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  • Title: Print | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Print.. Criticism Escalates Over Iowa Company s Plans for Tanzania.. Harvest Public Media.. World Bank Rebuffs Land-Grabbing Claims.. Emerging Markets.. Palm Oil Fuels Land Grabs in Africa.. Pambazuka News.. World Bank Policies Enabling African Land Grab.. Bretton Woods Project.. How a Big Dam Fuels Landgrabs, Hunger and Conflict in Ethiopia.. Huffington Post.. Is South Sudan s Largest Land Deal a Land Grab?.. Think Africa Press.. Why You Should Care About Land Grabs.. Conducive.. Collateral Damage?.. Africa Fund Manager.. Divvying up South Sudan.. Foreign Policy in Focus.. Indian Agribusiness Sets Sights on Land in East Africa.. Guardian.. Global Land Grab.. In These Times.. Black College Bets On African Land, But Threatens African  ...   Including Universities.. Color Lines.. Ethiopia Land Lease Risks Displacement: Report.. Agence France Presse.. Les Cessions de Terres Fragilisent les Paysans.. Le Monde.. Mother Africa Weeps while the Diaspora Sleeps.. South Florida Times.. Éthiopie: la Famine Menace Mais les Agrocarburants se Portent Bien.. Jeune Afrique.. NDA Blasts APC for Land Issue.. Freetown Daily News.. Pages.. « first.. ‹ previous.. ….. 7.. 8.. 9.. 10.. 11.. 12.. 13.. 14.. 15.. next ›.. last ».. 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: Harvesting Controversy: World Bank's Agriculture Projects Under Scrutiny | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Harvesting Controversy: World Bank s Agriculture Projects Under Scrutiny.. February 7, 2012.. Source:.. View Original.. While the World Bank revises its agriculture strategy, its market liberalisation focus is criticised, its own complaints bodies issue damning reports on agriculture projects in Peru and Papua New Guinea, and critics fault its gender focus.. The Bank is preparing a new agriculture action plan to cover 2013-2015, which will follow its 2010-12 plan (see.. Update.. 69.. ).. To date it has not said whether consultations are planned, nor when it will agree the new plan.. Meanwhile, a January report.. Resolving the food crisis: assessing global policy reforms since 2007.. from US-based think tank the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy and the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University paints a balanced picture of recent Bank agriculture policy and practice.. "On the positive side", the report notes, "the Bank reasserts the importance of agriculture for development" and "also recognises the prevalence of market failures in the sector".. However, overall, the report argues that the Bank's initiatives "are too heavily focused on improving access to liberalised markets and promote the expansion of high-input agriculture rather than a transition to more sustainable methods.. ".. Problems in Peru, Uganda.. In February last year, the Compliance Advisor/Ombudsman (CAO), the Bank's private-sector complaint mechanism, released an audit of investments in Agrokasa, a Peruvian agribusiness which was accused of depleting groundwater resources to the detriment of local farmers (see.. Update.. 72.. The audit found that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank's private sector arm, violated its own performance standards, its policy on environmental and social sustainability, its policy on disclosure of information and "its role as a development institution.. The CAO argued that by "pursuing this investment before an adequate environmental assessment had been prepared and reviewed, [the] IFC … proceeded without taking into account potential negative long-term and wide-ranging development impacts on other more vulnerable users: impacts that could cause economic displacement, impoverishment, and loss of access to potable water.. Furthermore, "against a backdrop of community objection, commercial pressure to expedite the project, and an absence of effective IFC management support, the professional advice of IFC's environmental and social specialists was effectively overruled.. " The CAO also said that "the IFC struggles to align its strategic involvement in these issues with its investment practices.. This inconsistency undermines the Corporation's reputation and credibility.. " The CAO will continue to keep its audit open until convinced that the actions taken by the IFC in response to the findings are satisfactory.. In January, the CAO agreed to assess two complaints from affected community representatives in Uganda (see.. 78.. ), backed by NGOs Uganda Land Alliance and Oxfam International, which claimed that IFC forestry investments through a private equity fund "forced evictions and displacement" and raised "broader concerns about the due diligence surrounding the project.. " After investigating further, the CAO may attempt to facilitate settlement, or consider whether to launch a full-scale investigation.. Meanwhile, in December 2011 the US-based NGO Oakland Institute released reports on the second phase of its multi-country study on.. Understanding how land deals contribute to famine  ...   In response, the Bank's board agreed to a limited number of improvements, including strengthening of the consultation process, and demanded updates from management during implementation.. The CAO has also deemed a November complaint against a palm oil plantation subsidiary of agribusiness conglomerate the Wilmar Group eligible for further investigation.. This is the third CAO complaint against Wilmar, with previous ones having caused the Bank to rethink its whole palm oil policy (see.. 76.. ,.. 71.. 67.. The complainants "allege that the company invoked government forces to dismantle a settlement on disputed land … [and] that the company's actions are in contradiction to [the] IFC's performance standards.. Gender gap.. In November 2011, US-based NGO Gender Action released three case studies on.. Gender, IFIs and food insecurity,.. covering Ethiopia, Haiti and Kenya.. In Kenya, Gender Action examined three World Bank and two African Development Bank projects and concluded that, "commendably, one [World Bank] project promotes gender integration, collects sex-disaggregated data and facilitates women's participation throughout the project cycle, but the other four projects, by failing to do so, perpetuate women's marginalisation in an industry [agriculture] for which they provide the majority of labour.. " In Kenya, it examined three World Bank and two African Development Bank projects and concluded that, "commendably, one [World Bank] project promotes gender integration, collects sex-disaggregated data and facilitates women's participation throughout the project cycle, but the other four projects, by failing to do so, perpetuate women's marginalisation in an industry [agriculture] for which they provide the majority of labour.. The Ethiopia study of "four active World Bank investments that focus on agriculture, land management and nutrition … finds that not one of these projects embraces a gender rights perspective or analyses differential impacts on men and women, boys and girls.. " The studies make recommendations for the IFIs, including to explicitly promote women's participation, collect and use sex-disaggregated data, provide grants rather than loans and approach investments from a women's rights perspective.. GAFSP.. Meanwhile, in October 2011 the Bank-housed Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP, see.. 68.. ) issued its first annual report.. The report shows that by June 2011, the programme had received $511 million of the $897 million that donors had committed for its public sector window and $50 million out of $75 million for its private sector window.. The vast majority of the shortfall was owed by the United States.. The Bank is the supervising entity for $312 million of the funds already allocated by the GAFSP steering committee - 65 per cent of the $481 million total allocation.. The government or private sector implementers of the project must follow the rules and policies of the supervising entity, which also receives a fee of up to 5 per cent of the total grant.. Meanwhile, an updated.. Food price watch.. report published on the Bank's website in November last year concludes that "global food prices remain high and volatile".. Despite discussing the global and national reasons for price volatility in depth, the report does not once mention the impact of financial speculation on volatility, despite many analysts suggesting this can be a major factor (see..

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  • Title: Land Grabs: False Climate Change Solutions Hurt Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Grabs: False Climate Change Solutions Hurt Africa.. February 6, 2012.. Black Business Quarterly.. False climate change solutions hurt Africa.. In the trend of large-scale land acquisitions in Sub-Saharan Africa, green investments such as the production of agrofuels and agroforestry developments, are falsely upheld as climate solutions.. At the same time the land grab is accompanied by a major water grab that raises serious concerns since the volume of irrigation water needed is already far and beyond what is sustainable for the continent.. These are among the alarming conclusions of two reports released in December by the Canadian-based Oakland and Polaris Institutes.. At the same time climate finance practitioners and regulators last week urged South African developers of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects to finalise their applications for registration of such projects with the United Nations during the first quarter of 2012, or face being excluded from the key European carbon credits market.. Projects that do not deliver.. In a statement accompanying the first of its reports, released early December, under the title Understanding land investment deals in Africa the Oakland Institute states that research demonstrates “that land grabs – largely unregulated land deals involving foreign corporations and speculators – continue to be promoted as adevelopment solution for African nations.. “Development agencies including USAID and the World Bank Group are often the architects of these deals that promise benefits for Africans but fail to deliver.. Furthermore, the research shows that US and EU energy policies that tout the benefits of agrofuels and carbon credits – key elements of these land deals – are actually making climate change a bigger problem.. ”.. The statement further highlights the fatct that at “the same time that individuals across the US and EU offer support to victims of famine and conflict in Africa, their countries' energy policies and development agendas take food and other resources away from Africans - while also harming the environment..  ...   existing water resources by 40% by 2030.. The report suggests that “this new pressure on water resources will adversely impact small farmers, pastoralists, and fisherfolk, who rely on water resources for their livelihoods.. Research also warns that jeopardizing Africa's fragile river systems will have political and ecological consequences and that irrigation schemes and canals are going to divert water from rivers and lakes that are already under serious stress, such as the Niger River and Lake Turkana.. "America and Europe are heroes after the fact," said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute.. "Severe droughts are a common factor in recent food crises in Africa.. Images of hunger evoke concern and efforts among aid agencies and civil society to alleviate the damaging effects of drought and water shortages.. It is a large-scale tragedy and betrayal that 'responsible agro-investors,' many from aid providing countries like the United States, will be producing crops on African soil – primarily for export outside the continent – and taking valuable, life-giving water used for cultivation along with them.. It is against this background that the suggestion was made last week at a Green Power conferences-event in Johannesburg that developers of CDM projects had better hurry up to submit projects in time for the imminent cut-off for access to the European Union’s emissions trading scheme, should be judged.. At present there is much uncertainty about the prospects of the carbon price in the medium to longer term.. At the same time, despite an agreement in Durban last month to extend the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012, the procedures and modalities for this second commitment period were yet to be developed and it was also uncertain whether the new period would run until 2017, or 2020.. It might not be in the best interest of South Africa, or Sub-Saharan Africa for that matter, to now enter into a mad rush for unsure rewards from the carbon credits market..

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  • Title: Investigation Finds Two ISU Professors Are Still Involved with AgriSol | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Investigation Finds Two ISU Professors Are Still Involved with AgriSol.. February 1, 2012.. Ames Tribune.. By Hannah Furfaro.. While Iowa State University pursues more private dollars to help support important research, at least one of these public-private projects is raising a whole new crop of ethical questions.. The project, a large-scale agricultural venture by Iowa-based AgriSol Energy to lease thousands of acres in Tanzania and bring modern seeds and technology to the region, has drawn fire from the news media, ISU affiliates and members of the international community since June 2011.. The reason: Two of the parcels, Katumba and Mishamo, are home to 160,000 refugees from Burundi who have called the land home for more than 40 years.. One professor from ISU has traveled to Tanzania on behalf of AgriSol Energy as recently as November, and another has stayed actively involved as a consultant for the project, the Ames Tribune has learned.. Top administrators at ISU also were aware as early as April 2011 that refugees were living on two plots of land that AgriSol Energy planned to lease.. Citing negative media attention and a perceived conflict of interest with Bruce Rastetter, co-founder and managing director of AgriSol Energy, who became member of the Iowa Board of Regents in May 2011, Wendy Wintersteen, dean of ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, said ISU withdrew its direct involvement in the project in September.. AgriSol also has backed off development of the two plots in recent months.. As of the fall semester, Wintersteen said, relevant ISU faculty would offer only advice on an informal basis to AgriSol Energy, based on expertise learned from a development project ISU conducted in Uganda in previous years.. The university no longer was officially a partner at this point, she said.. But until September 2011, a number of individuals at ISU spanning departments from economics to agronomy had actively engaged in conducting feasibility studies and designing education and extension services for Tanzanian farmers affected by AgriSol’s plan.. As reports on the project have continued to unfold over the past year, top university officials have maintained they were never asked to develop programs for areas where refugees were living.. Two opinion pieces published within the last week in the Des Moines Register from Rastetter and Wintersteen have reawakened questions as to how heavily ISU was invested from the start, and whether individuals at the university continue to have stakes in the project.. The beginning.. The story of ISU’s involvement with AgriSol Energy begins in 2009.. At that time, Rastetter had given $1.. 75 million to endow a chair position in ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.. He’d also given $500,000 for a renovation project in ISU’s Curtiss Hall.. When Rastetter approached members of the university to consider working with AgriSol on the Tanzania project, Wintersteen said his charitable donations to ISU were seen as a “very positive occurrence.. “Because we had the opportunity to work with a company, of which he was one investor, to try a new model to address hunger and poverty, we thought that was a critical opportunity that should be looked into,” she said.. The partnership moved forward, but ISU never signed a formal contract or agreement with Rastetter or AgriSol.. Discussions continued throughout 2009 and 2010.. In early January 2011, ISU became more actively involved in planning an outreach and educational program for small farmers in the regions AgriSol selected.. On a trip in January 2011, ISU economics professor Kevin Kimle, the Rastetter Chair of Agricultural Entrepreneurship at ISU, traveled as a private contractor to Mpanda, Tanzania, to work with Tanzanian officials on the project.. He returned for a second trip with ISU Associate Dean David Acker in February 2011 to attend a workshop and listening session with local Tanzanians who were involved.. ISU agronomy professor Andrew Manu also was involved and conducted land studies as a private contractor for AgriSol in 2010 and early 2011, according to Acker.. By April, AgriSol and individuals from ISU’s team began lobbying an outside group, the Oakland Institute, a California-based policy think tank, for support.. The refugee question.. On April 26, 2011, the executive director of the Oakland Institute attended an informational meeting on the Tanzania project in Curtiss Hall on the ISU campus.. Anuradha Mittal said she was invited to Iowa to learn about the project because of her interest in writing a report about successful agricultural investments in impoverished nations.. “We were looking to showcase agricultural investments that can be supported and can be highlighted as a way to invest or support national economies and small-scale farmers,” she said.. “(AgriSol) was very keen for me to meet with people in Iowa to learn about this project, which on paper looked very good.. During the meeting, Wintersteen, Acker and Manu gave separate presentations on why ISU was involved, what they’d done so far and how the university planned to proceed over the next few months.. Manu’s presentation focused on private work he conducted on behalf of AgriSol.. Manu’s presentation, Mittal said, included a brief discussion of the refugees in both Katumba and Mishamo.. “Manu, in  ...   International Development grant Westgate received, and a three-day span that Westgate used to do consulting for AgriSol.. Wintersteen said Westgate used vacation time for his three days of private consulting work.. “Common maybe isn’t the right word, but it’s allowable,” she said of Westgate’s decision to take vacation time during a work-related trip.. ISU paid for Westgate’s flights overseas, but did not pay for hotels or meals on the days Westgate spent consulting.. AgriSol covered his expenses for the three days he spent consulting, Murphy said.. Multiple phone calls and emails to Kimle were not returned.. Murphy confirmed Kimle has not traveled to Tanzania on behalf of AgriSol since September 2011.. Public vs.. private duties.. Nearly three years after ISU started working with AgriSol, some are wondering what checks exist to keep these types of complicated partnerships between the public and private sector above the table.. Rastetter, who could not be reached for comment on this story, currently serves as the president pro tem on the Iowa Board of Regents, which governs ISU and Iowa’s two other public universities.. His roles on the board and with AgriSol have drawn many questions about what legal policies regulate conflicts of interest, and whether these guidelines are enforced.. After officially beginning his duties as a regent on May 1, 2011, Rastetter submitted a conflict of interest disclosure form detailing his role at AgriSol.. Rastetter also stepped down from an advisory council he served on in ISU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.. But according to Dennis Keeney, professor emeritus of agronomy and agricultural and biosystems engineering at ISU, “there’s probably not much of anything” when it comes to keeping tabs on these types of potential conflicts.. “I think we’re talking about the press and public exposure as the only real check on this,” said Keeney, former director of ISU’s Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture.. “(Universities) can do things without the public having any idea what it is.. Cornelia Flora, distinguished professor of sociology at ISU, said “there’s still a lot of concern” among professors at ISU about the university’s partnership with AgriSol.. “(The university) is used to operating in these known parameters in terms of donors and partners,” Flora said, “but a for-profit firm has very different reasons of being than do government-to-government agencies or a nonprofit philanthropic entity.. Cuts in state funding, she said, have put pressure on ISU to seek more and more private partnerships.. “Because there is a whole lot of pressure with our new financial model here to generate funds from the outside, we don’t want to make it too burdensome for people to give us money,” she said.. “But, that also means sometimes we lay ourselves open to acting in haste.. But in the case of Westgate and Kimle, who have played both public and private roles in AgriSol’s venture, sorting out what constitutes an actual conflict is more complicated.. Charlotte Bronson handles conflict of interest files for faculty at ISU.. Bronson, vice president for research and economic development at ISU, said because Rastetter isn’t a faculty member at ISU, he’s not required to submit a conflict of interest form through the university.. Westgate and Kimle, however, would be required to disclose the type of contract work they do for AgriSol.. “A wise person would (say), ‘Well here’s Rastetter who is now my boss.. At the same time I’ve been working on a project that could benefit Rastetter’s company,’ and so they would say ‘No, I’m not going to be involved in that situation’,” she said.. Bronson couldn’t discuss whether Westgate and Kimle have disclosed their consulting work, but in an interview last week Westgate said he’s turned in the necessary forms.. In the interview, Westgate said his private consulting duties for AgriSol would not conflict with any advising he gave to AgriSol in his public role as a professor at ISU.. “Consulting, as any consulting activity is, is a private activity,” Westgate said.. “Nothing to do with the university.. I did it on my own time just like any consultant would.. When asked about his trip to Tanzania in November, however, he said, “We don’t need to get into the details.. Mittal disagreed.. “It raises the question: ‘How best used is the time of faculty that the taxpayers pay, especially given the concerns that are raised? What are the ethical guidelines for people to be involved?’ It’s almost like saying, ‘OK, on my private time, if I’m displacing people, that’s fine,’” she said.. Mittal said using the work week for closed-door meetings with private companies on the university campus, such as the meeting she attended in April, is also problematic.. “The fact that you cannot shy away from is while the classes were meeting, the entire team was there and meeting with me and sharing information about the time they spent on the ground,” she said.. “That was all happening when the university is in session … There’s something terribly wrong, even if you don’t care about Tanzanians.. Correction: This story originally listed Bruce Rastetter as the CEO of AgriSol Energy.. Rastetter’s official title is co-founder and managing director..

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  • Title: The Invasion of Foreign Land Grabbers | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: The Invasion of Foreign Land Grabbers.. January 27, 2012.. Newswatch Magazine.. By Modupe Ogunbayo-Tona.. African countries are losing their choice lands to foreign business interests through dubious deals with political and traditional authorities in the continent.. One hundred and thirty one years after a process of invasion, occupation, colonisation and annexation called Scramble for Africa in 1881, and 98 years after another race for the redistribution of the continent’s wealth and resources after World War 1 in 1914, Africa’s land and resources are still eagerly eyed by foreign interests.. Despite its independence from land-grabbing imperial masters towards the middle of the last century, Africa still remains vulnerable to their interest.. Now, they have rekindled their quest for the continent’s land.. Recent reports by US-based organisations have revealed a dubious mass project of buying up or leasing of lands in Africa for the capitalist gains of Western powers.. The countries affected are Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and parts of West Africa like Sierra Leone.. In Ethiopia, it is reported that foreign investors, in collusion with Ethiopia’s government, have been forcing tens of thousands of people off their land so it can be leased to foreign interests under a scheme called “villagisation programme.. Human Rights Watch, HRW, an American non-governmental organisation, NGO, said Ethiopian people were being forcibly relocated to new villages that lack adequate food, farmland and facilities to allow foreign companies to use the lands.. Under the programme, Ethiopia has leased out more than 3.. 6 million hectares or 8.. 8m acres of land which is an area equivalent to the size of The Netherlands.. The NGO said it has proof that some 70,000 indigenous people were forcibly relocated against their will to new villages that “lack adequate food, farmland, health care and educational facilities.. ” The group said it spoke to more than 100 people in May and June 2011, to investigate the report.. Ethiopian authorities, however, denied the allegations.. “Human Rights Watch has wrongly alleged that the “villagisation programme” is unpopular and problematic,” Bereket Simon, government’s spokesman, said, adding: “there is no evidence to back the claim.. This programme is taking place with the full preparation and participation of regional authorities, the government and residents,” he said.. At the take-off of the programme, the Ethiopian government promised that all the moves would be voluntary, that the new villages which people would be moved to would have adequate infrastructure and everyone who moved would be given assistance to ease their transition to a new life.. But HRW  ...   land, often without proper contracts.. It agreed with HRW that the acquisitions had displaced millions of small farmers.. The companies successfully preyed on the ignorance of the Africans in these communities to achieve their aim because many villagers who work on these sugarcane plantations which are used for biofuel are totally unaware of the full ramifications of the deals, the controversy surrounding biofuel production or that they are undermining Africa’s food security by helping foreign owners of the farms to achieve their goals.. Many even have a deep sense of gratitude to these firms for providing them with employment.. It added that some firms obtained land through deals with naive traditional leaders or corrupt government officials.. “The research exposed investors who said it is easy to make a deal, that they could usually get what they wanted in exchange for giving a poor tribal chief a bottle of Johnnie Walker (whisky),” said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.. “When these investors promise progress and jobs to local chiefs, it sounds great but they don’t deliver,” he said.. The report warned of grave consequences, “The same financial firms that drove us into a global recession by inflating the real estate bubble through risky financial manoeuvres are now doing the same with the world’s food supply.. However, not all companies named in the report agreed that their motives are similar as suggested.. They also denied claims that their presence in Africa is harmful.. EmVest Asset Management, one of the companies, strongly denied that it was involved in exploitative or illegal practices.. “There are no shady deals.. We acquire all land in terms of legal tender,” Anthony Poorter, EmVest’s Africa director, told the BBC.. He said that in some instances, the company’s employees earned salaries 40 percent higher than the minimum wage.. The company was also involved in development projects such as the supply of clean water to rural communities.. “They are extremely happy with us,” Poorter said.. But, some other groups are voicing out their reservations that these corporate social responsibility schemes are mere tokens because the deals are very exploitative.. They said the contracts gave the hedge fund investors a range of incentives from unlimited water rights to tax waivers to the detriment of the locals.. “No-one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans.. These deals only lead to dollars in the pockets of corrupt leaders and foreign investors,” said Obang Metho of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia, a US-based campaign group..

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  • Title: Al Amoudi Among Firms Behind Thousands of Forced Relocations in Ethiopia | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Al Amoudi Among Firms Behind Thousands of Forced Relocations in Ethiopia.. January 24, 2012.. Ethiopian Times.. This image taken in the western Gambella region of Ethiopia shows irrigation canals being dug by the agricultural firm owned by Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi.. Last week.. BBC News reported.. that 70,000 indigenous people have been forced to relocate in the western Gambella region of Ethiopia to new villages that lack adequate resources for their survival.. The land has been signed over to foreign investors.. , including Saudi Star Agriculture Development Plc, a company owned by Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi.. Felix Horne of the Oakland Institute recently authored.. Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa.. -.. a succinct analysis of the perils of land grabs in Ethiopia.. He told Green Prophet that Saudi Star has begun rice cultivation on 10,000ha of land in Gambella and a 10,000ha irrigation project along the already-compromised Alwero River.. Only grain that does not meet export requirements will be sold locally.. Nothing is Voluntary.. The BBC reports.. , “The government in Addis Ababa has said in the past that all the moves are voluntary, the new villages will have adequate infrastructure and everyone who moves will be given assistance to help their transition to a new livelihood.. Land grabs have also been defended under the pretext that arable land is “unused,” that Environmental Impact Assessments would be required, and that local communities would benefit from foreign investment.. But the.. Oakland Institute.. and Human Rights Watch warn that what is actually happening is very different than government claims.. To date, no mechanism to improve food security for Ethiopians has been implemented, contracts between  ...   another man with sticks and the butt of a rifle when he refused to leave.. He later died, and his family blames the violent beating he received.. Although Saudi Star has admitted that the Alwero River can only provide irrigation for 1,800 ha of rice, 30 kilometers of irrigation channels are currently being built and villagers worry about how they will feed their children.. Humans and animals are losing their land.. The company is also infringing on land perceived to be a part of the Gambella National Park.. The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), according to OI, estimates that 438,000 ha of land have been leased to various investors in the vicinity of the park, all without Environmental Impact Assessments.. The park is home to “69 mammal species, including 58 large mammals.. The park also contains valuable wetland habitat, hundreds of bird species, and 92 fish species, representing 69 percent of all fish species in Ethiopia,” OI reports.. Saudi Star’s owner Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al Amoudi is listed by.. Forbes.. as the 63rd wealthiest person on earth.. He is also the richest person in Ethiopia, where at least 39% of the population lives below the poverty line, and the second richest Saudi citizen in the world.. Only rice that does not grow longer than 7mm will be sold locally, while the rest will be exported – with Saudi Arabia expected to be a huge benefactor, according to.. Bloomberg News.. Eventually, Saudi Star hopes to lease up to 500,000 ha of Ethiopian land.. Land grabs in Ethiopia.. are well underway, and given lack of genuine government oversight comprise nothing less than a humanitarian disaster..

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  • Title: Commercial Farms to Displace Thousands in Ethiopia | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Commercial Farms to Displace Thousands in Ethiopia.. January 20, 2012.. New York Amsterdam News.. Gambela region traditional houses in Ethiopia.. Millions of acres of farm land are being leased to foreign investors for commercial export crops, under a nefarious plan that relocates indigenous villagers into "bantustans" lacking adequate food, farmland, healthcare or schools.. The lands are leased for pennies on the dollar and resemble "land grabs" that displace the county's poorest citizens.. Since 2008, six Indian, one Chinese, and Saudi Arabian companies have leased half a million acres in the state.. A lesser amount is going to Ethiopians.. Critics say only foreign firms benefit, while ethnic groups such as the Anuak and Nuer are deprived  ...   deal with Bangalore-based Karuturi company, investors would get some 3 million hectares - an area larger than The Netherlands -at just $1.. 25 per year per hectare for 50 years.. The Oakland Institute, an advocacy group in California, highlighted its concerns, including the forced relocation of locals to resettlement of villages and transfer of land coming under the Gambela National Park to Karuturi.. The New York-based Human Rights Watch, in a recent report titled "Waiting Here for Death," wrote: "The Ethiopian government.. is forcibly relocating approximately 70,000 indigenous people from the western Gambella region.. " Critical views on the relocations can be found at the website of the Solidarity Movement for a new Ethiopia.. www.. solidaritymovement..

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  • Title: Ethiopia Forces Thousands Off Land - Human Rights Watch | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Ethiopia Forces Thousands Off Land - Human Rights Watch.. January 17, 2012.. BBC.. Ethiopia's government has been accused of forcing tens of thousands of people off their land so it can be leased to foreign investors.. This new village had to be abandoned because there was no water source for cattle, HRW says.. US-based Human Rights Watch says people are being forcibly relocated to new villages that lack adequate food, farmland and facilities.. Ethiopia has already leased out more than 3.. 6 million hectares (8.. 8m acres) of land - an area the size of The Netherlands - HRW says.. Addis Ababa rejects HRW's allegations.. "I can tell you that it is baseless - on both grounds - on both the land grab issue and resettlement of the people," Ethiopian Information Minister Bereket Simon told the BBC World Service.. "No-one is forced [to leave their homes].. This is an absolute lie.. The people around Gambella are inhabiting the place in a very scattered manner.. "It is true that we are providing access to land on a lease basis for 25 years for local and foreign developers.. We have about three million hectares of land which is not inhabited by anybody.. 'Weaker and weaker'.. HRW says it has evidence that some 70,000 indigenous people in the western Gambella region were relocated against their will to new villages that "lack adequate food, farmland, healthcare and educational facilities".. The group said it spoke to more than 100 people in.. May and June last year for the report.. "My father was beaten for refusing to go along [to the new village] with some other elders," a former villager told HRW.. "He said: 'I was born here - my children were born here - I am too old to move so I will stay'.. He was beaten by the army with sticks and the butt of a gun.. "He had to be taken to hospital.. He died because of the beating  ...   HRW says.. Magn Nyang, who lives in Minneapolis in the US, says his mother was forcibly re-settled from a village close to Gambella town to a camp.. "When the investors came in they took over the land and they [the villagers] were kicked out," he told the BBC World Service.. "They were relocated under the pretext that they were going to get clean water, health clinics built for them, schools for their children - but none of that happened.. Food crisis.. The Oakland Institute, a US think tank that released a report last year about foreign firms acquiring land in Africa, described the situation as a "land rush".. "Hundreds of investors from all over the world rushing to Africa - lured by cheap land prices, availability of land - all for the sake of taking over these productive lands to be able to grow foods for exports," Anuradha Mittal, Oakland Institute's executive director, told the BBC.. "Our research - and reports by other human rights organisations - shows that this is happening at the expense of the most vulnerable people," she said.. BBC business reporter Duncan Bartlett reported in June 2011 that Saudi Arabia and China planned to acquire large tracts of land, particularly in Gambella, to grow more than one million tonnes of rice to take back to their own countries.. Ethiopia's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Hailemariam Desalegn told him the arrangement was an advantage to the country.. He said the area being leased is lowland, where farmers are not willing to go and plough the land.. It is often infested with malaria and the climate made it unsuitable for small holder farmers.. And he denied it would lead to food shortages and higher prices in a part of the world already suffering from a food crisis.. "Small holder farmers feed themselves first and sell when there is a marketable surplus," he said, adding that government subsidies helped those in urban areas..

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  • Title: Rights Group: Ethiopia Forcibly Resettled 70,000 and Threatened, Assaulted Those Who Resisted | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Rights Group: Ethiopia Forcibly Resettled 70,000 and Threatened, Assaulted Those Who Resisted.. Washington Post.. ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia — Ethiopia has forcibly moved tens of thousands of semi-nomadic people in the country’s west to barren villages and threatened, assaulted and arrested those who resisted, an international rights group said in a report Tuesday.. The Human Rights Watch report said that Ethiopia last year resettled about 70,000 people in its western Gambella region after the first of a three-year “villagization” program.. The rights group said it suspects people have been moved to lease out farmland to investors, and not just to lift them out of poverty.. It said that security forces “repeatedly threatened, assaulted, and arrested villagers” who resisted relocation.. The watchdog also reported rape, killing of cattle and burning of houses among rights violations.. Instead of the promised improved life with “access to basic socio-economic infrastructures,” locals found new villages that lacked food, farmland, schools and health clinics, the New York-based watchdog said.. Human Rights Watch said its report is based on 100 interviews in 2011 with residents in Gambella and in a refugee camp in Kenya.. The report also relied on visits to 16 affected villages.. The organization called upon the Ethiopian government to suspend its program until all promised facilities have been provided for.. Ethiopia’s minister of federal affairs, Shiferaw Teklemariam, denounced the allegations in a letter to Human Rights Watch as “downright fabrications” of a “politically motivated” organization.. He wrote that Human Rights Watch “willfully ignores the fact that more than 50,000 people are utilizing services from the newly built” villages.. He said the Gambella resettlement is a success and that “villagers for the first time in their history started to produce excess product — maize, sorghum, rice, potatoes, beans, vegetables, fruits, etc.. — beyond and above their family consumption.. Shiferaw said resettlement is voluntary.. He denied any presence of military troops and claimed that interference of security forces was unnecessary because participants showed a “keen interest.. Ethiopia plans to relocate  ...   the resettlement scheme but wasn’t successful in getting the government to respond to allegations of a link between relocation and investment.. Ethiopia is one of the top recipients of U.. aid.. Egeland said that it “seems that donor money is being used, at least indirectly, to fund the villagization program.. ” He said donors should take the responsibility “to ensure that their assistance does not facilitate forced displacement and associated violations”.. USAID did an assessment of the Gambella resettlement program in March 2011 and, while the report has not been made public, concluded that relocation was voluntary, Human Rights Watch said.. U.. Ambassador Donald E.. Booth and USAID deputy country director Jason Fraser traveled to Gambella last week but were not immediately available for comment.. Gambella, in west-central Ethiopia, is a traditionally marginalized area of the country that suffers internal conflicts over resources like water and land between indigenous peoples like the pastoral Nuer and agrarian Anuak.. It also is affected by its border with South Sudan, as refugees pour across into Gambella when violence erupts in that newly independent nation.. Gambella also saw a large influx of Ethiopians who the former dictatorship forced to relocate after a devastating famine in the 1980s.. Human Rights Watch has accused Ethiopia’s military of murder, rape and torture of scores of ethnic Anuak in Gambella in December 2003.. The government conducted an investigation but largely absolved the military.. Ethiopia’s Walta Information Center has reported that most of the 4.. 45 million acres (1.. 8 million hectares) that Ethiopia’s government leased to foreign companies last year are in Gambella, and that most of the leased Gambella land has gone to Indian companies.. A World Bank report last year on leasing agricultural land to foreign companies noted that some of Ethiopia’s leases last up to 100 years and favor rich foreigners over poor Ethiopians, with large investors receiving land and water free of charge along with tax benefits, while local peasants have to pay land taxes and other fees..

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  • Title: Rights Group: Ethiopia Forcibly Resettled 70,000 | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Rights Group: Ethiopia Forcibly Resettled 70,000.. Kansas City Star.. By Luc Van Kemenade.. ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA--Ethiopia has forcibly moved tens of thousands of semi-nomadic people in the country's west to barren villages and threatened, assaulted and arrested those who resisted, an international rights group said in a report Tuesday.. The Human Rights Watch report said that Ethiopia last year resettled about 70,000 people in its western Gambella region after the first of a three-year "villagization" program.. It said that security forces "repeatedly threatened, assaulted, and arrested villagers" who resisted relocation.. Instead of the promised improved life with "access to basic socio-economic infrastructures," locals found new villages that lacked food, farmland, schools and health clinics, the New York-based watchdog said.. Ethiopia's minister of federal affairs, Shiferaw Teklemariam, denounced the allegations in a letter to Human Rights Watch as "downright fabrications" of a "politically motivated" organization.. He wrote that Human Rights Watch "willfully ignores the fact that more than 50,000 people are utilizing services from the newly built" villages.. He said the Gambella resettlement is a success and that "villagers for the first time in their history started to produce excess product - maize, sorghum, rice, potatoes, beans, vegetables, fruits, etc.. - beyond and above their family consumption.. He  ...   about the underlying motives of the program," he said in a statement.. government's aid arm - USAID - as saying the U.. organization had concerns about underlying motives of the resettlement scheme but wasn't successful in getting the government to respond to allegations of a link between relocation and investment.. Egeland said that it "seems that donor money is being used, at least indirectly, to fund the villagization program.. " He said donors should take the responsibility "to ensure that their assistance does not facilitate forced displacement and associated violations".. Human Rights Watch has accused Ethiopia's military of murder, rape and torture of scores of ethnic Anuak in Gambella in December 2003.. Ethiopia's Walta Information Center has reported that most of the 4.. 8 million hectares) that Ethiopia's government leased to foreign companies last year are in Gambella, and that most of the leased Gambella land has gone to Indian companies.. A World Bank report last year on leasing agricultural land to foreign companies noted that some of Ethiopia's leases last up to 100 years and favor rich foreigners over poor Ethiopians, with large investors receiving land and water free of charge along with tax benefits, while local peasants have to pay land taxes and other fees..

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  • Title: Rights Group: Ethiopia Forcibly Resettled 70,000 | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: ABC News..

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