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  • Title: Africa, Act Or Lose Agric-Business To Land Grabbers | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Africa, Act Or Lose Agric-Business To Land Grabbers.. November 14, 2011.. Source:.. Nigeria Exchange.. View Original.. By Farouk Martins.. Tanzania is the case in point of how land grabbers are going to turn Africa land into what Africans neglect to do for themselves.. Africa did it in the days of cocoa farmers in Ghana at the time of Nkrumah; expanded to food crops and meat production.. As Awolowo in Nigeria’s Western Region whose industrial achievements were known as first in Africa.. Since most of the gold and diamond were looted as oil today, both turned their parts of Africa into cooperatives primary food industries with small entrepreneur family farmers.. So were groundnut pyramids under Ahmadu Bello in the North; palm oil and coal power in Eastern Nigeria under Okpara.. But Nyerere’s Ujamaa was murdered before it could even succeed.. 99 years leasers have replaced insightful African leaders with corporate bums demanding free land, tax breaks, unresticted immigration of staff and profit out.. The same corporate interest that made sure Nyerere did not succeed in Tanzania is back as Kilomo Kwaza Agriculture First, to do what Africans can and had done: arable land into world food basket at foreign dictated prize; and corn into biofuel for machines.. The blue print of big corporations to grab Africa arable land was a point of discussion recently at Harvard University where Oakland Institute came to sensitize students to land grab in Tanzania.. The panel included Anuradha Mittal and Jeff Furman that pleaded to students to see through the placard of deceit of do-gooders that are actually out to rape Africa for more than 30% returns in profit for their shareholders.. So corporations peddle fat returns on poor people to Ivy Leagues to invest some of their endowments.. It is always said if you can hold your nose, you can make a killing profit in Africa; arable lands too? These are the same companies that introduced genetically modified crops to Indian farmers forcing them into loans they could not pay the banks back.. In the process they lost their lands in foreclosure and resorted to suicide since everything they had was invested in rosy projection for shareholders’ benefit.. In Iowa USA small entrepreneur independent farmers have lost business to big corporations widening income inequality.. Whenever these new generation of African politicians go out of the Continent lying that their frequent trips to Europe and America is to attract foreign investment, Africans must be leery.. These politicians talk about free trade zones that will generate jobs when in fact the only jobs for Africans are low skill poor paying positions while most of the well paying  ...   billion dollars since the seventies are paid hold about half of the loans in their private account outside the Continent.. A relationship that allow politicians, their cronies to negotiate; and agents that get commission or position making sure the loans are paid back.. These Africans hold half as assets in private bands while liabilities, responsibilities and debts, are publicly owned by their people as debtor-countries.. So, African looters hold Africans to ransom in foreign countries.. These foreign countries can confiscate their assets as illegitimate money laundering since the method of their acquisition will never be tolerated in their local transactions.. Indeed, the Government of Abacha in Nigeria repudiated these odious loans, only to be paid back in interest and penalty by succeeding governments.. In return, the Country was given triple AAA rating by conniving agencies whose interest aligns with lending banks.. The difference between these big corporations either from China giving loans to African countries that are secured by long term contract to control mineral resources and those criticizing China in the western world is choosing between a bad and a worse deal.. It is up to Africans to stand up for themselves, especially youths with greater stake in the future of their Continent.. The steel Industry built by the Russians in Nigeria has never been profitable.. Indeed, it has turned into a sink hole draining other resources.. Ghana lost its “golden” base to foreign corporations and advisers.. World criticism of China on long term contract as land grabber has been helpful since some of the loans have been forgiven in deals with poorer countries and better deals to help Tanzania built gas-fired power plants, natural gas pipeline, mine coal and iron ore.. On the other hand, no amount of criticism, not even from the Arch Bishop of the Church of England, changed the minds of Paris Club countries when they took the biggest transfer of payment by odious loan from an African Country to wealthy nations.. If Africans cannot turn their greatest strength of arable land into local agricultural power house using all the technologies from home universities, foreigners will do it with the help of unscrupulous politicians and international Africans agents working for World Bank, IMF and other trade organizations.. Africa’s neglect in pursuit of prestigious edifice is their gain.. Developing countries want free and fair trade where they can sell their finished agricultural products at their own price.. 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: Students Organize Against University’s Investments in Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Students Organize Against University’s Investments in Africa.. November 10, 2011.. Vanderbilt Hustler.. By Kyle Blain.. Students and community members gather at a "teach-in" in Buttrick Hall Wednesday.. (Kevin Barnett).. A group of students is calling for the university to divest from hedge funds involved in African agricultural development, following reports the investment is forcing small-farmers in Africa off the land.. Around 50 students and community members gathered Wednesday night at a "teach-in" in Buttrick Hall.. The teach-in focused on the history of land grabs in Africa and the details of Vanderbilt's investment in Africa.. The Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food organized and led the event that was largely based on a report released in June by the Oakland Institute.. In the report, the California-based policy think tank implicated Vanderbilt in an African “land grabbing” investment scheme.. The report is based on investigations of investors, purchase contracts, business plans and maps of the region.. According to the report, Vanderbilt, along with Harvard and other U.. S.. colleges, is invested in African land development through London-based hedge fund Emergent asset management, which runs on of Africa’s largest land acquisition funds.. The report claims Emergent’s investments in African land are forcing small farmers off their lands and creating insecurity in the global food system while not fulfilling promises of increased native employment and development.. The investments, according to the report, are aimed at developing the land for agricultural exports.. Junior Sebastion Lasaosa Rogers is a member of the Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food and led  ...   investigation and due diligence, but social benefits are not the number one priority.. Provost Richard McCarty said to the best of his knowledge, the university always looks to investment opportunities with an eye towards the effects it will have on the local population.. "Investment in third-world economies does help the local people too," McCarty said.. "There is a negative side, but there is also a positive side and I believe we are on the side of having a positive impact.. ".. Representatives from the Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair food met with McCarty earlier this week.. During the teach-in, McCarty was quoted on a slide as saying it was inappropriate for students to have input in investment strategy.. According to McCarty, the meetings went well and were successful in clarifying the relevant issues.. The campaign plans to deliver a petition to the Board of Trust at 2:45 p.. m.. today.. The Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food is set to meet with Wright in early December.. Senior Ari Schwartz said the organization cannot assume the university will respond favorably to its requests.. "We have to keep on with awareness, we have to keep reaching different parts of the Vanderbilt community to see if we can build a bigger coalition," Schwartz said.. Freshman Ben Terpstra attended the teach-in and said the event convinced him to take action.. "Vanderbilt's name is being used by Emergent to make themselves look cleaner and legitimate, which automatically stains our reputation and the reputation of everyone who goes here," Terpstra said..

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  • Title: Meet the New Farmers | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Meet the New Farmers.. New Internationalist.. Large swathes of African farmland are being snapped up by investors.. Anuradha Mittal goes to see for herself how the ‘AgInvesting’ Industry is delivering Mozambican fields straight into financiers’ portfolios.. Read the full article.. NI447_Meet_the_farmers.. pdf..

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  • Title: Agricultural Investment in Africa - Development or Land Grabbing? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Agricultural Investment in Africa - Development or Land Grabbing?.. November 7, 2011.. Deutche Welle.. A Swiss company has embarked on a project leasing land from rural villages in Sierra Leone to produce European biofuel.. Some say this is agricultural development, but others warn it's opportunistic land grabbing.. Producing biofuel is highly controversial.. Lungi Acre is an impoverished farming village in the heart of rural Sierra Leone.. It is home to about 600 villagers, who live in simple mud huts.. There is a gazebo for village meetings, a few palm trees, cooking fires, but as yet, no electricity or running water.. Until recently the villagers cultivated rice, beans and manioc.. But this all changed when the Swiss company Addaz began leasing land around the village.. Villagers initially welcomed the project and gladly gave up their land for cultivation.. Addax executives had promised to invest in the area building hospitals and schools, generating up to 4,000 well-paid jobs and providing a modern agricultural education.. Farmers were also offered money and other, better fields, as compensation for their land.. Around 600 people live in Lungi Acre.. But today the farmers feel cheated.. Kneeling on the ground, Alusine Koromo examines the exhausted bone-dry earth between his thumb and forefinger.. "The soil here is of no value to us anymore," he says.. "Once the field has become dry, there is nothing more we can do with it.. There is no agriculture here anymore.. Nothing.. We have nothing left here.. Look at our school hut, we don't even have a teacher for our children.. And we are working here for low wages with no waterproof or protective clothing.. Like many men in the village, Alusine is employed as a casual worker with Addax.. Hunched over the land, he chops down bushes and roots, clearing the forest to make way for the sugarcane.. It's a tough job.. Alusine earns 10,000 leones a day, around two US dollars.. It isn't even enough for a sack of rice.. Leaning on his walking stick, Brima Serry, the old village chief, is at a loss: "I ask you, how on earth are we supposed to survive here?".. Return on investments.. But Addax says it can't understand these complaints.. The Swiss investors claim they have done their homework and kept the needs of the population in mind.. "This is clearly a commercial project," says Jörgen Sandstrom, project manager at Addax.. "We want to earn money, but we have also invested a great deal.. The fields are cleared for growing sugarcane.. "We are supported by development banks who want to see a return on the money they have lent.. But they also demand that we develop the region which we are working in," he adds.. "It is our aim that the people who are affected by our project are left better off than they were before it began.. It's a noble objective.. Addax invests some 285 million euros ($391 million) in Sierra Leone.. Of that, the development banks shoulder more than 130 million euros.. This money finances the enormous sugarcane plantations, training workers, the ethanol plant and the small power plant that generates biomass energy with has a 15 megawatt capacity..  ...   found that heavy agricultural machinery was being operated on the plantation, that fungicides and pesticides were being sprayed as well as the herbicide Glyphosat, a chemical mace that scientists suspect could be harmful to animals, crops, water sources and ultimately humans.. The report did not disclose, however, how much water was being tapped from nearby rivers like the Rokel, and how much waste would be pumped back in.. Agronomist Momoh Lavahun is concerned.. "We don't have the resources in Sierra Leone to carry out our own studies," he says.. "If a foreign expert comes in and presents his analysis to the government saying that the whole thing is environmentally friendly, no one here is able to contradict him.. What will happen to the Rokel River?.. Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, Sierra Leone's private sector advisor to the president, likes to describe Addax as a flagship of the country's agricultural investment policy.. It was he who negotiated the contract with Addax on behalf of the government.. "This is the biggest agricultural investment Sierra Leone has ever seen," Robbin-Coker boasts.. "Addax is a pioneer in the production of bio-ethanol.. We hope to see more companies like Addax come along.. Without a doubt we have enough land and water to accommodate them.. Industry lobbyists avoid using the term "land grabbing," preferring instead to refer to "win-win situations," "technology transfers," and a symbolic partnership between government, country and investor.. This is also the favored terminology of Addax project manager Jörgen Sandstrom.. He firmly believes that large investments in agriculture further development in Africa.. "Agriculture must become more industrial, and wealthy investors can provide the technology," Sandstrom says.. "It is no surprise to me therefore that organizations such as the World Bank advocate this approach.. Time bomb.. But herein lays the problem.. Land grabbing as a stepping stone to development has been publically legitimized by institutions such as the World Bank.. There's an increasing trend toward land-leasing which carries the cachet of being in the name of development.. Canadian author Joan Baxter, who researches agricultural investment in Africa for the Oakland Institute think tank, has observed the change with trepidation.. Sugarcane as far as the eye can see.. "It is as if all African presidents have been seduced by the doctrine of the World Bank Group," she says.. "They think that large investments are the solution to all their problems.. I can almost hear how they beg - take our resources, take our water, take our country! As if that is a development strategy! But no one can tell me what exactly they mean when they talk about development!".. Baxter isn't concerned with a sweeping critique of neo-liberal approaches or the private sector.. She does not cling to the romantic cliché of a small farmer plowing his field.. She is concerned that land grabbing could be a potential time bomb.. "In five to 10 years, people will realize the consequences of land grabbing.. It will lead to conflict; the next bad harvest and the next food crisis are just around the corner… Starvation will increase.. It's a disaster.. It's a disaster that won't have come without fair warning.. Author: Alexander Göbel / ccp.. Editor: Nancy Isenson..

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  • Title: Dispossession and Displacement Fears Voiced at South Sudan's Food-for-Export Farming Deals | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Dispossession and Displacement Fears Voiced at South Sudan s Food-for-Export Farming Deals.. November 6, 2011.. Financial Times.. Katrina Manson in Nairobi.. When farmers start to plant chickpeas in a remote spot of South Sudan this month, they may well sow the seeds of a backlash.. South Sudan seceded from the north in July and this Egyptian-run plantation is the most advanced of several big-ticket farming deals detractors decry as "land grabs" in the world's newest nation.. Foreign investors are buying and leasing land across east Africa, from Ethiopia and Uganda to Sudan and Tanzania, often to grow cereals, vegetables and biofuels for export.. Campaign groups say such food-for-export schemes will displace people, dispossess them of their land and degrade the environment, ultimately increasing the chances of conflict in fragile regions.. Egyptian private equity firm Citadel Capital, which has leased 259,500 acres for farming in South Sudan's oil-rich Unity State, is among dozens of foreigners to have struck large land deals in the new country for everything from forestry to tourism.. Many such deals were struck even before independence.. Agreements made since 2007 amount to nine per cent of South Sudan's surface land, at 5.. 74m hectares, says a report this year by Norwegian People's Aid.. Citadel managing director Karim Sadek denies that the land deal is exploitative and says the food grown will be sold locally.. "The big bad wolf theory - the land-grab proposition - I don't see it applying," Mr Sadek told the Financial Times.. He said that the government of South Sudan approved the deal Citadel signed with Unity State and Citadel will pay the state government $125,000 a year for its 30-year lease.. "We're not owning the land, this is a rental; we have produced a sizeable investment so far that will be seen in the field; and the plan is for this project to sell locally.. The plantation has to date provided little employment locally with the 60 or so staff at the Citadel site mostly Zimbabwean.. Mr Sadek says Citadel subsidiaries have already invested $24m, mostly on equipment, and hope to scale up planting from the 1,500-acre trial  ...   cent of revenues from oil.. At the same time, it needs to subdue local militia groups and to feed an army that soaks up 40 per cent of state spending.. Citadel plans to negotiate local food sales directly with the government, which - critics say - could mean maize is diverted to feed soldiers, not civilians.. "People didn't fight Khartoum [the north] only to lose their land," says Anuradha Mittal, executive director of Oakland Institute think-tank, who has visited the Citadel site and will next month report on the impact of large land deals on South Sudan.. Ms Mittal fears some land licences are acquired merely as a conduit to explore for oil and minerals.. "It's very important to halt and step back, [to] protect the valuable resources of the country instead of having these free-riders who are rushing in.. Some foreign investors have already found South Sudan a difficult environment to work in.. US company Jarch Capital struck a deal for 800,000 hectares.. The deal, which lacks government approval, has since stalled.. US company Nile Trading and Development negotiated a lease to grow biofuels along with mining exploration rights, but it too is on hold after local leaders complained they "unanimously with strong terms disavow or deny the land lease agreement", arguing in a July letter it was leased "behind the backs of the entire community".. The 49-year tenure on this deal also outstrips the 30-year cap set by the Investment Promotion Act.. South Sudan's community-owned lands may battle to retain ownership of their lands.. "The communities say they'll chase them away or there'll be conflict," says Ms Mittal.. Investors such as Citadel argue that they offer an opportunity South Sudan should not ignore.. Mr Sadek argues South Sudan would lose out if it were not to develop virgin land.. "This is not the Riviera; we're not talking about real estate value here, we're talking about productivity," he says.. "The land can remain as it is for the next 200 years, producing nothing, or you go in and you do serious risk money and produce - and for that you need to be rewarded..

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  • Title: Regulating the Rush for Land | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Regulating the Rush for Land.. October 31, 2011.. IPS.. By Jessica McDiarmid.. There are fears that a "land rush" in the developing world is leading to hunger, conflict and human rights abuses.. Credit:Isaiah Esipisu/IPS.. FREETOWN, Oct 31, 2011 (IPS) - The adoption of international guidelines to regulate so-called land grabs has been pushed to next year after negotiators failed to agree on conditions for large-scale land investments and enforcement.. The guidelines, in the making for several years, were sparked by fears that a "land rush" is leading to hunger, conflict and human rights abuses.. More and more investors have flocked to the developing world over the past decade, snapping up huge tracts of farmland.. Investment has intensified since the 2008 food and fuel price crisis.. Once in place, the.. United Nations’s Committee on World Food Security.. guidelines are meant to protect people, mainly in poor countries such as Sierra Leone, from "land grabbing".. Earlier in October, a brief flurry of attention from media and civil society surrounded the sessions of the Committee on World Food Security in Rome, where a stamp of approval on the guidelines on tenure of land, fisheries and forests was expected.. However, Olivier De Schutter, the U.. N.. special rapporteur on the right to food, said in an email following the meetings that details of conditions for large-scale investments remained an unresolved sticking point.. "Another major potential difficulty will be how the (voluntary guidelines) shall be followed up on," said De Schutter.. Another week of negotiations should take place in January or February to hammer out a consensus on guidelines that will "hopefully" be adopted early next year.. "These are complex issues and I'm not surprised more time is required than expected," said De Schutter.. "I think it is remarkable we are heading towards a very detailed text despite the wide range of interests involved, in which decisions are made not by vote but by consensus.. ".. A September 2011 report by Oxfam International estimated as many as 227 million hectares of land in developing countries has been sold or leased since 2001.. Most of that acquisition has occurred since 2008 and most has been into the hands of international investors, says the Land and Power report.. "There is a fear that arable lands will be scarce in the future and the price of land will continue to increase," said De Schutter.. "There is a sudden realisation that land is something that is in increasingly short supply.. "So there is now a rush for land.. De Schutter said developing countries agree to sell or lease out large amounts of land in exchange for infrastructure and agricultural development - things cash-strapped governments could not afford on their own.. "They (feel) they have no choice," said De Schutter.. And corruption remains rife in many countries,  ...   nearly half a million hectares of Sierra Leonean farmland had been leased or was under negotiation, while the World Food Programme estimates that about half the population remains food insecure.. The Sierra Leone country report of Oakland Institute's Understanding Land Deals in Africa series suggested that large-scale land acquisition is characterised by a lack of transparency and disclosure, weak legal frameworks and confusion surrounding land availability.. "Land is being cultivated for agrofuel production as opposed to food production for local markets, raising serious doubts about the value of investments for local food security," says the report.. The report stressed the conditions "are ripe for exploitation and conflict" and called for international institutions and donor partners to withdraw support for large-scale land acquisitions in the country.. Earlier in October, dozens of people were arrested in southern Sierra Leone following protests against a land deal.. Locals said they were not consulted or given information regarding the deal, which leased 12,500 hectares to a Belgian company, Socfin.. More than 100 protesters blocked access to the site.. Joseph Rahall, of the Sierra Leonean non-governmental organisation.. Green Scenery.. , said local government and landowners are vulnerable to exploitation.. "Sierra Leone is very new in this business, the business of large-scale investment in land," said Rahall.. "I know there could be a balance, if it is properly thought out.. But we have not, we're just jumping into it without critical analysis, without proper research.. He stressed any principles adopted internationally need enforcement in Africa and cannot be something companies just say they adhere to.. Employment and economic development is simply "the bell they ring to sweet talk people into accepting these things," said Rahall.. A 2009 report, "Land grab or development opportunity? Agricultural investment and international land deals in Africa", noted land acquisitions have the potential to result in loss of land for large numbers of people.. "As much of the rural population in Africa crucially depend on land for their livelihoods and food security, loss of land is likely to have major negative impacts on local people," said the 130-page report by the U.. N.. Food and Agriculture Organization.. , the.. International Fund for Agricultural Development.. and the.. International Institute for Environment and Development.. "These may only partly be compensated by the creation of permanent or temporary jobs.. De Schutter said benefits are rarely spread across the board to the most needy and decisions are not necessarily transparent or in the interests of the poor.. "In general, the development of plantations increases inequality, instead of decreasing it," said De Schutter.. "The majority will not benefit.. The guidelines on the security of tenure of land, fisheries and forests "could be a significant advance," said De Schutter.. "It can make it more difficult for governments to ignore the demands of the local community.. " (END)..

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  • Title: University Accused of Participating in African Land Grabs | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: University Accused of Participating in African Land Grabs.. October 27, 2011.. By Kyle Blaine.. Mounting evidence suggests Vanderbilt University’s investment in emerging African markets may be creating a commodity crisis in the region, even as university officials and a hedge fund manager directly involved in the fund tout their potential for high returns and local benefits.. The Oakland Institute, a California-based policy thinktank, released a report in June entitled “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa” implicating Vanderbilt in an African “land grabbing” investment scheme.. “The same financial firms that drove us into a global recession by inflating the real estate bubble through risky financial maneuvers are now doing the same with the world’s food supply,” said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.. “In Africa this is resulting in the displacement of small farmers, environmental devastation, water loss and further political instability such as the food riots that preceded the Tunisian and Egyptian revolutions.. In response to the report, Vice-Chancellor for Investments Matthew Wright called into question the truth of the report and said university investments undergo a thorough process of investigation and due diligence.. However, Wright said his primary role is to serve the financial interests of the university.. “The social (benefits) are not the number one priority.. This institution requires us to provide a contribution to it so that it can maintain its quality of education and the quality offering it’s providing,” Wright said.. “We can have the best social portfolio in the world but at the end of the day, if we’re not growing the portfolio, we have to have those calls and those letters go out in the summer  ...   letter sent in June to Chief Financial Officer Brett Sweet and Wright by 47 faculty and students said the investment practices alleged by the report “erode the livelihoods of thousands” and conflict with the university’s values.. “These projects displace thousand of people and monopolize natural resources, especially water.. The claims of the London-based firm, Emergent, that it is investing in agricultural production and employment are highly questionable to say the least,” the letter read.. Professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology Lesley Gill, the lead signatory on the letter, was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.. The doubts expressed in the letter have been expressed by national media as well.. A New York Times article published on Sept.. 21 said that the world’s poorest people are being thrown off their land to make way for foreign investors to grow food on a commercial scale and exported to countries overseas as part of a global scramble for land.. The Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food will host a “Land Grabs Teach-in” on Wednesday, Nov.. 9 at 8 p.. to promote awareness of the issue.. The teach-in will be in Buttrick 101.. “We hope that Vanderbilt students will come and learn about the issue of land grabs in Africa and what the alternatives are for Vanderbilt, and what we can do to promote fair food both here and in Africa,” said member of the Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food Ben Wibking.. “As a campaign and a student concerned about the issue, we want to emphasize the right of small farmers in their communities to be able to have democratic control of their community resources.. ”..

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  • Title: Mittal and Mousseau Discuss Land Acquisition | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Mittal and Mousseau Discuss Land Acquisition.. Stanford Daily.. Correction: A previous version of this article stated, “Mittal described the land grab situation in Tanzania, where U.. investors, including Tom Harkin, an Iowa senator, bought large amounts of land.. Soil sampling and other tests were done by Iowa State University.. ” In fact, Tom Harkin is not involved.. Anuradha Mittal and Frederic Mousseau of the.. spoke Wednesday evening about farmland investment in the southern hemisphere at an event hosted at the Black Community Services Center.. Mittal and Mousseau are the executive director and policy director, respectively, at the Oakland Institute, a local policy think-tank.. Particular emphasis was given to current “land grab” deals in Ethiopia and other African countries, which threaten to displace hundreds of thousands of people.. Isabella Akker ’13 began planning the talk this past summer and contacted the Oakland Institute for their expertise.. The event was headed by the ASSU Food Cabinet and co-sponsored by the.. Freeman Spogli Institute.. (FSI).. “It’s a matter of awareness,” Akker said.. Akker added that many students from the University go on into investment and hedge fund management and should thus be aware of “what investment in agriculture can involve.. Large scale land acquisition involves countries with large populations, such as China, South Korea and India, buying productive farm land in the southern hemisphere, namely South America and Africa, to farm their food.. The event started with a video about the current situation of African farmland, showing interviews of local farmers who had been told to dismantle their homes  ...   land deals have occurred in Sudan, Zambia and primarily Ethiopia, where 13 million people are now dependent on food aid.. The government of Ethiopia plans on selling an additional seven million hectares of land.. “Food goes in and food goes out,” Mittal said.. Mousseau spoke about the “myth of development.. ” During the land acquisition process, investors held community meetings with the local farmers, promising education, food and water.. No official contracts were produced from the meetings.. “You’ve all seen Avatar,” Mousseau said.. “That’s what these people are facing today.. Mousseau claimed that there is greater potential in countries investing in their lands rather than selling them.. “We’ve seen the farmers’ ability to improve productivity,” he said.. Mittal and Mousseau both brought up University investment in the land acquisitions of South American and Africa.. According to Mittal and Mousseau, Harvard made a recent large investment in a land acquisition deal in Africa.. Harvard’s finance club is meeting in November to discuss the issue.. Other universities with investment in land acquisition include Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins.. Mittal also encouraged attendees to write letters to companies like AgriSol that are involved with land acquisition.. She stated thousands of letters have been sent to the prime minister of Tanzania and to U.. senators regarding the Tanzania land grab deal, including one from the Sierra Club on behalf of its members.. Both Mittal and Mousseau emphasized the importance of student involvement.. Mittal particularly stressed increasing awareness of the deals and who exactly is involved.. “Keep shining the light,” she said..

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  • Title: Adding Agrisol to the List of Land Grabbers in Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Adding Agrisol to the List of Land Grabbers in Africa.. October 21, 2011.. ONE Campaign.. Thanks to the comprehensive property rights that we enjoy in the US today, our homes and livelihoods are protected from being seized by large corporations.. Unfortunately, throughout much of Africa, this threat is a daily reality.. Although laws designed to protect individuals’ and communities’ land rights exist, governments are often too weak to properly enforce them, resulting in overrule by foreign investors and large companies looking to buy out farming areas with very little consideration for those who already inhabit them.. Though these land grabs are common in a number of countries, the attempt by US agriculture giant.. Agrisol Energy.. to acquire 800,000 acres of land in Tanzania is perhaps one of the most disturbing recent examples of the practice.. Currently under negotiation by the corporation’s co-founder Bruce  ...   proposals, and has exposed the destructive nature of Agrisol’s deal despite their best attempts to market it as a transformational tool to modernize local farming.. Because the deal will displace so many stable communities without compensation or their consent, it is clear that the acquisition will have few, if any, positive outcomes for Tanzanians or Burundian refugees who have settled in the area.. And now, given the crucial role that agriculture plays in ensuring long-term growth for food security, improved nutrition and trade, the need to take action against Agrisol is an immediate and urgent one.. Stay tuned for more updates.. And take a minute to.. read more about land grabs.. and learn what you can do to stop them on the Oakland Institute’s website today.. Putting an end to this practice could help save the livelihoods –- and lives –- of thousands..

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  • Title: Vanderbilt Dealings in Africa Demand Transparency | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Vanderbilt Dealings in Africa Demand Transparency.. October 20, 2011.. Vanderbilt Orbis.. Since June 2011, American universities have been operating through British hedge funds to buy or lease vast areas of African farmland.. Reports of land acquisitions in seven African countries revealed that Vanderbilt and other American universities with large endowment funds have invested heavily in African land in the past few years.. While foreign investors, universities in this case, profit from such land grabs, the people who originally live and work off the land are forced to find other means of livelihood.. The Oakland Institute, a California-based policy think-tank whose mission is to increase national and international public participation in social, economic, and environmental issues, released an informational briefing, entitled “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa.. ” It stated that Emergent Asset Management (Emergent), a private limited liability company based in the UK, claims to be managing the largest agricultural fund in Africa.. When Emergent’s operations begin to earn profits through the increase in the value of the purchased land, the universities that have made investments will also see profit.. The universities in question, including Harvard University, Spelman College, and Vanderbilt, have declined to comment on this matter in the past.. Furthermore, it would appear that most students at Vanderbilt do not know much about Vanderbilt’s recent land grabbing practices..  ...   but he declined and referred us to the private response that one of the signatories of the original letter received.. Wibking added that the members of the student campaign meet at least once a week where they report on efforts to reach out to other student groups on campus in order to educate students and faculty and try to get them involved.. “We also talk about their long-term strategy in order to push the administration to respond to student and faculty concerns,” Wibking said.. “We try to model it on a consensus-base where we don’t have a leader or a president where one person doesn’t have decision-making authority.. As far as what the group does on a whole, we try to have equal say.. In addition, students in Professor Lesley Gill’s anthropology class about activism and social change will be hosting an educational forum about this issue in late November.. Although their project is still in development, the students hope to raise awareness among the student body and encourage them to obtain more information.. “I think the university should accept responsibility for its investment,” Wibking said.. “They should provide evidence that what they’re doing is ethical and beneficial to the populations in Africa or divest and make a public apology and promise that future investments will not take peasants’ land..

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  • Title: Imminent Land Grab Threatens 162,000 People in Tanzania | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Imminent Land Grab Threatens 162,000 People in Tanzania.. October 18, 2011.. New Business Ethiopia.. Oakland Institute launches campaign against Iowa-based investor Bruce Rastetter and fellow investors in the industrial agricultural corporation.. AgriSol.. Energy’s attempt to acquire 325,000 hectares of land in Tanzania that is home to 162,000 people.. According to.. the institute.. which launched a campaign against the investmen, the proposed site is inhabited by former refugees from neighboring Burundi.. "Most of the residents, several generations of families, who have successfully re-established their lives by developing and farming the land over the last 40 years, will be displaced against their will.. The Inhabitants will lose their livelihoods and their community as a result of this non-socially responsible agricultural investment.. Once they are gone, Agrisol Energy will move in.. Despite rising international criticism of the proposed plan to evict the residents in the proposed lease areas for foreign investors,  ...   resources with “modern” farming practices, including the use of genetically modified crops.. “Unfortunately, AgriSol’s plans--which include seeking Strategic Investor Status from the Tanzanian government that would grant them tax holidays and other critical investment incentives (including waiver of duties on agricultural and industrial equipment supplies, export guarantees, and certainty for use of GMO and Biotech and production of biofuels), while generating tremendous profit for the investors will do little, if anything, for Tanzanians.. On the contrary, it is likely that if this land deal goes ahead it will set a precedent for future land rights abuses,” the institute noted.. “We fear that this project could move quickly forward unless the Tanzanian government and the US investors realize that the world is watching.. We ask that you join the Oakland Institute in holding Bruce Rastetter and AgriSol team accountable and send them the message that proceeding with their plans is..

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