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  • Title: Ethiopia to Charge More on Commercial Farm Leases | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Ethiopia to Charge More on Commercial Farm Leases.. April 5, 2012.. Source:.. Reuters.. View Original.. By Aaron Maasho.. ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia, which leases large tracts of land at cheap rates for commercial farming, plans to improve infrastructure and access to farmland and charge a premium to investors, an official said on Thursday.. The Horn of Africa country has allocated some 3.. 6 million hectares of land for firms seeking to invest in agriculture, often around remote and sparsely-populated regions in its west.. Indian-listed Karuturi Global, which is farming rice and palm cereals on its 10,000 hectares plot in the Gambella province, is among the 32 companies that have snapped up land.. Data on the Ministry of Agriculture website showed annual land rental rates for foreign firms ranging from $12.. 8 per hectare to just $1.. 15.. "We plan to build infrastructure by investing in roads, phone lines and electricity in these designated areas to add value," said Esayas Kebede, head of the Ministry of Agriculture's Agricultural Investment Agency.. "Companies often leased land for 20 to 40 years on certain prices per hectare, but the times will be reduced and the prices will increase upon completion (of infrastructure projects)," he told Reuters.. Around 400 companies submit applications for licenses each month, Esayas said, with a growing number of them from Europe.. "We have not issued a single license since November.. We will resume once  ...   massive give-away of land in one of the world's poorest nations, and in other countries across Africa including Sudan and Madagascar - has attracted intense scrutiny and criticism from rights groups.. The Oakland Institute, a U.. S.. -based research group, says land deals in Ethiopia lack transparency, adversely impact the environment, and have led to the forceful resettlement of thousands.. "A vast majority of people in the targeted regions do not want to relocate, but have been threatened by local police," said the group's Nickolas Johnson.. "There is a disturbing parallel between land being vacated and the land being sold to investors for large-scale commercial agriculture.. ".. Ethiopia says the relocations are part of plans to voluntarily resettle some 1.. 5 million people in its western regions to villages adjacent to roads and with better water facilities and more fertile land.. A recent Foreign Affairs Ministry statement accused the Oakland Institute of launching a "campaign to promote poverty".. "We have to understand the huge potential that will benefit locals with work and enable our entry to the international market," Esayas said.. "This programme has transformed the country from an aid destination to an investment destination.. 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: Study Reveals Potential of Farms in Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Study Reveals Potential of Farms in Africa.. Business Report.. Ayanda Mdluli.. Products that could be grown with ease in some parts of Africa were being imported at “staggering costs” that often ranged in the billions, a new study showed last week.. The report commissioned by Basileus Capital, a private, unlisted investment firm that has interests in agricultural business opportunities across the continent, claimed that Africa currently imported about 90 million tons of agricultural commodities valued at $53 billion (R405bn) a year.. Naledi Mongoato, an analyst at the firm who compiled the report’s disturbing findings, revealed that the largest imported commodity was wheat, “at a staggering cost of $8.. 5bn for a commodity that could be grown with ease in Africa”.. Mongoato’s research suggested that most foreign agricultural investments’ into Africa “focused their production for export markets with minimal plans for the African market”.. Northern Africa was the largest wheat trading region, as it imported about 60 percent of the commodity, which amounted to $5bn worth.. East and west Africa each account for 17 percent or $1.. 4bn, with southern and central Africa sharing the balance.. The research noted that the African populace could double by 2050 to approximately 2 billion people.. What this meant was that if Africa did not start producing most of its staple foods, a greater strain could be placed on the buying power of governments and traders for  ...   had impressive water resources of 500mm to 3 000mm of annual rainfall.. Also, wheat was grown entirely under rain-fed conditions in the country.. However, where the country experienced a shortfall in production, it would import about 826 300 tons of wheat.. “Wheat is the preferred food grain in towns, while the rural population lives mainly on other cereals.. As people move into the towns, consumption of wheat in the coming years is likely to grow faster than that of all other cereals.. ”.. In addition, the report alleged that global hedge funds were purchasing large plots of land or had acquired it on long-term leases.. These funds specifically targeted cheaper land in South America, Asia and Africa.. The Oakland Institute, a US-based research company, released a shocking report, after studying land deals in sub-Saharan African countries such as Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mali and Mozambique.. In 2009, speculators bought or leased 60 million hectares of land in these countries, an area the size of France.. The Oakland Institute concluded that most of these deals were characterised by a lack of transparency and, more often than not, were based on false promises made to local chiefs.. “The competition for arable land has intensified with speculators often driving up farm land.. Speculators are distorting the prices of prime agricultural land in Africa and increasing the cost of entering the commercial farming sector..

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  • Title: Print | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Print.. Editorial: Bring Financial Transparency to Vanderbilt.. Vanderbilt Hustler.. Land Grabs and the World Bank.. World Press.. Out of Africa.. Black Business Quarterly.. Africa, Act Or Lose Agric-Business To Land Grabbers.. Nigeria Exchange.. Students Organize Against University’s Investments in Africa.. Meet the New Farmers.. New Internationalist.. Agricultural Investment in Africa - Development or Land Grabbing?.. Deutche Welle.. Trois Milliards d’Habitants en Afrique d’ici 2 100, un Enjeu.. Pambazuka News.. Dispossession and Displacement Fears Voiced at South Sudan s Food-for-Export Farming Deals.. Financial Times.. Regulating the Rush for Land.. IPS.. University Accused of  ...   Grabbers in Africa.. ONE Campaign.. Vanderbilt Dealings in Africa Demand Transparency.. Vanderbilt Orbis.. Imminent Land Grab Threatens 162,000 People in Tanzania.. New Business Ethiopia.. The New East India Cos.. Outlook India.. Hedge Fund Couple Split Businesses After Separation.. Agriculture : l`Achat de Terres en Afrique, un Business sous Influences.. Jeune Afrique.. India, Once Colonised, Has Turned Into A Coloniser.. The Endowment and Africa: HMC Should Disavow Investments that Disenfranchise the World’s Poor.. Harvard Crimson.. Pages.. « first.. ‹ previous.. ….. 7.. 8.. 9.. 10.. 11.. 12.. 13.. 14.. 15.. next ›.. last »..

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  • Title: Grab the Land | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Grab the Land.. April 3, 2012.. Huffington Post.. It's a global trend, and not a good one.. It's called land grabbing, and it's happening on a massive scale -- especially in Africa.. For millions of indigenous villagers and pastoralists it means forced relocation, loss of livelihoods, and a death blow to their ancient cultures.. Ethiopia is a sad example of the worst of these outcomes.. "Right now, the Ethiopian government is forcing 200,000 indigenous.. Anuak people.. off their ancestral farmlands, grazing lands, and forests in the Gambella region," says Paula Palmer, director of the Ethiopia Campaign at.. Cultural Survival.. , a non-profit that defends the rights of indigenous people worldwide.. Once the indigenous people are herded off the fertile land, it's then leased for industrial agriculture.. As the bulldozers move in, habitats are destroyed, including, in Ethiopia's case, Gambella's last remaining forests and wetlands.. According to the Oakland Institute, Ethiopia has transferred 3,619,509 hectares of land.. And despite government claims that such forced taking of land for private investment brings in needed currency, there are "no mechanisms in place to ensure that these investments contribute to increased food security," states the Institute's report.. "Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa.. What happens to the indigenous people who are removed from their lands? They're hustled off to state-built "villages" with the promise of jobs, healthcare and education.. But investigators from.. Human Rights Watch.. found little evidence of such amenities.. Many of the new villages lack access to water and lands for farming, and Anuak parents don't know how they will manage to  ...   that the Anuak people -- already the victims of discrimination, arrest, torture and forced resettlement -- may once again be the targets of the military,.. as they were in 2003 when more than 400 Anuak men were killed.. Palmer says she has received on-the-ground reports of Ethiopian troops now converging in Gambella, raising fears that they may cross into South Sudan to target some 3,000 Anuak refugees who fled there after the 2003 massacre.. "There has been a spiraling number of incidents of violence against and arrests of Anuak by the military, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the 2003 massacre and the two or more years of human rights abuses that followed," says Obang Metho, executive director of the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia and an Anuak refugee living in Ottawa.. There is no sign of the country backing down.. Human Rights Watch, in its grimly titled report,.. "Waiting Here for Death,".. says the country has plans to forcibly move 1.. 5 million Indigenous minorities from their native lands by 2013.. "The land-grabbing and 'villagization' programs violate international human rights laws and arguably the Ethiopian constitution," says Suzanne Benally, executive director of Cultural Survival.. Ethiopia continues to haul in $3 billion a year of foreign relief aid.. It's time donor nations -- the United States, the United Kingdom, and countries of the European Union -- used their influence with Ethiopia to stop the land grabbing for the enrichment of private investors.. Concerned U.. citizens can send letters to the U.. State Department via.. Cultural Survival's website.. Make your voice heard..

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  • Title: How a Tycoon is Grabbing Land in Sierra Leone | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: How a Tycoon is Grabbing Land in Sierra Leone.. April 2, 2012.. In Depth News.. J C Suresh.. TORONTO (IDN) - A new report by the eminent.. Oakland Institute.. exposes a French tycoon's exploitative land grab practices in Sierra Leone.. It details a pattern of coercion, lack of consultation, and failure to fairly compensate Sierra Leonean landowners who have been pressured into ceding their land to the Socfin Land Investment corporate giant.. In 2011, the Socfin Agricultural Company Sierra Leone Ltd.. (.. Socfin SL.. ) secured 6,500 hectares (ha) of prime farmland for rubber and oil palm plantations in Malen chiefdom in Pujehun district in the south of Sierra Leone.. The company is now seeking an additional 5,000 ha in expansion plans in the Malen region or neighbouring chiefdoms.. The initial investment, estimated at US$100 million, with promises of job creation, compensation for lost farms, and construction of infrastructures, enjoyed high-level government support.. The 50-year lease was signed by the Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food Security, Dr.. Sam Sesay.. Despite this political backing, the Socfin SL investment has been facing significant resistance from the local population.. In early October 2011, on land they claim as their own, over a hundred landowners started a blockade in Socfin's area in Malen chiefdom.. The peaceful protest came about after several attempts by land owners to renegotiate the lease agreement signed by the government.. Affected communities voiced anger at not being properly consulted and cheated on the land deal that was facilitated by their Paramount Chief, B.. V.. Kebbie.. By mid-October 2011, 40 people in the chiefdom had been arrested and taken to prison.. Green Scenery – a non-governmental organization in Sierra Leone working towards a future where food is secured, human rights are respected, access to justice is guaranteed and biodiversity is protected – engaged a lawyer to ensure that the rights of land owners were respected.. After three days, 25 people were released but 15 were charged on counts of riotous conduct, conspiracy, and threatening language and were kept behind bars in Pujehun, the district’s capital.. While initially refused bail, the lawyer appealed to the High Court who ruled in favour of the accused and guaranteed bail.. "The police arrested and beat up a number of us.. about 38 at that time.. Later at night they came into the village, knocking at the door and taking people forcibly out of their houses.. Some people fled and had to run into the river.. The police supervisors arbitrarily pointed at  ...   businessman, Vincent Bolloré.. Bolloré's empire has grown dramatically over the past two decades.. By buying up former colonial companies and taking advantage of the wave of privatization spurred by the "structural adjustments" imposed by the International Monetary Fund (.. IMF.. ), Bolloré has become a key player in the economic structure and political life of many African countries.. The Bolloré Group is now present in 92 countries all over the world, including 43 countries in Africa alone.. It controls plantations, industries and services, including shipping, transport infrastructures, oil production as well as African ports (13 as of 2012).. Bolloré's grip over the continent is gaining new dimensions as it expands investments in plantations.. The Group's profits from plantations in Asia and Africa surged by 187% between 2009-2011.. "They are running roughshod over the rights of local landowners," said Frederic Mousseau, Oakland Institute's policy director and author of the report.. "Bolloré Group, ranked among the top 500 companies in the world, and its subsidiaries, have gained a reputation for descending powerfully on developing countries and setting up plantations for palm oil and rubber trees.. In Cambodia, Liberia, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone, the group has a reputation for leaving communities disfranchised as they acquire land cheaply through questionable processes and act with little regard for existing owners," he continued.. Bolloré-controlled plantations offer abysmal employment conditions.. In Cameroon, workers at SOCAPALM have referred to themselves as "SOCAPALM slaves.. " NGOs, human rights groups, and journalists have uncovered "insalubrious" living conditions and "miserable" wages.. In Cambodia, the World Rainforest Movement and the International Federation of Human Rights (.. FIDH.. ) have documented human rights abuses and details of coercive land acquisition practices that have led to protests by the ethnic minority Bunong, who have lost their historical land and their livelihoods without fair compensation.. "The release of this new brief is very timely," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.. It came in run-up to the first ever meeting of landowners and land-users from all over Sierra Leone in Freetown on April 2-3 "to discuss and strategize about how to respond to abuses and coercion such as those related to Socfin's operations.. "The landowners and community members in Sierra Leone are taking on a goliath.. Bolloré Group is known to effectively quell protests, as seen in their dealings in Cambodia and Cameroon," said Oakland Institute's Mousseau.. Bolloré has thus far been adept at shielding the general public from details of dissent due to media ownership and the threat of lawsuits..

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

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  • Title: Land Grabbing: All In the Name of Food Security? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Grabbing: All In the Name of Food Security?.. March 29, 2012.. Indian Fusion.. Gautam Prateek.. Some call it “new colonialism”, while some others call it “land grab” and “land rush”.. There are many who would not use such pejoratives and would restrict themselves to investments on land, agri-business, foreign direct investment etc.. Well, whatever we call it, the issue remains the same.. I am referring to the large scale land acquisitions, mainly in the countries of Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin.. America.. and South East Asia.. So, who all are.. investing.. in it? The Multinational companies are making investments on biofuels, extractive industries etc.. ; foreign governments looking for food supply assurance; commercial farmers and farmer associations – expanding into neighboring countries; domestic.. investors.. , sometimes in partnership with foreigners and.. financial institutions.. seeking to broaden their asset.. portfolio.. There are reports which suggest that even big shot universities like the Harvard, Spelman and Vanderbilt are also indirectly investing in these deals.. The story becomes even more interesting when one gets to know that Indians are also a party in these large scale land acquisitions and are not much behind the leading players.. It’s time for Africa!.. First things first, let us first discuss the figures taken from a report published by FAO (2004-2009) which give the scale of land acquisitions in 5 countries of Africa.. Country Total land allocated (in hectares) Number of projects approved (over 1000 hectares) Largest Land allocation Total investment commitments (US$).. Ethiopia 602,760 157 150,000 78,563,023.. Ghana 452,000 3 400,000 30,000,000.. Madagascar 803,414 6 452,500 79,829,524.. Mali 162,850 7 100,000 291,988,688.. Sudan 471,660 11 109,200 439,600,000.. 2,492,684 184 919,981,235.. The same report also mentions the scale of these land deals in terms of the figures expressing acquired/leased land as a percentage of the total arable land in the respective countries.. Madagascar tops the list with 2.. 29%, followed by Ghana (2.. 12%), Ethiopia (1.. 39%), Mali (.. 60%) and Sudan (.. 46%).. The time frame is also important as most of these land acquisitions have been reported between the year 2004 to 2009, although, some other reports suggest that this trend started early in the year 2000.. A recent World Bank report (2010) found that 45 million hectares of large scale farmland deals were announced in the two-year period between 2008 and 2009 and the majority (around two-third) of these took place in Sub-Saharan Africa.. Two more facts, worth noting, in these acquisitions are that most of these deals are based on lease agreements which run into 25 years, 50 fifty years and even more than 50 years in some cases.. And the private sector (including domestic and foreign) funding is to the tune of 90%.. Not Just Africa.. It is not just Africa, and if the reports are to be believed, the figures are mind boggling: Laos, Mali and Cambodia – greater than 1.. 5 million hectares, Brazil – 4.. 3 million hectares, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Russia greater than 3.. 5 million hectares.. Overall, it is estimated that around 50-80 million hectares of land in middle and.. low income.. countries has been acquired in the recent years.. The price they pay.. If one looks at the price at which some of these deals have been done, it would be a shock.. The Oakland report (2011) suggests that land is given for free (in the case of Mali) or very cheap by all standards.. In Sierra Leone official regulation requires investors to pay $5 per acre, or $12 per ha, per year.. Even this low price is being defied, as Sierra Leone Agriculture (SLA) pays only $2 per ha per year, while for Quifel Agribusiness (SL) Ltd.. payments.. start at $5 per ha per year.. In Gambella, Ethiopia, a deal was initially settled at just $1.. 25 per ha, but the rate was later raised to $ 6.. 75 per ha.. In comparison, rates for Brazil or Argentina are $5,000-6,000 per ha.. Purpose of these acquisitions.. The recent spike in the acquisitions has been partly attributed to the rise in commodity prices and the issue of food.. security.. , especially since 2008 food crisis.. Before that, it was majorly driven by the mad hunt for bio-fuels as a panacea for energy independence.. Most of the European countries have been in search of bio-fuels, not to mention the impact of this quest on the food crisis of 2008.. In case of Saudi Arabia and China, apart from food security, a major reason cited has been the scarcity of water.. In Saudi Arabia, the plan is to phase out wheat production by the year 2016, beginning from 2007.. This has been done to save the non-renewable fossil water in the country.. Speculation,.. Hedge funds.. , carbon finance: recipe for disaster?.. A very disturbing finding has come to light recently regarding the involvement of speculation in this whole picture.. Oakland report shows a major role of western firms, wealthy US and European individuals, and investment funds with  ...   in such big farms point towards disturbing realities.. In Democratic Republic of Congo, it was found that an out-grower based sugar cane plantation was expected to generate 0.. 351 jobs/ha and a 10,000 ha maize plantation less than 0.. 01 jobs/ha.. In Ethiopia, the average was even worse at 0.. 005 jobs/ha.. Similarly, a large project in Madagascar was going to create just 0.. 006 jobs/ha, as against per hectare supporting approximately 1.. 25 farm households before the project came into existence.. A very interesting illustration of the effect of such land deals and job creation is given in the following observations made in the Oakland report.. “The average farm size in Mali is just 4.. 7 ha and one third of the 805,000 farm households cultivate less than 1 hectare.. The area covered by recent large land deals they cover could easily sustain 112,537 farm families, well over half a million people (686,478).. Instead, that land is now concentrated in the hands of 22 investors, and will create at best a few thousand jobs.. About Labor issues, the observations of Ethiopian review (many other similar media reports) on the cruel treatment of African laborers, employment of children and payment of extremely low wages (as low as 70 cents per day) at the hands of Indian supervisors are well known.. Nature of Contracts.. A quick look at the contracts, as mentioned in Rick’s report, that have been reportedly signed by the Indian companies makes things amply clear as to their obligations to the local people who have been affected by the deals.. In the majority of the 21 projects analyzed, the following two points are common.. First is, Exemptions from taxes on imports of capital goods and from paying taxes on repatriated profits.. And the second, Company has the “right” to provide power health clinics, schools, etc.. There is no need to explain what the first clause would mean to the local economy, people and the government.. The second clause makes a mockery of any so called obligation.. It claims that the company has a right to build schools, health clinics etc.. I think the lexicon of these so called agro-preneurs is devoid of anything called as obligation.. Environmental concern: mono cropping, water exploitation.. Similarly, conspicuous by its absence is the word “obligation” with regards to the environmental concerns of the project.. It is a well known fact that these big land deals would be involved in large scale intensive agriculture production.. Such practices definitely threaten the bio-diversity, carbon stocks, and the availability of land and water resources.. At this juncture, it would be apt to mention the fact that most of these land deals have been defended by the local governments as being done on wasteland, marginal land or un-used land.. But, if the land is already marginal, more cultivation may lead to further degradation.. Moreover, irrigating these large plantations may divert water from local users or from environmental flows.. One of the most significant concerns about the trend of Indian overseas agricultural investors relates to the environmental impacts of establishing increasing numbers of large-scale, mechanized mono-cropping farms that are dependent on high levels of water usage, involve heavy doses of pesticides and herbicides that can pollute nearby groundwater, and which can rapidly deplete soil quality.. The reports on various aspects of the land deals, in general as well as in context of India, like technology spillovers to domestic farmers, consultation with the indigenous population, resettlement and rehabilitation package etc, paint a not-so-good picture.. The media in Africa has started coming up with reports on the negative repercussions of such land deals.. The worst part is that even Indian companies are not following an ethical business policy in a continent already marred by disease, poverty, corruption and what not.. Recently, in an open letter, Mr.. Obang Metho, Director of the Solidarity movement of New Ethiopia, to the citizens of India made the following remarks:.. “I come to you first and foremost as a fellow human as I call you to join our effort to stop the plundering of Ethiopia and Africa by African dictators, their cronies and their foreign partners— some of whom are Indian—…Will you help work within India to bring greater transparency and compliance with whatever protective laws and safeguards are in place in India? Will Indian individuals, social justice groups, the media, policy making groups, religious groups and all other stakeholders join us in our struggle for freedom from a dictatorial regime robbing us of our future? “.. This calls for a serious rethinking on our part if we truly stand by the high morals that India stood for centuries even in the face of adversities.. Anuradha Mittal of the Oakland Institute sums it up the best way.. She asks, “What does India want to be remembered as having achieved in the 21st century: exploitative colonization of less powerful nations and peoples, or leadership in the welfare of all humans in peace with the earth?”..

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  • Title: Iowans Petition to Censure Rastetter At ‘After AgriSol’ Forum | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Iowans Petition to Censure Rastetter At ‘After AgriSol’ Forum.. March 24, 2012.. Ames Tribune.. Hannah Furfaro.. More than 70 Iowans called Saturday for the censure of Iowa Board of Regents’ president pro tem Bruce Rastetter for his role in a large-scale private agriculture deal in Tanzania at a community teach-in hosted by Occupy Ames and Occupy ISU at Ames City Hall.. Residents and students signed a petition addressed to Gov.. Terry Branstad to censure Rastetter “on grounds of gross conflict of interest” for his involvement with Iowa State University and Iowa-based AgriSol Energy, a private agricultural company.. Event organizers said they anticipate more signatures will come in as they begin circulating the petition online in the next few weeks.. Joe Murphy, spokesperson for Rastetter, condemned the petition.. “It’s unfortunate that people misconstrue facts and what the real goals of the project are,” Murphy said.. “The goal of this project is to lead people out of poverty and give people a better life.. At the event, “After AgriSol: Defining a University’s Ethics and Interests in a Corporate World,” more than 100 Ames residents, legislators and ISU students packed into Council Chambers to weigh in on ISU’s relationship with AgriSol.. The forum focused on the role of land-grant universities and ethics behind  ...   needs to take back the reins on the university’s research agenda, the panelists said.. But since ISU discontinued its role in the partnership in February, it has remained largely tight-lipped about its involvement.. Saturday’s event was no different.. All members of the Iowa Board of Regents, ISU President Steven Leath and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Wendy Wintersteen declined invitations to the forum.. Former state representative Paul Johnson, one of seven panelists, criticized ISU for stonewalling discussion about its role in the project saying, “there’s a reverse political correctness” at ISU.. “There’s pressure to not have an open conversation about things,” he said, “and if you do, you might be in trouble.. Representatives from AgriSol Energy also were absent.. AgriSol spokesperson Henry Akona, who was contacted after the forum, said the company does not plan to release an official statement on the event.. Fred Kirschenmann, distinguished fellow at ISU’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, said he was “disappointed” ISU and AgriSol representatives didn’t show up to join in the discussion.. “We should have both sides of this issue here at this debate so it would be a real conversation so that we could address each other and explore how we could move forward,” he said.. “They should be here..

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  • Title: Recolonising Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Recolonising Africa.. March 23, 2012.. Frontline India.. As many as 70,000 indigenous people have been relocated from the Gambella region in a glaring example of agro-imperialism, which has seen governments collude with multinational companies and donor agencies.. Download the full article.. Recolonizing Africa_Frontline.. pdf..

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  • Title: Guest Column: Iowa State Furthering an Example of Colonial Capitalism | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Guest Column: Iowa State Furthering an Example of Colonial Capitalism.. March 20, 2012.. Iowa State Daily.. Ahna Kruzic is a senior in sociology.. As of lately, an immense amount of controversy has surrounded the involvement of several Iowa-based partners in a highly controversial and undeniably questionable investment deal in the African country of Tanzania.. Agrisol Energy LLC and Summit Group, with the present and former assistance of our beloved university Iowa State in varying capacities, is in the process of commercially developing a large tract of land for the purpose of large-scale crop cultivation and biofuel and animal production.. According to Agrisol, its goal with the project was to “develop a new private/public/academic partnership model that combines large-scale, commercial farming with local outreach and outgrower programs for small landowners.. I argue, however, that the Agrisol Energy Tanzania scheme is one that will ultimately further colonialism via the utilization of Iowa State’s reputation as a world-class land-grant institution.. As citizens of the state of Iowa and therefore shareholders of Iowa State University, I encourage you to engage in honest discussion regarding the nature of this land acquisition project.. According to Oxford Dictionaries, the definition of colonialism is “.. the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial control over another country, occupying it with settlers, and exploiting it economically.. ” Agrisol’s land acquisition project does just that; it acquires land, occupies it with foreign settlers and exploits it economically for the purpose of profit to outside shareholders.. The tract of land to be utilized for production, approximately the size of the state of Rhode Island, has served as a resettlement area for Burundian refugees since 1972.. Already inhabited by several communities that are home to more than 100,000 inhabitants and their farms, the area would undeniably have to be evacuated before Agrisol could utilize the land for agricultural development.. As sources such as the Oakland Institute and "Dan Rather Reports" explain, the success of Agrisol’s investment in Tanzania was and is 100 percent contingent upon the evacuation of these residents.. Refugees in the area being evacuated are being granted Tanzanian citizenship; however, their legal status as citizens is dependent upon them evacuating the area they’ve called home for more than 30 years.. Colonialism: “.. the policy or practice of acquiring full or partial control over another country.. Though Agrisol claims this project would benefit the Tanzanians by developing a modern agricultural sector, it is very clear this simply isn’t the case.. Though it has been claimed that Agrisol is in the process of identifying farm project managers locally so as to benefit the local community, it is ardently clear that Agrisol plans to occupy the land with outsiders so as to maximize profit.. Bruce Rastetter  ...   Tanzanian tax money, further exploiting Tanzania.. Irrigation, roads and railroads would potentially have to be built through utilization of tax money.. Though Agrisol will be paying a mere 55 cents per hectare to the Tanzanian government, it has been projected that Agrisol can expect net profits in excess of a quarter billion dollars per year.. the policy or practice of.. exploiting it economically.. ”.. Though there is a clear argument that Rastetter’s Agrisol is participating in a land grab that can be described as colonialist, the argument also can be made that this is a clear example of crony capitalism as well, which is defined as “.. an economy in which success in business depends on close relationship between business people and government officials.. What do Summit Group (the overseer of Agisol and subsequently the Tanzania project) and Iowa State University have in common? Rastetter serves as co-founder and managing director of Agrisol, CEO of Summit Farms and is influential within the ISU community on varying levels.. In addition to Rastetter’s role as business man, Rastetter is a major donor to Iowa State and a president pro tempore to the Iowa Board of Regents — the governing body of the state universities.. What do Iowa State University and Rastetter have in common? Iowa State has conducted feasibility studies regarding Rastetter’s Tanzania scheme.. Iowa State’s reputation as a land-grant institution has been utilized to garner support in Tanzania.. You can connect the dots.. Krony capitalism: “.. an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between business people and government officials.. As citizens of the state of Iowa, we must question whether Iowa State continues to fulfill its mission as a land-grant institution when subject to such corporate influence.. The mission of a land-grant institution, as defined by the Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890, was to teach agriculture, classical studies and other useful skills so that education could be accessible and practical for all.. Is education accessible and practical when Iowa State’s world-class reputation is utilized to secure profits for the already wealthy? Citizens of Iowa — what exactly are your tax dollars funding? I encourage you to engage in honest, thoughtful conversation.. From 2 to 4 p.. m.. Saturday at the Ames City Hall Auditorium, Occupy ISU is hosting just that — a conversation.. “After Agrisol: Defining a University’s Ethics and Interests in a Corporate World” will consist of panelists discussing the land-grant mission and its ally with corporate interests, research ethics, the defunding of public education and the intersections of each.. As stakeholders in Iowa State University and the future of our state as a whole, this conversation is one that impacts each of us and each of our futures..

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  • Title: SIERRA LEONE: Land Deals Beginning to Stir Discontent | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: SIERRA LEONE: Land Deals Beginning to Stir Discontent.. IRIN News.. Socfin oil palm plantation (Photo:.. Felicity Thompson/IRIN.. ).. FREETOWN, 20 March 2012 (IRIN) - In southeastern Sierra Leone’s Pujehun District, the small village of Kortumahun sits at the edge of orderly rows of hundreds of thousands of bright green palm oil seedlings.. Small groups of women weed the pots while men spray fertilizers and pesticides across the nursery.. It has been 30 years since large-scale oil palm plantations operated in this chiefdom.. But in March 2011, the agro-industrial company Socfin Agriculture Company Ltd.. , a subsidiary of the Belgian company Bolloré, signed a 50-year land lease with the government of Sierra Leone to produce palm oil on 6,500 hectares of land in Pujehun’s Malen chiefdom.. Tommy Silman, landowner and resident of Kortumahun, says he wishes he had not given up his land: One month ago he leased all 3.. 04 hectares (ha) of his land for the next 50 years to the government.. He used to cultivate oil palm trees for direct sale to process into the cooking oil used by most Sierra Leoneans.. “It was not a fair deal,” Silman says, explaining that he received no receipt for the land sold and now has no idea of where he stands.. Flocking in.. Foreign land investment is on the rise in Sierra Leone and, as with many of its neighbours, the government wants more companies to come in to boost the economy and spur much-needed agricultural development in rural areas.. Sierra Leone ranked 180 out of 187 countries on the.. UN human development index.. in 2011.. The country’s Investment and Export Promotion Agency (SLIEPA) advertises “over 4.. 3 million ha of cultivatable land available”, high local demand for staple food crops and opportunities for the production of biofuels for the global market.. According to Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Lands, around 70 percent of arable land is available for investment, outside of protected forest reserves.. “Foreign land investments are a good thing,” says William Farmer, director of surveys and lands in the Ministry of Lands.. “Civil society makes a lot of noise about land-grabbing.. But if the investment is well-planned then it can create employment and improve lives.. ”.. The US-based policy think-tank the Oakland Institute’s 2011 country.. report on Sierra Leone.. counts 15 large-scale land deals totalling 500,000 ha.. This was published before the largest-yet recorded deal in 2012 with the Chinese Hainan Natural Rubber Industry Group which signed a US$1.. 2 billion deal with the government in February to lease 135,000 ha for rubber and rice plantations.. The Hainan group has promised to plant 35,000 ha of rice for sale on the local market, establish a rubber-processing factory and create approximately 100,000 jobs.. Rubber plantations will stretch over 100,000 ha, across three districts - Moyamba, Tonkolili, and Port Loko.. But as more and more companies flock to the country to lease large tracts of land, murmurs of  ...   told IRIN: “The whole process is not clear.. If it were transparent, then nobody would grumble.. But if people are not getting the right information this will definitely lead to chaos and that is what we are starting to see in Pujehun.. There are currently no laws regulating large land deals in Sierra Leone.. The Ministry of Agriculture has produced guidelines suggesting a land lease payment of $5 per acre per year ($12.. 36 per hectare per year) to landowners who agree to give up their land for a lease period of up to 50 years, with an option to renew for another 21 years.. But Rahall says the amount is far too small.. “Even where companies pay the full amount, the government is taxing the people 50 percent,” he says.. “Half of the company’s payment goes to the District Council, the traditional leader and to the central government.. Abu-Dingie agrees: “It is not possible for [former landowners] to survive on the amount of money they are given per acre,” he says.. “Even the nuclear family will find it hard, let alone the whole extended family who have rights to the land.. Several landowners in Pujehun told IRIN that before these deals they had been managing to support their families through the revenues they earned by cultivating palm oil.. Tommy Silman, for instance, calculated he earned on average $861 annually from the three harvests produced on his 3.. 04 ha.. It is the landless farmers who get the worst end of the deal, Abu-Dingie adds, as they lose the land they farm and do not get any compensation.. Land tenure reform must take place before large land deals can benefit local communities, says UNDP.. A draft land reform policy is currently under review by parliament which UNDP hopes will lead to laws to regulate the practice.. Back at the nursery.. In October 2011 residents of Malen blocked Socfin’s operations in protest over low labour costs ($2.. 30 per day) and the amount paid for compensation and surface rent.. Socfin’s general manager, Gerben Haringsma, says some local community members are being difficult.. He told IRIN he wanted “do something good for the people and combine it with the interests of our company”.. The process for investing in land in Sierra Leone is very unclear, he said.. According to Haringsma, Socfin has purchased an ambulance for the community, built 22 water wells, is renovating schools, and constructing two bridges and feeder roads.. Haringsma says the company also has $75,000 a year for community development, but is waiting for the formation of a chiefdom committee to decide how to use the funds.. Such funds need to be independently monitored to make sure they benefit whole communities and not just a few individuals, say NGOs.. In the meantime, in Malen community spirits are low as 15 Malen residents who were charged with “riotous conduct” for their protests over wages await their court hearings..

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