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  • Title: Ethiopia Forcibly Resettled 70,000, Assaulted Those Who Resisted: Report | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Ethiopia Forcibly Resettled 70,000, Assaulted Those Who Resisted: Report.. January 17, 2012.. Source:.. Toronto Star.. View Original.. 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.. Read more:.. Africa’s new land grab.. 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 “wilfully ignores the fact that more than 50,000 people are utilizing services from the newly built” villages..  ...   earmarked a total of 3.. 5 million hectares for leasing nationwide and according to the country’s ministry of agriculture website it rented out more than 350,000 hectares to 24 investors in the last two years.. Jan Egeland, Europe director of Human Rights Watch, said that resettlement takes place “in the exact same areas of Ethiopia that the government is leasing to foreign investors for large-scale commercial agricultural operations”.. “This raises suspicions about the underlying motives of the program,” he said in a statement.. Human Rights Watch cited an official from the U.. 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.. 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 travelled to Gambella last week but were not immediately available for comment.. 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: Colonialism 101 | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Colonialism 101.. January 6, 2012.. News-Sentinel.. By Alan Guebert.. It's hard to see Iowa State University's key role in a plan by one of its top officials to develop an 800,000-acre farm in Tanzania as anything other than institutional polish to a massive African land deal for politically connected financial titans.. And, yet, there sits ISU, smack in the middle of a geopolitical web that stretches from its corn-and-soybean encircled campus in Ames to Wichita, Kan.. , home to Koch Industries, to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, one of two offices of Pharos Financial Group, and then back to Alden, Iowa, the base of AgriSol Energy, a closely held ag enterprise that's partnered with Pharos to use its “expertise to create agricultural businesses in underdeveloped global locations.. The link between all is Bruce Rastetter, a one-time Iowa farmboy that now, according to the Associated Press, serves as Iowa's political “kingmaker.. Rastetter is CEO of Summit Group, an “umbrella organization” that includes Summit Farms, his Iowa farming operation, and AgriSol, the Pharos-partnered company on the prowl for “global locations that have attractive natural resources.. ” He was CEO of Hawkeye Energy Holdings, a 450 million gallon ethanol maker that, after a bankruptcy, was sold to a subsidiary of Koch Industries in 2011.. He also serves as president pro tem of the Iowa's Board of Regents, the governing body for three public universities in Iowa, including Iowa State.. And, too, in 2007, Rastetter endowed the Bruce Rastetter Chair of Agricultural Entrepreneurship at ISU for a reported $2 million.. Rastetter was named regent (along with Craig Lang, Iowa Farm Bureau's long-time president who now serves as  ...   www.. farmandfoodfile.. com.. ), 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.. The “academic” part of the formula included ISU.. According to a Jan.. 1, 2012, story in The Guardian, a national newspaper in the United Kingdom, the university's ties to the land deal were deeper.. They included two trips to Tanzania in 2010 by ISU associate ag dean David Acker “to do preliminary research” on the land, and a memorandum between AgriSol and the Tanzanian government that noted “AgriSol would be ‘working closely with Iowa State University.. '”.. The Guardian story went on to explain that the deal, estimated now to involve about 803,000 acres, will pay less than $1-per-acre rent on its 99-year land leases.. Also, according to the Oakland Institute, a think tank that investigated the deal in 2011, the AgriSol development “will… displace over 160,000 Africans.. Why is one of the premier Land Grand universities partnering with a politically-potent Iowa ag prince in a $100 million African land deal that resembles something moldy out of 18th century than something new for the 21st century?.. Beats me, but ISU has spent the first week of January downplaying its links to Rastetter, AgriSol and Tanzania, claiming its participation now is mostly “advisory.. Advisor or partner, ISU, through Gov.. Branstad, still has a regent who views less than $1-per-acre rent for a 99-year lease on 800,000 acres of African farmland that will displace tens of thousands as a worthy enterprise to “create new markets and bring prosperity to Tanzania.. What's next for ISU's ag school, Colonialism 101?..

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  • Title: Ruée sur les terres d’Ethiopie | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Ruée sur les terres d’Ethiopie.. Le Monde.. Un sol riche, un climat tropical et de l’eau enabondance: la région de Gambela, dans l’ouest du pays, est fertile.. Des investisseurs étrangers y louent à vil prix des milliers d’hectares pour développer une agriculture intensive.. Sans toujours se soucier de l’environnement et des populations.. Download the full article.. LeMonde-ethiopia.. pdf..

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  • Title: How US Policies Fueled Mexico's Great Migration | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: How US Policies Fueled Mexico s Great Migration.. January 4, 2012.. The Nation.. This article was reported in partnership with The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute and the Puffin Foundation.. Some names of the people profiled in this article have been changed.. Roberto Ortega tried to make a living slaughtering pigs in Veracruz, Mexico.. “In my town, Las Choapas, after I killed a pig, I would cut it up to sell the meat,” he recalls.. But in the late 1990s, after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened up Mexican markets to massive pork imports from US companies like Smithfield Foods, Ortega and other small-scale butchers in Mexico were devastated by the drop in prices.. “Whatever I could do to make money, I did,” Ortega explains.. “But I could never make enough for us to survive.. ” In 1999 he came to the United States, where he again slaughtered pigs for a living.. This time, though, he did it as a worker in the world’s largest pork slaughterhouse, in Tar Heel, North Carolina.. His new employer? Smithfield—the same company whose imports helped to drive small butchers like him out of business in Mexico.. David Ceja, another immigrant from Veracruz who wound up in Tar Heel, recalls, “Sometimes the price of a pig was enough to buy what we needed, but then it wasn’t.. Farm prices were always going down.. We couldn’t pay for electricity, so we’d just use candles.. Everyone was hurting almost all the time.. Ceja remembers that his family had ten cows, as well as pigs and chickens, when he was growing up.. Even then, he still had to work, and they sometimes went hungry.. “But we could give milk to people who came asking for it.. There were people even worse off than us,” he recalls.. In 1999, when Ceja was 18, he left his family’s farm in Martinez de la Torre, in northern Veracruz.. His parents sold four cows and two hectares of land, and came up with enough money to get him to the border.. There he found a coyote who took him across for $1,200.. “I didn’t really want to leave, but I felt I had to,” he remembers.. “I was afraid, but our need was so great.. He arrived in Texas, still owing for the passage.. “I couldn’t find work for three months.. I was desperate,” he says.. He feared the consequences if he couldn’t pay, and took whatever work he could find until he finally reached North Carolina.. There friends helped him get a real job at Smithfield’s Tar Heel packinghouse.. “The boys I played with as a kid are all in the US,” he says.. “I’d see many of them working in the plant.. North Carolina became the number-one US destination for Veracruz’s displaced farmers.. Many got jobs at Smithfield, and some, like Ortega and Ceja, helped lead the sixteen-year fight that finally brought in a union there.. But they paid a high price.. Asserting their rights also made them the targets of harsh immigration enforcement and a growing wave of hostility toward Mexicans in the American South.. The experience of Veracruz migrants reveals a close connection between US investment and trade deals in Mexico and the displacement and migration of its people.. For nearly two decades, Smithfield has used NAFTA and the forces it unleashed to become the world’s largest packer and processor of hogs and pork.. But the conditions in Veracruz that helped Smithfield make high profits plunged thousands of rural residents into poverty.. Tens of thousands left Mexico, many eventually helping Smithfield’s bottom line once again by working for low wages on its US meatpacking lines.. “The free trade agreement was the cause of our problems,” Ceja says.. Smithfield Goes to Mexico—and Migrants Come Here.. In 1993 Carroll Foods, a giant hog-raising corporation, partnered with a Mexican agribusiness enterprise to set up a huge pig farm known as Granjas Carroll de Mexico (GCM) in Veracruz’s Perote Valley.. Smithfield, which had a longtime partnership with Carroll Foods, bought the company out in 1999.. So many migrants from Veracruz have settled in North Carolina and the South that they name markets for their home state.. Because of ferocious anti-immigrant laws, however, many businesses have lost customers as immigrants flee the state.. By 2008 the Perote operation was sending close to a million pigs to slaughter every year—85 percent to Mexico City and the rest to surrounding Mexican states.. Because of its location in the mountains above the city of Veracruz, Mexico’s largest port, the operation could easily receive imported corn for feed, which makes up two-thirds of the cost of raising hogs.. NAFTA lifted the barriers on Smithfield’s ability to import feed.. This gave it an enormous advantage over Mexican producers, as US corn, heavily subsidized by US farm bills, was much cheaper.. “After NAFTA,” says Timothy Wise, of the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, US corn “was priced 19 percent below the cost of production.. But Smithfield didn’t just import feed into Mexico.. NAFTA allowed it to import pork as well.. According to Alejandro Ramírez, general director of the Confederation of Mexican Pork Producers, Mexico imported 30,000 tons of pork in 1995, the year after NAFTA took effect.. By 2010 pork imports, almost all from the United States, had grown more than twenty-five times, to 811,000 tons.. As a result, pork prices received by Mexican producers dropped 56 percent.. US pork exports are dominated by the largest companies.. Wise estimates that Smithfield’s share of this export market is significantly greater than its 27 percent share of US production.. Imported pork had a dramatic effect on Mexican jobs.. “We lost 4,000 pig farms,” Ramírez estimates, based on reports received by the confederation from its members.. “On Mexican farms, each 100 animals produce five jobs, so we lost 20,000 farm jobs directly from imports.. Counting the five indirect jobs dependent on each direct job, we lost over 120,000 jobs in total.. “That produces migration to the US or to Mexican cities,” Ramírez charges.. Corn imports also rose, from 2 million to 10.. 3 million tons from 1992 to 2008.. “Small Mexican farmers got hit with a double whammy,” Wise explains.. “On the one hand, competitors were importing pork.. On the other, they were producing cheaper hogs.. ” Smithfield was both producer and importer.. Wise estimates that this one company supplies 25 percent of all the pork sold in Mexico.. The increases in pork and corn imports were among many economic changes brought about by NAFTA and concurrent neoliberal reforms to the Mexican economy, such as ending land reform.. Companies like Smithfield benefited from these changes, but poverty increased also, especially in the countryside.. In a 2005 study for the Mexican government, the World Bank found that the extreme rural poverty rate of 35 percent in 1992–94, before NAFTA, jumped to 55 percent in 1996–98, after NAFTA took effect—the years when Ortega and Ceja left Mexico.. This could be explained, the report said, “mainly by the 1995 economic crisis, the sluggish performance of agriculture, stagnant rural wages, and falling real agricultural prices.. By 2010, according to the Monterrey Institute of Technology, 53 million Mexicans were living in poverty—half the country’s population.. About 20 percent live in extreme poverty, almost all in rural areas.. The growth of poverty, in turn, fueled migration.. In 1990, 4.. 5 million Mexican-born people lived in the United States.. A decade later, that population had more than doubled to 9.. 75 million, and in 2008 it peaked at 12.. 67 million.. About 5.. 7 million were able to get some kind of visa; another 7 million couldn’t but came nevertheless.. As an agricultural state, Veracruz suffered from Mexico’s abandonment of two important policies, which also helped fuel migration.. First, neoliberal reforms did away with Tabamex, a national marketing program for small tobacco farmers.. A similar program for coffee growers ended just as world coffee prices plunged to record lows.. Second, Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the country’s corrupt president, pushed through changes to Article 27 of the Constitution in 1992, dismantling land reform and allowing the sale of ejidos, or common lands, as private property.. Waves of tobacco and coffee farmers sold their land because they could no longer make a living on it.. Many became migrants.. But allowing the sale of ejidos to foreigners made it possible for Carroll Foods to buy land for its swine sheds.. Displaced farmers then went to work in those sheds at low wages.. Simultaneous changes in the United States also accelerated migration.. The Immigration Reform and Control Act, passed by Congress in 1986, expanded the existing H2-A visa program, creating the current H2-A program, which allows US agricultural employers to bring in workers from Mexico and other countries, giving them temporary visas tied to employment contracts.. Growers in North Carolina became large users of the program, especially through the North Carolina Growers Association.. Landless tobacco farmers from Veracruz became migrant tobacco workers in the Carolinas.. “Many Veracruzanos came because we were offered work in the tobacco fields, where we had experience,” remembers Miguel Huerta.. “Then people who’d been contracted just stayed, because they didn’t have anything in Mexico to go back to.. After the tobacco harvest, workers spread out to other industries.. From Huerta’s perspective, “these companies are very powerful.. They can go to Mexico and bring as many employees as they want and replace them when they want.. ” Poverty, though, was the real recruiter.. It created, as Ceja says, the need.. “We all had to leave Veracruz because of it,” he emphasizes.. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t do something so hard.. Exporting the Hazards of Corporate Hog Raising.. Hog raising is a dirty business—and the environmental damage it creates has provoked rising opposition to Smithfield’s operations within US borders.. In Virginia in 1997, federal judge Rebecca Smith imposed the largest federal pollution fine to that date— $12.. 6 million—on the company for dumping pig excrement into the Pagan River, which runs into Chesapeake Bay.. That year the state of North Carolina went further, passing a moratorium on the creation of any new open-air hog waste lagoons and a cap on production at its Tar Heel plant.. In 2000 then–State Attorney General Mike Easley forced Smithfield to fund research by North Carolina State University to develop treatment methods for hog waste that are more effective than open lagoons.. Despite North Carolina’s well-known hostility to regulating business, in 2007 Easley (by then governor) made the moratorium permanent.. In the face of public outcry over stench and flies, even the anti-regulation industry association, the North Carolina Pork Council, supported it.. Fausto Limon looks at his bean plants, knowing they need more fertilizer, but lacking the money to buy it.. In Mexico’s Perote Valley, however—a high, arid, volcano-rimmed basin straddling the states of Veracruz and Puebla—Smithfield could operate unburdened by the environmental restrictions that increasingly hampered its expansion in the United States.. Mexico has environmental standards, and NAFTA supposedly has a procedure for requiring their enforcement, but no complaint was ever filed against GCM or Smithfield under NAFTA’s environmental side agreement.. Carolina Ramirez, who heads the women’s department of the Veracruz Human Rights Commission, concluded bitterly that “the company can do here what it can’t do at home.. For local farmers like Fausto Limon, the hog operation was devastating.. On some warm nights his children would wake up and vomit  ...   In the early 2000s the UFCW sent in a new group of organizers, who began helping workers find tactics to slow down the lines.. They set up a workers’ center in Red Springs, offering English classes after work.. In 2003 the night cleaning crew refused to work, keeping the lines from starting the following morning.. David Ceja helped organize another work stoppage a year later.. Ortega was fired in 2005.. “Perhaps they saw us talking about this [the union] on our meal breaks, and they started to notice there is something going on with these people,” he says.. “They never told me and I never knew why I was fired.. They just said, As of today there is no more work for you.. ” He then began making visits to other workers.. By 2006 Mexicans made up about 60 percent of the plant’s 5,000 employees.. In April of that year, protests and demonstrations for immigrants’ rights were spreading across the country, culminating in massive May Day rallies in dozens of cities.. Hundreds left the Tar Heel plant and marched through the streets of Wilmington.. On May Day only a skeleton crew showed up for work.. Abel Cervantes, a worker at the Smithfield pork plant in Tar Heel, was cut by a knife at work.. At 20 years old, he can no longer use his hand or work.. That spring, Smithfield enrolled in the Department of Homeland Security’s IMAGE program, in which the government identifies undocumented workers and employers agree to fire them.. The program enforces a provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act called employer sanctions, which prohibits employers from hiring undocumented workers.. Smithfield spokeswoman Richards says, “We do all that the law requires, and more, in assuring that our workforce is authorized to work in the US.. In October 2006 the company announced that it intended to fire hundreds of workers suspected of being undocumented because they had bad Social Security numbers.. When terminations started, 300 workers walked out and stopped production, temporarily forcing the company to rescind the firings.. Ludlum, who had just been rehired after a twelve-year legal battle, says, “It was really empowering to see all those workers stand up together—probably one of the best experiences of my life.. ” It had an effect on African-American workers too.. They collected 4,000 signatures, asking the company for the day off on Martin Luther King Jr.. ’s birthday.. When managers refused, 400 black workers on the kill line didn’t come in.. With no hogs on the hooks at the beginning of the lines, no one else could work either.. The plant shut down again.. Nine days later, agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained twenty-one Smithfield workers for deportation, questioning hundreds more in the lunchroom.. Fear was so intense that most immigrants didn’t show up for work the following day.. A few months later, another raid took place.. Some of the detained workers were later charged with federal felonies for using bad Social Security numbers.. Meanwhile, ICE agents swept through Mexican communities, detaining people at home and in the street.. Ludlum and union organizer Eduardo Peña followed the ICE agents with video cameras but couldn’t stop the raids.. Ludlum, Peña and other union activists believed the company had cooperated in the immigration enforcement because the Veracruzanos were no longer useful.. “The workforce that was in the shadows was expecting rights, expecting to be part of the community,” Ludlum says.. “That’s not what the company wanted.. * * *.. Eventually, the crackdown took its toll, and the immigrant workforce shrank by half, as people left.. Union organizing stalled.. But then, in 2006, led by activist Terry Slaughter, African-American workers stopped the plant again by sitting all day in the middle of the kill floor.. They put union stickers on their hard hats and began collecting signatures demanding union recognition.. Spurred by widespread community support and the threat of lawsuits, the company agreed to an election without its old bare-knuckle tactics.. When the ballots were finally counted on December 11 that year, the union had won.. Today Ludlum is president of UFCW Local 1208, and Slaughter is secretary-treasurer.. Terry Slaughter is secretary-treasurer of UFCW Local 1208.. A Veracruzana, Carmen Izquierdo, sits on the union executive board.. “In the union it doesn’t matter if you’re undocumented, if you have papers or not,” she says.. “All the workers here, whether or not we have papers, have rights.. ” Ludlum and Slaughter say line speed is slower now, and workers can rotate from one job to another, reducing injuries.. Ceja feels that the union gave workers a tool to change conditions.. “I’m glad it came in.. We worked hard to get it,” he says.. But he was not there to enjoy the union’s victory; he left after he was made a supervisor at the time of the raids.. “They wanted me to send workers to the office, where I was afraid the immigration agents would be waiting for them,” he explains.. “I thought it was better for me to leave, so I wouldn’t have to turn in my compañeros.. Others left because of fear, especially in the intensifying anti-immigrant climate in North Carolina.. Roberto Ortega and his wife, Maria, left the state when the hostility got worse and they couldn’t find work.. Juvencio Rocha, head of the Network of Veracruzanos in North Carolina, says bitterly that “after we contributed to the economy, they didn’t want us here anymore.. They even took our driver’s licenses away.. Resisting the System on Both Sides of the Border.. Smithfield didn’t invent the system of displacement and migration.. It took advantage of US trade and immigration policies, and of economic reforms in Mexico.. In both countries, however, the company was forced to bend at least slightly in the face of popular resistance.. Farmers in Perote Valley have been able to stop swine shed expansion, at least for a while.. Migrant Veracruzanos helped organize a union in Tar Heel.. Yet these were defensive battles against a system that needs the land and labor of workers but does its best to keep them powerless.. “From the beginning NAFTA was an instrument of displacement,” says Juan Manuel Sandoval, co-founder of the Mexican Action Network Against Free Trade.. “The penetration of capital led to the destruction of the traditional economy, especially in agriculture.. People had no alternative but to migrate.. ” Sandoval notes that many US industries are dependent on this army of available labor.. “Meatpacking especially depends on a constant flow of workers,” he says.. “Mexico has become its labor reserve.. Raul Delgado Wise, a professor at the University of Zacatecas, charges that “rather than a free-trade agreement, NAFTA can be described as…a mechanism for the provision of cheap labor.. Since NAFTA came into force, the migrant factory has exported [millions of] Mexicans to the United States.. About 11 percent of Mexico’s population lives in the United States, according to the Pew Hispanic Center.. Their remittances, which were less than $4 billion in 1994 when NAFTA took effect, rose to $10 billion in 2002, and then $20 billion three years later, according to the Bank of Mexico.. Even in the recession, Mexicans sent home $21.. 13 billion in 2010.. Remittances total 3 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product, according to Frank Holmes, investment analyst and CEO of US Global Investors.. They are now Mexico’s second-largest source of national income, behind oil.. However, Mexico’s debt payments, mostly to US banks, consume the same percentage of the GDP as remittances.. Those remittances, therefore, support families and provide services that were formerly the obligation of the Mexican government.. This alone gives the government a vested interest in the continuing labor flow.. For Fausto Limon, the situation is stark: his family’s right to stay in Mexico, on his ranch in the Perote Valley, depends on ending the problems caused by the operation of Granjas Carroll.. But he has no money for planting, and he shares the poverty created by meat and corn dumping with farmers throughout Mexico.. The trade system that allows this situation to continue will inevitably produce more migrants—if not Limon, then probably his children.. The fabric of sustainable rural life at his Rancho del Riego is being pulled apart.. The border wall in the mountains west of Mexicali.. In both the United States and Mexico, many migrant rights networks believe that rational immigration reform must address issues far beyond immigration law enforcement in the United States: real reform must change the US trade policies that contribute to displacing people.. Gaspar Rivera-Salgado, a professor at UCLA and former head of the Binational Front of Indigenous Organizations, a group of indigenous Oaxacans living in Mexico and the United States, believes that in the United States “migrants need the right to work, but with labor rights and benefits.. ” In Mexico, “we need development that makes migration a choice rather than a necessity—the right to not migrate.. Both rights are part of the same solution.. There are some constructive proposals on the table.. The TRADE Act, proposed in the 110th Congress by Maine Democratic Representative Mike Michaud, received support from many migrant rights groups because it would hold hearings to re-examine the impact of NAFTA, including provisions like the environmental side agreement that did nothing to restrict the impact of Granjas Carroll on Perote Valley.. Another immigration reform proposal, called the Dignity Campaign, goes one step further.. It would ban agreements that lead to displacement, like that caused by pork imports or the cross-border investments that created the Perote pig farms.. It would also repeal employer sanctions, the immigration law that led to the firing of so many Veracruz migrants at the Tar Heel plant.. “Employer sanctions have little effect on migration,” says Bill Ong Hing, a law professor at the University of San Francisco, “but they have made workers more vulnerable to employer pressure.. The rationale has always been that this kind of enforcement will dry up jobs for the undocumented and discourage them from coming.. However, they actually become more desperate and take jobs at lower wages—in effect, a subsidy to employers.. “When you make someone’s status even more illegal,” Carolina Ramirez adds, “you just make their living and working conditions worse.. Jobs become like slavery.. And if there are no remittances, kids in Veracruz can’t go to school or to the doctor.. All the social problems we already have get worse.. And all this just provokes more migration.. The Dignity Campaign and similar proposals are not viable in a Congress dominated by Tea Party nativists and corporations seeking guest-worker programs.. But as it took a civil rights movement to pass the Voting Rights Act, any basic change to establish the rights of immigrants will also require a social upheaval and a fundamental realignment of power.. The walkouts in Smithfield and the marches in the streets in 2006 show a deep desire among migrants for basic changes in their conditions and rights.. In Perote Valley, farmers are equally determined to prevent the expansion of pig farms and the destruction of their environment.. These organizing efforts are linked not just because they’re carried on by people from the same state, facing the same transnational corporation.. They’re trying to change the same system.. “We are fighting because we are being destroyed,” says Roberto Ortega.. “That is the reason for the daily fight, to try to change this.. All images © David Bacon..

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  • Title: US Varsity Faults AgriSol Katumba, Mishamo Investments in Mpanda | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: US Varsity Faults AgriSol Katumba, Mishamo Investments in Mpanda.. January 1, 2012.. IPP Media.. By Gerald Kitabu.. AgriSol’s planned investment project in Katumba and Mishamo refugee settlements in Mapnda district has suffered the first major big blow following Iowa State University (ISU)’s decision to scale back its involvement with AgriSol to an “advisory capacity,” The Guardian on Sunday has learnt.. Dan Rather, the longtime CBS reporter and anchorman, who also reports for HDNET, a television network, and Jenny Beth Dyess, a Research Intern with the Nourishing the Planet Project, reports that Iowa State University (ISU) which intended on partnering with Bruce Rastetter, AgriSol owner, to conduct the small-farmer training programme has pulled out of the project and remained with an advisory role only.. Reports say Dr.. Dennis Keeney, Professor Emeritus of Agronomy and Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering at ISU was appalled when he first became aware of Rastetter’s project at how dehumanizing the corporate world could be.. He is concerned but doubts ISUs withdrawal will make much difference to Rastetter’s programme since he doesn’t believe Rastetter took “training” seriously anyway.. Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute and a contributing author to State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet, is also skeptical of Rastetter’s project.. After conducting a study into Rastetter’s plan she labels it a “land grab,” an exploitive land transaction by a foreign government or private investor for the purpose of agricultural production and export.. Mittal also is concerned about demands in AgriSol Energy’s proposal to Tanzania requiring permission to cultivate GMOs and guaranteed access to export markets.. A 2010 analysis by the World Bank shows large-scale agribusiness investments rarely have any beneficial effects on the local community.. AgriSol’s project will likely displace thousands of people from their homes and farms and while some will be employed as labourers, most of the managerial positions will probably be given to foreigners.. ISU thought that they would work with AgriSol to make sure that the massive for-profit venture was also a socially responsible one.. According to an AgriSol news release, ISU’s involvement ensured that the project would “effectively and efficiently serve the interests of the local communities and the country.. While critics call the deal a “land grab” that would be catastrophic for thousands of small farmers just the kind of people that AgriSol claimed its project would benefit, the honourable US ambassador in Tanzania Alfonso Lenhardt has a different view when he said: “Agrisol have not grabbed any land but were actually invited by the Prime Minister when he visited Iowa state two years ago and saw how American technology can produce sufficient food and  ...   Not me personally, not Iowa State.. Unfortunately, the facts tell a different story.. Acker himself was in charge of ISU’s work with AgriSol and, as he is doubtless aware, ISU faculty visited the refugee settlements to do preliminary research for the AgriSol project in March and November 2010.. What’s more, ISU is mentioned in the memorandum of understanding between AgriSol and the Tanzanian government.. The agreement specifies that AgriSol would be “working closely with Iowa State University” and also makes clear that the project would move forward only after the “resettlement and removal of all former refugees.. However, the investigation raised questions about the reasons behind ISU’s involvement with AgriSol.. AgriSol founder Bruce Rastetter is a major donor to ISU and his multi-million-dollar endowment pays the salary of an ISU faculty member who worked on the project.. Rastetter also sits on the Iowa Board of Regents, which oversees ISU.. Critics charged that Rastetter was using the university’s name and reputation to further his own business interests.. The company, mid this year, came under attack from land rights activists and politicians, especially Members of Parliament for acquiring over 300,000 hectres located at Mishamo and Katumba areas in Mpanda district for agricultural development.. The attacks prompted Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda to throw his weight to defend the investor, saying the deal would benefit the local economy and had the potential to uplift peasants in the area from the vicious cycle of poverty.. He said the investor through Agrisol Energy Tanzania Limited, had acquired the land in question after open, long negotiations with regional and district leaders.. The signed MoU with the Mpanda district Council, provoked protests from people of all walks of life due to controversial terms included in it.. These include the initial term of the certificate of occupancy which is 99 years lease, plus the proviso that the government creates a regulatory framework for growing Genetically Modified (GM) crops, which is not yet to be approved.. The deal, for the district, is a Sh200-per-hectare-per annum land rent, and Sh500 as fee to the council per hectare per year.. Also in the list are other controversial terms such as that for any disputes that may arise, arbitration shall be held in London, England, pursuant to the rules of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), which is reminiscent of the controversial Dowans’ contract.. When contacted for comments on the ISU’s decision to scale back its involvement with AgriSol to an “advisory capacity, Betram Eyakuze , the director of AgriSol Tanzania Ltd, the Tanzanian arm of AgriSol Energy that would provide the domestic front for this operation, could not pick up his phone..

    Original link path: /us-varsity-faults-agrisol-katumba-mishamo-investments-mpanda
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  • Title: Another Shady Land Deal in Africa, This One Assisted By the U.S. Ambassador to Tanzania | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Another Shady Land Deal in Africa, This One Assisted By the U.. Ambassador to Tanzania.. December 30, 2011.. Treehugger.. By Rachel Cernansky.. Trees ForTheFuture/CC BY 1.. 0--Tree-planting in Mayange Village near Kigoma, Tanzania, where thousands of people would be displaced—some of them refugees from Burundi with over 40 years of established lives, according to the Oakland Institute.. The.. Oakland Institute.. —the think tank that revealed the connection this summer between.. Ivy League universities and land grabs in Africa.. —is now voicing concern about the support the U.. ambassador to Tanzania is lending to a land deal in that country that would displace more than 160,000 people.. Displacing Refugee Populations with Unsustainable Agriculture.. According to the Oakland Institute.. [PDF], the stated goal of the project is to commercially develop a site—which encompasses lands that have served as refugee resettlement areas since 1972—for large-scale crop cultivation, beef, and poultry production, and biofuel production.. The institute adds, "Agrisol’s vision is to accomplish this through industrial-style agriculture employing biotechnology and other high-technology inputs to be supplied by AgriSol’s business partners, including Monsanto, Syngenta, and other powerful global industrial agribusiness conglomerates.. ".. The key player locally is AgriSol Energy Tanzania, which is a partnership between Iowa-based Agrisol Energy, LLC and Tanzania-based Serengeti Advisers Limited.. This month, the Oakland Institute released a  ...   security.. and how AgriSol stands to benefit from the deal: "While claiming to benefit Tanzanians and contributing to the country’s food needs, AgriSol’s internal documents reveal its intent, which includes agrofuel production and export markets.. More specifically:.. While pitching the project as in the best national interest of Tanzania, AgriSol’s Tanzanian cohorts fail to mention AgriSol’s demand for “Strategic Investor Status” to receive incentives including a waiver of duties on diesel, agricultural and industrial equipment and supplies; production of agrofuels, and request of the government to commit and provide a timetable for the construction of a rail link for Mishamo.. AgriSol will generate significant profits through the project.. While it intends to invest $100 million over a 10 year period, if corn is cultivated on only 200,000 of the 325,000 hectares, net profits for the company could be $272 million a year, an amount which nearly equals the total budget of Tanzania’s Ministry of Agriculture.. If they receive Strategic Investor Status it would include an exemption from corporate tax, currently 30 percent of this amount.. • AgriSol’s feasibility studies call for it to negotiate with the government for input subsidies, which for now are targeted for the smallholder Tanzanian farmers.. If accepted by the government, such a demand will divert scarce public resources from smallholders to agribusiness..

    Original link path: /another-shady-land-deal-africa-one-assisted-us-ambassador-tanzania
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  • Title: Ethiopia's Partnership with China | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Ethiopia s Partnership with China.. Guardian.. by Deborah Bräutigam.. China sees Ethiopia as a land of business opportunities, but the African country remains in charge of any deals.. Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi (left) toasts Chinese premier Wen Jiabao during a meeting in Beijing in August.. Photograph: Adrian Bradshaw/AFP/Getty Images.. In late November, Habros Seguar, an Ethiopian industry ministry official, told me how the ministry had just landed a major Chinese investment.. During his August trip to.. China.. , Prime Minister Meles Zenawi had visited the Pearl River Delta, where higher costs are driving manufacturers offshore.. He invited the Chinese to visit.. Ethiopia.. Among other things, he wanted them to look at a leather-based industrial cluster Ethiopia is developing to better utilise its livestock population,.. Africa.. 's largest.. Within weeks, a delegation of Chinese had arrived in Addis Ababa.. Among them was the privately owned Huajian Group, which produces 16 million pairs of leather shoes per year.. By October, Huajian had decided to invest in Ethiopia.. Huajian's general manager arrived in November, hired 50 Ethiopian technical school graduates and sent them off to China for training.. "The machinery is already on its way to Djibouti," Habros told me, adding that Huajian was leasing a factory site in Ethiopia's Eastern (Oriental) Industrial Zone.. Ethiopia at the end of 2011 reflects the surprising complexity of Chinese engagement in Africa, how it differs from that of the west and – possibly of more significance to the continent – how central is the role of African agency.. China is no newcomer here.. In 1972, China financed the Wereta-Weldiya road across Ethiopia's Rift Valley.. Between 1998 and 2004, the Chinese contributed 15% of the cost of Addis Ababa's ring road (Ethiopia paid the rest).. But when Ethiopia's economy began to grow at Asian rates, the Chinese saw increased opportunities.. Not all were in the direction stereotypes would have predicted.. Yes, China's state-owned petroleum companies explored for oil, but they departed empty-handed.. Rather, the Chinese unleashed a variety of state-sponsored tools for building economic ties.. Most of  ...   secured (and repaid) out of Ethiopia's exports to China: mainly sesame seeds.. These credits are known (in Chinese) as hu hui dai kuan, or "mutual benefit loan".. A Chinese company gets the business, Ethiopia gets finance for development: at Libor plus 2-3%.. To the west, Ethiopia typically conjures up images of drought and starving children; we want to save Ethiopia.. To the Chinese, Ethiopia, with a fast growing economy and 90 million consumers, looks like good business.. While western official engagement with Ethiopia's authoritarian but development-minded government is still largely limited to foreign aid, the Chinese offer multiple ways to make co-operation economically attractive.. Of course, there are downsides to China's engagement.. Chinese banks continue to show interest in financing large hydro-power projects with daunting environmental and social challenges.. Reportedly, working conditions were so onerous at the enormous African Union complex being built by a Chinese firm that some Chinese workers went on strike.. Ethiopians complain about the quality of ZTE's technology.. At the same time, observers sometimes accuse China of sins it has yet to commit.. In July, Günter Nooke, German chancellor Angela Merkel's Africa adviser, said that in Ethiopia, China's "large-scale land purchases" were partly to blame for a devastating famine.. Ironically, the.. California-based Oakland Institute.. had reported just a month earlier, after an exhaustive four-month "land grab" study, that the Chinese were "surprisingly absent from land investment deals" in Ethiopia.. Ethiopia is clearly in charge in this engagement.. Chinese traders and shopkeepers, who are fixtures across many African cities, are absent on Ethiopia's streets.. These positions are reserved for locals, and Ethiopians enforce their rules.. And China listens.. A decade ago, Chinese companies building the ring road complained they couldn't find enough local skilled workers.. The Ethiopian government asked China to establish a college that would focus on construction and industrial skills.. The fully-equipped Ethio-China Polytechnic College opened in late 2009, funded by Chinese aid.. Chinese professors offer a two-year degree with Chinese language classes alongside engineering skills.. Chinese companies are waiting to hire its first crop of graduates..

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  • Title: United States Ambassador Challenged on Claims of AgriSol's Land Deal Benefit for Tanzania | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: United States Ambassador Challenged on Claims of AgriSol s Land Deal Benefit for Tanzania.. December 28, 2011.. Afrique en Ligne.. Oakland, US - The US-based Oakland Institute, an independent policy think tank whose mission is to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues, has taken to task the US Ambassador in Tanzania over US firm Agrisol's activities in Tanzania.. Despite growing international criticism of AgriSol's plan to develop land and evict over 160,000 long-term residents (refugees from Burundi with over 40 years of established homes, farms and businesses), the Tanzanian government is still planning to move forward with the project.. The latest in the AgriSol Energy saga is the support extended by the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso  ...   two years ago and saw how American technology can produce sufficient food and energy from farms,' the Ambassador had been quoted as saying, in reference to the Bruce Rastetter and AgriSol Energy.. But in a statement made available to PANA here Wednesday, Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, 'corrected' Ambassador Lenhardt.. 'Honorable Ambassador, our latest brief dismantles AgriSol's lies around project benefits to the people of Tanzania.. It is shocking to us that an appointee of the Obama administration would side with a project that will displace and destroy livelihoods of over 160,000 Africans to accommodate investors, including US and Tanzanian politicians and businessmen, with questionable records of integrity,' Mittal said.. The Oakland Institute first exposed AgriSol's land investment deal in June 2011..

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  • Title: Tanzania: Development or Detriment? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Tanzania: Development or Detriment?.. December 24, 2011.. WorldWatch Institute.. By Jenny Beth Dyess.. Rukwa is a beautiful region in western Tanzania that has seen many people come and go.. Over the years it has housed refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Burundi.. But for many of the 162,000 people who now live there and will be displaced over the next ten years to make way for the AgriSol Energy project, the area is simply home.. (Photo credit: Jenny Beth Dyess).. Bruce Rastetter, owner of the Iowa-based company.. AgriSol Energy.. , is moving forward on a project to build an 800,000 acre farm in Rukwa.. Using modern, large-scale farming techniques Rastetter plans on planting corn and soybeans on part of the land in 2012.. AgriSol Energy will sign a 99-year lease with the government of Tanzania for possession of the farmland, an area slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island, and will own all of the crops produced.. AgriSol Energy says its farm will create jobs and will help with food shortages by selling crops locally in Tanzania.. But local people are skeptical of Rastetter’s plan.. In a recent article by the.. , residents of nearby villages claim they were never consulted or even informed about the massive land deal in their backyards.. Agricultural extension officer Moshi Muzanye said if the government had consulted him he would have advised reserving it for locals, who could use the space to ease pressure on crowded village land.. Jumanne Maghembe, Tanzanian Minister for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, defends Rastetter’s project in the.. Des Moines Register.. saying he believes this project will supplement local food production and help feed the country.. AgriSol Energy asserts that their presence in western Tanzania is to help satisfy the demand for food in Tanzania and to train Tanzanian farmers by teaching them modern agricultural techniques.. Iowa State University.. (ISU) intended on partnering with Rastetter  ...   cultivate GMOs and guaranteed access to export markets.. A 2010 analysis by the.. World Bank.. shows large-scale agribusiness investments rarely have any beneficial effects on the local community.. AgriSol’s project will likely displace thousands of people from their homes and farms and while some will be employed as laborers, most of the managerial positions will probably be given to foreigners.. The government of Tanzania is moving forward with the project despite local outcry.. John Julius, Director of Tanzanian NGO.. ROSDO.. , says allocating Rastetter such a large tract of land is a disgrace to the government of Tanzania.. Julius draws attention to the deeper problem in Tanzania—an inability for most to afford the food that is grown.. The problem in Tanzania is not a food shortage, but because of poor infrastructure and little support for farmers people are often too poor to purchase the food that is available.. Bashiru Ali, a senior lecturer at the University of Dar es Salaam, is also concerned about the effects on the local community.. In.. The Citizen.. , a Tanzanian newspaper, he says, “We need to look into our land laws and strengthen them so that they adequately protect the rights of indigenous Tanzanians.. After signing the agreement Tanzania will have little power to protect local rights; already hard-pressed locals fear their children will not have land to farm in the future.. Mr Ahmed Simba, a Kigoma-based peasant, complains in the article in.. that the government is allocating tracts of land to foreign investors while refusing the same land to local groups, “I’m afraid we will end up being cheap laborers in such plantations, why does the government prefer foreign investors to local ones?”.. Ultimately, the decision to accept Rastetter’s proposal is in the hands of the Tanzanian government.. Maghembe stated, “we want to make it well-known to the world that the decisions in relation to the people investing in Tanzania are made by us..

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  • Title: Dan Rather: A Land Grab University? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Dan Rather: A Land Grab University?.. December 23, 2011.. Back in September, “Dan Rather Reports” broadcast a story about Iowa State University’s role in a controversial African land deal.. An Iowa-based company called AgriSol Energy was planning to grow corn and soybeans on hundreds of thousands of acres in western Tanzania.. ISU claimed that they were working with the company to make sure that the massive for-profit venture was also a socially responsible one.. However, our investigation.. found that the land AgriSol planned to farm — with ISU’s help — is already occupied by more than 100,000 people.. They are refugees living in two settlements known as Katumba and Mishamo.. Last summer, we visited Katumba and found a thriving, self-sufficient community.. In the almost 40 years since the settlement was established, its people have put down roots and turned what used to be a remote forest into highly productive — and highly desirable — farmland.. But the Tanzanian government had decided to evict the people of Katumba and lease the land to AgriSol for the development of a large-scale farm.. Critics called the deal a “land grab” that would be catastrophic for thousands of small farmers — just the kind of people that AgriSol claimed its project would benefit.. When we raised  ...   who were willing to have anything to do with kicking refugees off the land, who would want to have anything to do with them? Not me personally, not Iowa State.. Our investigation also raised questions.. about the reasons behind ISU’s involvement with AgriSol.. Since our investigation, ISU has scaled back its involvement with AgriSol to an “advisory capacity.. ” Meanwhile, in the face of mounting criticism, AgriSol announced that it was suspending development efforts in the refugee settlements and focusing on land elsewhere in Tanzania.. But Acker’s claim that ISU “never considered working in those areas [where the refugees live], and would never consider it” is simply untrue.. We’ve come to expect such evasions of responsibility from private companies, but it’s especially disconcerting to see them coming from a publicly funded, land-grant university.. Iowa State University is one of America’s most respected agricultural schools and, as such, its administrators and faculty should be held to a high standard of transparency and accountability.. It’s fair for Dean Acker to highlight ISU’s change of heart on the AgriSol project, if indeed they have had one.. But the people of Iowa — not to mention the refugees of Katumba — deserve an honest explanation for ISU’s part in this deal, and not just shameless denials..

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  • Title: Print | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Print.. Hedge Funds Buy Ethiopian Farms at $1 an Acre.. Sunday Times.. Will African Farmland Yield the Elusive Alpha for Portfolios.. Forbes.. The Secret Sale of South Sudan.. Times.. The New African Land Grab.. Al Jazeera.. Land Investment Deals in Africa: Say No Way!.. Pambazuka News.. Meet The Millionaires And Billionaires Suddenly Buying Tons Of Land In Africa.. Business Insider.. Sierra Leone Opposition Urges Scrapping of Land Deals.. Agence France Presse.. Massive Land Grabs in Africa by U.. Hedge Funds and Universities.. San Francisco Bay View.. Kofi Annan Urges Sustainable Farming to Avert Food Crises.. Joy News/Ghana.. En Sierra Leone, les Multinationales Font Main  ...   Permanent Disaster.. FAO Media Centre.. Banana Republic, Africa-Style.. Daily Iowan.. Les Universités Américaines s’Offrent des Terres.. Courrier International.. Petition Calls for Halt to New Land Grab in Africa.. Irish Times.. Colleges Involved in Land Grabs.. Daily Pennsylvanian.. Swiss Commodities Trader Expands Into Ethanol in Africa.. New York Times.. US Agro-Tech Firm Grabbing Land in Tanzania.. East African.. Land Grabs – There Is No Idle Land In Africa.. Modern Ghana.. In Africa Ivy League Universities Involved In Land Grabs - In India Its A War On Farmers.. Pages.. « first.. ‹ previous.. ….. 7.. 8.. 9.. 10.. 11.. 12.. 13.. 14.. 15.. next ›.. last »..

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