights groups are asking President Barack Obama to reassess the U.. -Ethiopia relationship over allegations the leader of the East African nation is becoming increasingly repressive.. The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia and the Oakland Institute asked Obama in a  ...   weekend talks with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.. Meles is one of four African leaders invited to discuss food security at Camp David.. The longtime leader has been accused of restricting freedoms and the press.. The Committee to Protect Journalists said Wednesday it was concerned that Ethiopia had brought terrorism and anti-state charges against 11 independent journalists..

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  • Title: Sierra Leone Up for Grabs | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Sierra Leone Up for Grabs.. Guatemala Times.. By Heath Mitchell.. Last October, 100 farmers gathered to protest against the Sierra Leone branch of the multinational corporate agribusiness giant, Socfin.. The farmers were furious over the company's lack of transparency, its refusal to consult with local communities, its miserly compensation for dispossessed farmers, and its brazen pressuring of local leaders.. The farmers formed a blockade on the road to a company plantation and were eventually removed by the police.. David Sesay, assistant inspector general for the southern region of Sierra Leone, claimed that the demonstrators were "continually rioting, blocking the road, and impeding people from going to work.. " Police initially detained 38 people, according to one eyewitness account, and seized more people from their homes later that night.. Locals claimed that these arrests were entirely arbitrary.. Most of these men — but not all — were released the next day.. After going unfed in the capital city jail for eight days, the remaining 15 farmers were released and received with new levels of celebrity among the populace and infamy among government and business circles.. Since the release of “the 15” from jail in Pujehun last October, hundreds of Sierra Leoneans have flooded the courtroom for their hearings.. The Dispossession Industry.. Sierra Leone is but one flashpoint for an increasingly aggressive land-grab industry.. Socfin SL is a subsidiary of a larger multinational agribusiness investor called Groupe Socfin.. This multinational corporation has been accused of engaging in land grabs in countries all over the world through a complicated network of holding companies.. The group manages 150,000 hectares of land worldwide, including over 51,000 hectares of palm plantations in Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon.. The Bolloré Group, one of the top 500 companies in the world, holds nearly 39 percent of Socfin's shares.. The group's CEO and namesake, Vincent Bolloré, is France's 18.. th.. -wealthiest man.. With a net worth of $16 billion, Bolloré's access to power and influence makes him nearly untouchable; Nicolas Sarkozy even dubbed him an "honor to the French economy" and vacationed on the billionaire's yacht.. Between 2009 and 2011, the group's profits grew by 187 percent, with a major assist from its plantations in Asia and Africa.. Notably, Bolloré is also heavily involved in Africa's shipping industry, ensuring that the group has control over the entire production process and can maximize its returns at every step.. The results are stunning.. A.. 2012 report.. by the International Land Coalition estimates that international conglomerates like Bolloré and Monsanto gobbled up more than 200 million hectares of land for large-scale monocrop production between 2000 and 2010, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.. In the case of Sierra Leone, investors had already bought up 17 percent of the country's arable land by early 2011.. Last year, Socfin signed a contract to rent 6,500 hectares of land in the Malen chiefdom in southern Sierra Leone, intending to produce rubber and palm oil for global markets.. According to one.. investigative report.. , "The land leased by Socfin [belongs to] between 27 and 30 villages and about 120 land-owning families.. " In addition to exporting diamonds, many of the approximately 280,000 people living in the region are involved in agriculture, producing mostly cassava, coffee, and cacao.. This year, Socfin will be  ...   One prominent local chief, B.. V.. S Kebbie, is said to have repeatedly told communities that they would lose their land without compensation if they did not sign.. Kebbie was purportedly bribed with "a new vehicle.. ".. Indeed, hinting at the prevalence of widespread corruption, the contract seems to promise few returns for the government of Sierra Leone itself.. Socfin will pay no corporate taxes for the next 10 years and a mere 25-percent rate for the subsequent 40 years at least.. Because farmers in the region never relied on land deeds or legal markings to demarcate their property prior to the Socfin land agreement, Socfin has given landowners neither receipts nor any other documentation to confirm the acreage rented or compensation given to local landowners.. "The long length of the lease,” concludes the Oakland Institute, “together with the lack of proper documentation and marking is likely to make the lease permanent.. Reports of appalling working conditions at Socfin sites are common across Africa and Asia.. Sierra Leone is no exception, with reports surfacing of “near-slavery conditions.. ” Laborers work six days a week and are given one daily half-hour lunch break.. One interviewee claimed that an entire day's wage would be withheld if a worker returned 10 minutes late from lunch.. Workers make less than $2.. 25 a day and are provided with no medical coverage, even for on-the-job injuries.. Finally, the agreement signed by Socfin and the government of Sierra Leone entails some deplorable environmental addendums.. The memorandum of understanding signed by the government affords Socfin unlimited water access, stating that “there will be no restriction on the volume of water extracted by SAC [Socfin] from rivers, other watercourses, wells and boreholes.. ” Socfin also secured a very low price for water use and didn’t bother to establish a method of measuring the amount it consumes.. Socfin has essentially absorbed vital resources for corporate exploitation with complete disregard for the local populations who have depended on these resources for generations.. Additionally, monocropping — the large-scale agribusiness model that is Socfin’s hallmark — can have drastic effects on the environment by upsetting the balance maintained in more varied ecosystems.. These radical transformations threaten native species of plants and animals.. Reclaiming the Process.. At the beginning of April, the local NGO Green Scenery partnered with the newly established Sierra Leone Network on the Right to Land to host over 100 land rights activists and farmers affected by these aggressive territorial purchases.. The conference recommended that the government review all recent contracts and territorial agreements.. The groups hoped that banding together would enable them to combat the powerful influence that multinational corporations like Socfin SL often have over small states like Sierra Leone.. The.. Guardian.. reported that the gathering also produced a new civil society watchdog group to monitor agribusiness investments.. The landowners and laborers are fighting to make their voices heard.. In the meantime, it appears that "the 15" will have to rely heavily on their local support and assistance from international human rights organizations like the Oakland Institute and Oxfam as they take on some of the world's most powerful agricultural tycoons.. The evidence is clearly in their favor, even if the politics are not.. http://www.. fpif.. , Copyrigth: Foreign Policy In Focus..

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  • Title: Activists to Obama: Reassess Ethiopia Partnership | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Fox News.. ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – Rights groups are asking President Barack Obama to re-evaluate the U.. The requests came just before Obama on Friday announced $3 billion in private-sector pledges to help feed Africa's poor.. The U.. is a major contributor of aid to Ethiopia.. The longtime leader has been accused of restricting freedoms and the media.. Some in Ethiopia see him as a dictator.. The Committee to Protect Journalists said in a Wednesday letter to the White House it was concerned that Ethiopia had charged 11 independent journalists under sweeping anti-terror laws.. "Since 2011, under the guise of a counterterrorism sweep, the government of Ethiopia has brought terrorism and anti-state charges against 11 independent journalists, including blogger Eskinder Nega, who may face life in prison for his writing about the struggle for democracy," CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon said in the letter.. "Such policies deter reporting on all sensitive topics, including food security.. CPJ called on Obama to "encourage Prime Minister Meles to end his repressive practices.. Meles was invited along with John Atta Mills of Ghana, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania and Yayi Boni of Benin to represent Africa at hunger  ...   to foreign investors.. "By continuing to provide huge amounts of aid to Ethiopia, the U.. is in partnership with a repressive regime that puts large-scale agricultural investment and for-profit access to Ethiopia's fertile lands over the well-being and land rights of indigenous and local people," the groups said in a joint letter.. A January report by Human Rights Watch accused Ethiopia's government of forcibly resettling about 70,000 people in the country's western Gambella region.. The Ethiopian government denied the allegation, saying people are being relocated to places where there is access to secure water points, health facilities, schools, and fertile farmland.. Under Meles, Ethiopians have enjoyed relative stability and steady economic growth.. But some critics say this growth has come at the expense of democracy and good governance.. has rarely criticized Meles, a key ally in the war on terror in the Horn of Africa.. Meles has long insisted economic growth can be accomplished without practicing Western-style democracy.. "There is no direct relationship between economic growth and democracy, historically or theoretically," he told the World Economic Forum in Ethiopia last week.. "I don't believe in bedtime stories, contrived arguments linking economic growth with democracy..

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  • Title: Activists to Obama: Reassess Ethiopia Partnership | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: ABC News.. By Kirubel Tadesse, Associated Press.. Rights groups are asking President Barack Obama to re-evaluate the U..

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  • Title: Activists to Obama: Reassess Ethiopia Partnership | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Salon.. ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia (AP) — Rights groups are asking President Barack Obama to reassess the U.. The Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia and the Oakland Institute asked Obama in a Thursday letter to “reassess the terms” of U..

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  • Title: U.S. Agriculture Companies Set Millions for Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: U.. Agriculture Companies Set Millions for Africa.. By Carey Gillam.. A group of U.. seed, chemical and equipment companies will invest at least $150 million over the next few years into African agricultural projects and products, the companies said on Friday.. The investments pledged by DuPont (.. DD.. ), Monsanto (.. MON.. ), Cargill CARG.. UL and others are part of an overall $3 billion effort by companies around the world announced by President Barack Obama.. Along with companies from India, Israel, Switzerland, Norway and the United Kingdom, and 20 companies from Africa, the corporations have committed some $3 billion for projects to help farmers in the developing world build local markets and improve productivity.. The United Nations has said that by 2030, the world will need at least 50 percent more food, 45 percent more energy and 30 percent more water.. Absent these resources, it said, up to 3 billion people would probably be condemned into poverty.. Capitalizing on food demand in Africa also holds strong profit potential, corporate leaders said.. "It has been a bit chaotic.. There are all sorts of issues around the countries in Africa.. But the population, the economic growth, the quality of many of the soils is there," DuPont Executive Vice President Jim Borel told Reuters in an interview.. "The need is there, the potential is there.. "We're convinced we can take the base we have now, and accelerate that progress," said Borel, who oversees DuPont's food and nutrition businesses.. Among DuPont's units is its Pioneer Hi-Bred International seed company, which has operated in Africa for decades.. India and.. China.. are more stable and growing faster, but Africa is "not far behind," according to Borel.. DuPont said it will spend more than $3 million over the next three years focused on  ...   of agro-dealers.. Cargill is investing in two projects in Mozambique focused on increasing grain yields for small farmers and on training and education in farm communities.. AGCO (.. AGCO.. ), a U.. -based farm equipment company, plans to invest $100 million over the next three years to improve farm operations in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya and other African countries.. Among the international players, Norway's Yara International (.. YAR.. OL.. ) is planning a $2 billion fertilizer production facility in Africa and is spending $20 million to build a port in Tanzania that will help expand its fertilizer delivery network throughout southern Africa.. The Swiss company Syngenta AG (.. SYNN.. VX.. ) said it would invest more than $500 million in Africa.. Over the next 10 years, Syngenta expects to build a $1 billion business in Africa.. The push by global corporations to spend more money and develop new markets across Africa comes as an expanding world population and growing demand for quality food threaten to exceed existing limits of agricultural production.. Investors have been buying up farmland in Africa, hoping to make it more productive using modern agricultural technologies.. That, combined with the rising interest of international agricultural corporations, has brought criticism.. Advocates for African farmers fear they will lose control over their food supply and markets.. They say African farmers are being displaced and unsustainable farm practices are being introduced.. "The problem is all this is based on large-scale commercial agriculture," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, a policy think tank.. "Who does it benefit? All of these things are supporting the formation of large-scale commercial agriculture, which will hurt small farmers.. They could spend far less but focus on providing credit facilities, ensuring open markets and ensuring the rights of small holder farmers..

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