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  • Title: Hedge Funds Buy Ethiopian Farms at $1 an Acre | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Hedge Funds Buy Ethiopian Farms at $1 an Acre.. July 24, 2011.. Source:.. Sunday Times.. View Original.. Flora Bagenal Nairobi.. AS BRITAIN prepares to send £38m ($43m) in emergency aid to Ethiopia to fight famine, the Addis Ababa government is selling millions of acres of prime farmland to foreign investors, including British and American hedge funds.. More than 7m acres is to be put up for sale, in addition to nearly 7m acres already sold.. The land, which includes arable land, pasture, forests and wetland, goes for as little as $1 (£0.. 69) an acre on a 100-year lease.. Much of it will be irrigated by a network of canals fed by Gibe III, a controversial dam still under construction on the Omo River.. Foreign acquisition is forcing local communities, many of them semi-nomadic, off their traditional lands and depriving them of access to water sources.. Chinese, Indian and Saudi Arabian agribusinesses have all bought land in Africa to protect against future food shortages at home.. According to a report by the Oakland Institute, a California-based environmental think tank, British and American hedge funds are behind many of the biggest land purchases.. The report claims many of the deals are unregulated and opaque, and lead to the rights of local farmers and peasants being violated.. "Many of the deals will provide few jobs and force many thousands of people off the land," said Anuradha Mittal, Oakland's director.. Human rights groups say the land sales will do nothing to address Ethiopia's long-term food crisis.. "No one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans.. These deals lead only to dollars in the pockets of corrupt  ...   secrecy and locals say they have been threatened with arrest if caught speaking to foreigners about the dam project or the resettlement of local farmers.. "Anyone opposing government development projects will be crushed like a person standing in front of a bulldozer," said a police chief.. Aid workers allege that units from Ethiopian special forces have been arresting young men in areas where the land is being cleared for foreign investors.. In Hana, a small settlement in the southeast, a foreign development worker said scores of locals had been badly beaten by Ethiopian special forces, with at least one left in a coma.. "The trials of these people were very quick, often on doubtful charges, and the sentences seemed more severe than usual.. They are being told if anyone expresses negative opinions about the plantations they will be arrested," he said.. Felix Horne, a consultant for Human Rights Watch, has seen widespread malnutrition in the Gambella region in western Ethiopia, where farmers have been moved off land and left with nowhere to grow their own food.. "I have never seen people so malnourished in this region.. The situation is very bad now and everyone fears it will get worse," he said.. Horne says those who have resisted being moved into government villages have been beaten, arrested and in some cases raped.. He was also told by locals that the government had been withholding food aid from relocated families.. 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: Will African Farmland Yield the Elusive Alpha for Portfolios | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Will African Farmland Yield the Elusive Alpha for Portfolios.. July 8, 2011.. Forbes.. Looking for a 270% return on investment over the next five years? Emergent Asset Management, a London hedge and private equity fund, says it has the perfect investment vehicle for you.. Farmland in sub-Saharan Africa.. (You’ll need €5 million to throw in if you’re an institution and €500,000 if you’re a retail investor.. ).. Right now, Emergent is in the process of fundraising for a new €60 million fund to increase its existing 55,000 hectares of farmland in five countries in sub-Saharan Africa.. According to marketing materials for the Emergent African AgriLand Fund, the fund says it plans to give investors back 30% per year and offer coupons of 8-10% on invested capital.. Emergent’s targets are “very ambitious,” says Steven Kaplan, a professor of finance at the University of Chicago.. Private equity firms target returns between 15% and 30%, he adds.. “There numbers are aspirational, and the investment is risky.. ”.. The risks for Emergent abound.. Chief among them recently: the public relations disaster that they and their investors have already experienced from these Africa-focused funds.. A recent report by the Oakland Institute, an environmental think tank, says that Emergent’s funds are forcing small farmers off ancestral land in Africa.. Read the report.. here.. Although Harvard and Vanderbilt have been cited as among the university endowments invested with Emergent Asset Management’s Africa farmland fund, Harvard’s endowment is not currently an investor, confirmed a spokesperson for Emergent.. Neither Harvard nor Vanderbilt would comment for this  ...   opportunity?.. According to Emergent, land in Africa is 7 times cheaper than the equivalent land in Latin America.. Still, Julian Sinclair the chief investment officer at the €1.. 6 billion London hedge fund Talisman Global Asset Management says his firm has spent several years seeking farmland to buy assuming that commodities prices would continue to rise.. Talisman, he says, has never pulled the trigger.. “Whether it’s Ohio or the Ukraine, it’s difficult to be an effective operator through crop cycles, and prices going up and down.. We’ve seen very little evidence of exceptional operators of farmland,” says Sinclair.. Relatively illiquid assets like farmland and timber are often the domain of universities with billion dollar plus endowments, says Ken Redd, the director of research and policy analysis at the National Association of College and Business Officers that tracks endowment returns.. Private equity and hedge fund investments in Africa are called frontier investments and are described as distinct from emerging market investments.. “Frontier markets, including allocations in Africa, are a newer allocation for our clients, but they’re starting to dip their toes in there,” according to Marjorie Asfour of Cambridge Associates.. “It’s no more than two to three percent of any endowment’s allocation.. ” NACUBO says endowments invest approximately 15-20% of their funds internationally, but the organization does not break out how much its endowments invest in Africa.. In its marketing materials, Emergent says its investments in African farmland have been “profitable” so far, but the fund does not specify whether such profitability is anywhere near 30% so far..

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  • Title: The Secret Sale of South Sudan | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: The Secret Sale of South Sudan.. July 2, 2011.. Times.. Investors are buying up huge tracts of fertile land in Southern Sudan, Tristan McConnell reports from Juba.. A week before Southern Sudan's independence, investors have already bought up nearly a tenth of the new nation in a series of huge land deals that researchers say cheat the nacent nation of its birthright.. Read the PDF..

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  • Title: The New African Land Grab | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: The New African Land Grab.. June 30, 2011.. Al Jazeera.. by Joan Baxter.. Foreign investors, with the World Bank, are acquiring vast tracks of land in Africa - at the expense of local farmers.. The "town" chief of the village seemed to be in a state of shock.. Sitting on the front porch of his mud and thatch home in Pujehun District in southern Sierra Leone, he struggled to find words that could explain how he had signed away the land that sustained his family and his community.. He said he was coerced by his Paramount Chief, told that whether he agreed, or not, his land would still be taken and his small oil palm stand destroyed.. He didn't know the name of the foreign investor nor did he know that it planned to lease up to 35,000 hectares of farmland in the area to establish massive oil palm and rubber plantations.. Haltingly, he said that without his land, he might as well take his leave of the village.. By that he meant that he was as good as dead.. This is a ground-level view of a large land deal in Africa, where in recent years foreign investors have acquired tens of millions of hectares of farmland.. In 2009 alone, the World Bank estimates that around the world foreign investors acquired about 56 million hectares of farmland - an area about the size of France - by long-term lease or by purchase.. Farmland has become a favourite "new asset" class for private investors; "like gold, only better" according to Capital Crisis.. The World Bank has its own term for the new global land rush.. It calls it "agro-investment" and has developed seven voluntary principles to make the land deals "responsible".. Critics of the phenomenon - farmers' movements, human rights, civil society, women's and environmental organisations, and many scientists - call it "land grabbing".. They say there is no way that the taking over vast areas of smallholder farmland and transforming it into giant industrial plantations and agribusiness operations can ever be "responsible".. They argue that land grabs are throwing millions of farming families and indigenous peoples off their land.. They say that it's not just land that's being grabbed, but also precious water resources.. The investors are hedge funds, private equity funds (that are attracting even prestigious American universities with their promises of high returns), pension funds, banks, multinational corporations, and sovereign wealth funds seeking to sow capital and grow profits.. They are also Middle Eastern and Asian nations anxious to secure their own future food security in the face of climate change, with dwindling water resources and arable land.. An estimated 70 per cent of the demand for farmland is in Africa, where land is cheap and traditional communal ownership makes people particularly vulnerable.. Sometimes this can be done for the cost of a few gifts to traditional chiefs and grandiose promises of bringing "development".. Since 2009, in the wake of the food, fuel and financial crises of 2007-2008, the rush for farmland has only accelerated.. But it's impossible to know just how much more of Africa's fertile land has now been taken by investors.. Corruption and profit.. Recent in-depth research by the US-based Oakland Institute of land deals in seven African countries found that most of the land deals lack transparency, making it almost impossible to calculate their total area.. Lack of transparency is a great enabler of corruption.. Yet "transparency, good governance, and a proper enabling environment" is one of the seven principles laid out by the World Bank for "responsible agro-investment".. The Oakland Institute found that most of the land deals do not respect any of these principles.. This is ironic, to say the least.. More than any other institution or agency, the World Bank Group has been promoting direct foreign investment in Africa, and enabling the farmland rush.. Its private sector arm, the  ...   some still struggling to rebuild after long conflicts, such as Sierra Leone and Liberia, find themselves competing with each other to offer foreign investors ever sweeter deals on their arable land, so desperately needed for local food production.. The investment promotion agencies quote figures for the vast amounts of "uncultivated" or under-utilised" land in their countries, often without offering any recent land use studies to back up these figures or a thought for the millions of people who depend on that land for their livelihoods.. Nor do they take into consideration the crucial importance of small family farms, which employ more than half the people and produce 80 per cent of the food on the continent.. Smallholder farms tend to be extremely biodiverse, involving fallow periods to protect and restore soils and water resources.. Not in Africa to help.. Conspicuously absent in the talk about the purported benefits of the land deals is serious discussion of protection of local people, human and environmental health, water resources, biodiversity, human rights, food security, and free prior informed consent of the affected communities.. As the Oakland Institute research shows, many of the land deals are for enormous plantations of palm oil and sugarcane for agrofuels, or for the production of cut flowers and a handful of staple crops - all for export.. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has just released a "new paradigm" for agriculture, called "Save and Grow".. Echoing other recent major studies, it finds that agro-ecological agriculture that emphasises conservation of soil and water resources and reduced use of agrochemicals can "enable low-income farm families in developing countries - some 2.. 5 billion people - to maximise yields and invest the savings in their health and education.. ".. It states unequivocally that the industrial agricultural model of the Green Revolution, involving monocultures, high-yielding [commercial] crop varieties, heavy use of agrochemicals and mechanisation and irrigation, has "degraded fertile land and depleted groundwater, provoked pest upsurges, eroded biodiversity, and polluted air, soil and water.. And yet this unsustainable industrial agricultural model is the one being promoted by many African governments, donor agencies and foreign investors.. African farmers, left high and dry by their own governments during the decades of austerity programs imposed by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, do need investment and support.. They desperately need decent roads and access to local markets, processing equipment to add value to their own diverse farm produce, storage and drying facilities to prevent post-harvest losses, and basic amenities such as schools and health centres and water wells to improve rural lives, so that farming communities can thrive.. But foreign investors are not in business to provide any of these things.. They are not in Africa to help impoverished African farmers improve their own farms, or to combat hunger.. They are far more likely to destroy the family farm in Africa and aggravate hunger, all in the name of economies of scale, a global corporate food chain, and profits.. The same actors - the speculators, bankers, unregulated investors - who have had a hand in inflating food prices and bringing the global economy to its knees are now consolidating control of global food production and of land, to profit from the very crises they provoked.. It is beyond tragic that so many of them have set their sights on the new "asset class" of African farmland - which is the very asset on which hundreds of millions of Africans depend for their livelihoods and their survival.. Joan Baxter is a Senior Research Fellow with the Oakland Institute and author of its investigative reports on land deals in Sierra Leone and Mali.. She is a journalist, award-winning author, and development researcher who has lived and worked in Africa for more than 25 years.. The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent Al Jazeera's editorial policy..

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  • Title: Land Investment Deals in Africa: Say No Way! | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Land Investment Deals in Africa: Say No Way!.. Pambazuka News.. Food insecurity, loss of food sovereignty, the displacement of small farmers, conflict, environmental devastation, water loss, and the further impoverishment and political instability of African nations – these are among the consequences of large-scale investments in land in Africa, a special investigation by the Oakland Institute has revealed.. Pambazuka News spoke to Anuradha Mittal, Jeff Furman and Frederic Mousseau about what prompted their research and what they discovered.. Congratulations on the release of your recent special investigation:.. Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa.. It is a phenomenal achievement shedding light on how large-scale investments in land in Africa are resulting in food insecurity, loss of food sovereignty, the displacement of small farmers, conflict, environmental devastation, water loss, and the further impoverishment and political instability of African nations.. Can you tell us what prompted you to look into the issue and how you went about the research in such a comprehensive way?.. ANURADHA MITTAL: Land investments – the purchase or lease of vast tracts of land from mostly poor, developing countries by wealthier food-insecure nations and private investors for the production and export of food and agrofuel crops – have become a very fast-paced international phenomenon.. This trend which has come to be popularly known as ‘land grabbing’ has been painted as a development opportunity for developing countries.. By referring to surging influx of capital into primarily African land markets as ‘foreign direct investment’, players in the international policy arena including Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) have affirmed that responsible land investment is possible and imply that African nations are beneficiaries in these deals.. Their hope is that land investments will presumably create what has been hailed a ‘win-win situation’ in which food-insecure nations increase their access to food resources and investors profit from exports, while ‘host’ nations benefit from improved agricultural infrastructure and increased employment opportunities.. Yet, very little is currently understood of the legal, social, and economic implications of the land deals.. The Oakland Institute’s own analysis identified three major areas in need of further investigation.. These include the need for (i) better data on and better understanding of the concept of ‘land availability’ (ii) better understanding of the land deals, i.. e.. their nature and their implications for the countries and the food insecure populations and (iii) addressing the issue of land rights.. FREDERIC MOUSSEAU: The Oakland Institute commenced this work to address this knowledge gap to answer an important question that seems to have been removed from the debate: Where does the urgent and critical task of improving food security for the world’s most vulnerable fall within the accelerating trend of commercial investment in farmland?.. With this aim, we started research in seven African countries including Tanzania, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Mali, Mozambique, Zambia, and south Sudan.. We basically had our researchers on the ground, spending months in those countries, meeting and interacting with multi-stakeholders from international financial institutions to development agencies to government officials to investment agencies as well as individual investors.. And, more important, we met and interviewed the communities who are impacted, to hear and learn what they knew of the project, what their expectations were, what their experience was, recognising that we wouldn’t know of the full experience because in many cases projects haven’t even started.. JEFF FURMAN: At the same time we have been interacting with investors because we believe investment in agriculture is very important.. However, to assume that investment in agriculture in itself would lead to food security, or create jobs… would be a mistake.. So our effort aimed at identifying good practices that result in returns not just for the investors but have real returns for communities and national economies that could be upheld and showcased as opportunities to be supported.. And in the process we learnt of such schemes that it was obvious that the information needs to be in the public realm.. In the course of our work we also realised the extent of the lack of transparency.. The information that we found in the course of our research – contracts, business plans, land leases, memorandums of understanding – are often impossible to access.. In many instances, local communities who are being told to move off their lands, have not even seen these land leases! And thus we have made this information available to help inform the debate and allow people to make informed decisions about the future of their land.. We know that once families are displaced, once the canals are built, once the small farmers lose their livelihoods, and once the environmental damage is done there is no going back.. This would not and could not be repaired.. PAMBAZUKA NEWS: The findings of your report parallel the historical experiences of many colonised and displaced peoples expropriated and disenfranchised in the name of 'progress'.. A major argument put forward today by governments, investors, and international institutions is that agricultural investment will spur much-needed economic development, and create jobs and infrastructure in poor countries.. Your reports reveal that these largely unregulated land acquisitions are resulting in virtually none of the promised benefits for local populations, but instead are forcing millions of small farmers off ancestral lands and food-producing farms in order to make room for export commodities.. What distinguishes this current wave of occupation from the acquisitions of the past, in terms of the actors involved and the actions required to stop them?.. FREDERIC MOUSSEAU: It is the pace at which this trend has grown since 2008 when agricultural food prices started sky-rocketing.. According to the World Bank, in 2009 alone nearly 60 million ha – an area the size of France – was purchased or leased in comparison to an average annual expansion of global agricultural land of less than 4 million ha before 2008.. The International Land Coalition estimates the figure to be 80 million hectares.. ANURADHA MITTAL: Secondly, the role of foreign investors who are driving this ‘land rush’ is pretty unique.. It is not just food insecure rich nations such as the Gulf states or the Chinese.. Our research exposes the role of private hedge funds and equity funds who have nothing to do with agriculture and who are rushing in creating agricultural operations and taking over large swathes of land.. The list is long:.. Emergent Asset Management.. ,.. Chayton Africa.. ,.. Quifel Holdings.. Pharos Fund.. Altima.. Duxton.. Macquarie.. , and many others.. While they have not attracted much attention, the role of speculators in food prices is big and their control over land and water resources in Africa is huge.. JEFF FURMAN: In addition, this take over of African resources is being promoted as a development paradigm by the multilateral institutions across Africa.. Whether it is Ethiopia or Sierra Leone or Zambia, the same one-stop shops have been created at the advice of the World Bank group who’s focus is to promote ‘investor friendly’ climate by  ...   to protect watersheds and ecosystems that often cross national boundaries and jurisdictions from this assault?.. ANURADHA MITTAL: We tend to talk about investments in land as just land grabs but what our research shows is that it is really about resource grabs and especially water grabs.. For instance, the CEO of a fund operating out of South Africa boasted at an agricultural investment conference in Geneva, ‘Internally we call our land fund/water fund.. ’ This fund is active in Zambia that has 54 per cent of the SADC region’s water.. Or Emergent’s EmVest project in Mozambique; they can use as much water as they want.. They don’t have to pay for the amount of water used.. The payments are minimal based on the acreage that they have.. In Mali, Malibya has the assurance of the government to have access to all the water they need, while only 5 per cent of the country’s land is arable.. JEFF FURMAN: Agreements are being negotiated where the host countries are being obliged to provide water to foreign investors.. And that is when you have to question, in terms of economic development, what do these countries and regions get back? And when you do the cost benefit analysis for the resources that have been offered to the foreign investors, it’s a win-win for the investor, not for the country or the communities.. PAMBAZUKA NEWS: You have posted announcements on your website for conferences for investors at which high-level officials from the FAO and UNEP are making presentations.. In what ways are United Nations agencies and aid institutions facilitating or hindering the Great Land Grab?.. FREDERIC MOUSSEAU: Yes, FAO officials, UNEP officials, World Bank officials are at these meetings.. And it’s not about food, it’s not about communities.. It’s about markets, it’s about arbitrage opportunities.. It is about promise held by the ‘ag fundamentals.. ’.. This is only the first phase of the release of our reports.. Our work, which is based on documents that come from these agencies and foreign investors, demonstrates that though land deals are being promoted as a development paradigm, after you add up the benefits that are provided to investors – tax holidays, the right to repatriate their earnings, the right to hire ex-pats in countries, or the right to have all kind of holidays from paying profit taxes, (and taking into consideration) the price of land, and the water rights, basically the numbers don’t add up to provide concrete gains for people on the ground.. ANURADHA MITTAL: I was in Zambia in February where the government is launching a farm block scheme that is being touted as a scheme to end poverty and bring economic development.. In a meeting with a very high official in the ministry of agriculture, I asked what the purpose of the scheme was and he said, ‘Economic upliftment and poverty alleviation.. ’ And I asked, ‘How do you plan to do that? Are you asking investors for a lot of money for the land?’ And he said, ‘No, you have to put in $5,000 for putting in your tender; the land is really cheap.. ’ So I asked him, ‘Are you asking to put in infrastructure?’ ‘Oh, no, the government is putting in the necessary infrastructure.. ’ ‘OK, are you asking for a specific number of jobs that need to be created by these investors so we know that livelihood expansion happens?’ And he said, ‘No you can put in some general language around employment creation.. We don’t ask for hard numbers’.. So I asked him, ‘Will you help me understand how you will meet this objective of poverty alleviation and economic upliftment of the country when you are not asking investors for anything.. ’ And he comes close to me, smiles and says, ‘You and I both know that there is no such thing as a good foreign investor.. FREDERIC MOUSSEAU: Malybia in Mali took over 100,000 hectares of land.. They say they will provide jobs for a thousand people.. Research has showed that when using irrigation in this region of Mali, two hectares of land are enough to provide for a family that depends on agriculture for their livelihood.. So if it is 100,000 hectares it means 50,000 families, and if you count at least four or five people in a family, you can do the math.. How many people can be sustained? And we know over and over again from UNEP and other UN agencies that the way to improve food security for Africa is through smallholder agriculture.. If the kind of support and investments that are being provided to foreign investors was provided to African farmers, we would have a very different Africa.. We also know that industrial agriculture is responsible for anywhere between 16 to 30 per cent of the greenhouse gas emissions.. And instead of dealing with climate change what we are doing is rushing to Africa to set up the same huge industrial style agriculture.. And in some cases, like in Mozambique and Zambia there is funding from UNFCC to ostensibly combat climate change because the projects are for biofuels.. PAMBAZUKA NEWS: What does your experience with the reaction to the launch of the report tell us about strategies needed to confront the Great Land Grab?.. What actions would you recommend that farmers and peasants in Africa take in the light of your findings? And what kind of actions would you want of the readership of Pambazuka News?.. ANURADHA MITTAL: Communities on the ground who are being impacted by these land grabs have been fighting back in ways they can.. In some places they can be very vocal in other places they cannot.. The Oakland Institute took on the task of getting this information out because we believe information is knowledge and knowledge is power.. What is evident however is that this issue confronts all civil society groups working on climate change, water issues, land rights, hunger, GMOs,etc.. We can no longer stay focused on one single issue without working on the larger political environment.. FREDERIC MOUSSEAU: Our partners amidst the Ethiopian diaspora, in Sierra Leone, Mali, Tanzania, and other countries are taking on the biggest challenges, taking on their local and national leaders.. It is important for the international civil society to push and support those national mobilisations.. National groups in these countries are demanding public hearings, moratoriums on these deals.. And internationally we need to be backing and supporting those efforts.. JEFF FURMAN: And we need to determine where our pension funds and university endowments, sovereign wealth funds invest.. These cannot be guided by merely high returns; it has to be about quality of life, and livelihoods of people.. This has to be about not once again colonisers rushing in to Africa to colonise at the expense of the people and environment of Africa.. We simply must say we cannot invest in schemes like this that are promising 25 to 40 per cent returns.. Student groups, faculty organisations, pension funds should be saying, ‘no way!’..

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  • Title: Meet The Millionaires And Billionaires Suddenly Buying Tons Of Land In Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Meet The Millionaires And Billionaires Suddenly Buying Tons Of Land In Africa.. Business Insider.. By Courtney Comstock.. Count Miguel Pais do Amaral, an amateur race car driver.. Oakland Institute just completed the most thorough investigative report on who's buying land in Africa we've seen yet: "Hedge Funds Grabbing Land in Africa," as.. BBC.. called it.. As commodities prices rise and inflation picks up, the OI made the report public, they say, because the number of investors buying up land in Africa concerns them.. For obvious reasons, there isn't much out there about who's buying what and how much in Africa.. But what OI has discovered is a small number of investors paying sometimes nothing for large plots of land in some African countries.. The lease deals are arranged between seemingly corrupt African leaders, reportedly without disclosing the details to the members of the communities that will be displaced because of the land development, and investors such as hedge fund managers.. The end result -- beating villagers, digging up their cemeteries, and taking over land that villagers have lived on for centuries -- looks a lot like a less cruel version of what history tells us colonizing Americans did when they ousted the Indians, according to this one report anyway.. Bruce Rastetter and his various companies are accused of breaking promises to hire locals.. Bruce Rastetter.. Who's buying:.. Bruce Rastetter (CEO of Pharos Ag, co-founder of AgriSol Energy, CEO of Summit Farms, and a donor to the Iowa State University), the Iowa-based Summit Group and Global Agriculture Fund of the Pharos Financial Group, in partnership with AgriSol Energy LLC and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Iowa State University, and Serengeti Advisers Limited, a Tanzanian investment and consulting firm led by Iddi Simba (non-executive director and the former Tanzanian Trade and Industry minister) and Bertram Eyakuze (partner and co-founder).. The land they're buying:.. Three “abandoned refugee camps”– Lugufu in Kigoma province (25,000 ha), Katumba (80,317 ha), and Mishamo (219,800 ha), both in Rukwa province in Tanzania.. The future development:.. Large-scale crop cultivation, beef, and poultry production, and biofuel production.. The Tanzanian government is expected to approve the title of occupancy within 3 months, which will result in the evacuation of the current inhabitants: refugees.. Also, the Tanzanian government is expected to create a regulatory framework for the use of genetically modified crops.. The scandal:.. Some refugees apparently received citizenship in 2010, but were told that their certificates were being withheld until they re-located to other areas of Tanzania.. AgriSol claims that it's looking to hire local farm project managers to work on the project, however AgriSol told the Oakland Institute that they were bringing in white South African farm managers.. Oakland Institute (PDF).. Leonard Henry Thatcher, David Neiman and other investors acquired land through a secret cooperative behind the backs of locals.. Who's buying:.. Nile Trading and Development (NTD is an affiliate of Kinyeti Development); Mukaya Payam Cooperative; NTD's Chairman, Leonard Henry Thatcher; Howard Eugene Douglas, Kinyeti's Managing Director, a former United States Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Refugee Affairs and a Director at Orbis Associates; Kinyeti's Secretary, Christopher Weikert Douglas, who in 2008 worked at the United States Consulate in Dusseldorf, Germany and is a Director at Orbis Associates; and NTD's president, David Neiman.. The land they're buying:.. 600,000 hectares (with a possibility of 400,000 additional hectares) for 75,000 Sudanese Pounds (equivalent to approximately USD 25,000) in South Sudan.. NTD's plans are unknown, according to the Oakland Institute.. But they have the rights to do whatever they want.. Two clues: 1.. A letter NTD's president, David Neiman, wrote to the governor of the Central Equatoria State says that he intends to develop the land's timber resources.. 2.. Neimann entered into a “contractual alliance” with Tony Paris of Paris Broadcasting Cable 7 in June 2008 for algal agrofuel production in South Sudan.. The scandal:.. The company that leased the land to NTD is described as an influential group of natives who leased the land out behind the backs of the entire community by Sudan’s Agency for Independent Media (AIM).. AIM also says "In reality, the cooperative does not exist on the ground.. [Some communities are in favor of the deal but] what is common among all of them is that they are not all well informed about the advantages and disadvantages of the deal.. Jean Claude Gandur's company reportedly promised that the community's rice-growing land wouldn't be used, then it dug large deep channels to drain them.. Addax Bioenergy and its Chairman, billionaire Jean Claude Gandur.. 20,000 hectares of sugarcane plantations in Sierra Leone.. Sugarcane farming for ethanol production for export to Europe.. To convince local communities to accept the project, the company promised community members that their loland rice-growing areas would not be used.. Addaz has reneged on their pledges.. The land has been dried out, large and deep channels were dug to drain them, and Addax is cultivating the lower lying swamp land previously used for rice production.. Addax also promised land development in the form of schools, health facilities, a community center, and water wells.. But to date, none of those promises have been fulfilled.. Miguel Pais do Amaral's company is reportedly paying landowners less than they made farming to lease the land.. Quifel Agribusiness, a Lisbon-based personal holding of the businessman, Count, and amateur race car driver Miguel Pais do Amaral.. 126 hectares of land in the Port Loko District in Sierra Leone.. OI says the company's future plans are unclear.. It claims it's producing food crops for local consumption.. In its lease, it says the company to produce palm oil for agrofuel.. Now it's testing cassava, pineapples, and rice.. The land is also rich in minerals – particularly bauxite, gold, diamonds and iron ore.. (An Australian mining company, Cape Lambert, currently holds an exploration lease on parts  ...   Flikr.. Malibya, a subsidiary of Libya Africa Investment Portfolio.. The deal was reportedly negociated between Libyan head of state Muammar Gaddafi and Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure.. However the agreement was signed between Tiémoko Sangare, (then) Malian Minister of Agriculture, and Dr.. Aboubaker al Mansoury, Secretary of the Popular Committee for Agriculture, Livestock and the Fishery, representing the Arab Libyan Popular and Socialist Grande Jamahiriya.. 100,000 hectares in the Office du Niger, west of Macina in Mali.. The construction will create the largest canal in Mali and one of the largest in Africa, and a road, both 40 kilometers in the first phase.. The construction of an irrigation canal of 40km has been subcontracted to the Chinese operator CGC, which is owned by SINOPEC.. The land will produce hybrid rice, livestock, and it will process tomatoes.. Between January and May, it will produce wheat, maize, soya and various vegetables.. The agreement grants Malibya use of the land for free for 50 years.. It charges negligible fees for water extraction from the Niger River, and places no limits on how much can be extracted.. To build the canal, houses were razed and a cemetery was unearthed.. Amadou Sissoko's company is accused of having villagers beaten who protested when bulldozers arrived on the land they've lived on for centuries.. Moulin Moderne du Mali; the Agropastoral and Industrial Complex and Amadou Sissoko, the president of the board of Moulin Moderne du Mali.. 7,400 hectares in M'Bewani and 20,000 ha in the upper Kala hydraulic zone of the Office du Niger in Mali.. Wheat is the principal crop in the first phase.. During January and May, wheat, maize, soya and vegetables will be farmed.. There are no limits on how much water the project can use, and it's displacing 3,500 villagers whose community has lived on the land for centuries.. During a protest over builders bulldozing the community's trees, protestors say they were beaten.. One woman says she miscarried as a result of the beating.. The Secretary of State responsible for the Office du Niger says the communities have no rights to the land.. However they are a self-sufficient community which has been self sufficient by farming and selling millet for years.. They produce enough cover taxes, health, marriage, etc costs.. And 2 years ago, during a major food crisis in the country, the community donated food to the Malian government as aid.. William Brown and Ed Rosenberg's company is accused of displacing thousands and providing misleading info about their investment.. Petrotech-ffn Agro Mali, a subsidiary of Petrotech-ffn in Egypt; William Brown, the chairman of Petrotech (he was formerly a United States Ambassador and was also former principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific.. He has a Ph.. D.. from Harvard.. ); and Ed Rosenberg, the president of Global Wealth Management Corp.. 10,000 hectares in the hydraulic system of Kareri.. Agrofuel.. The principle crop will be oil-producing plants, specifically jatropha oil, which 9,500 hectacres of the land will be dedicated to farming, according to the company's promotional presentation.. The project will displace an estimated 10,000 to 20,000 people, who are living off the land currently.. The lease describes the fertile land as "brownfield.. " And the company's presentation on the project says it will benefit the local population, but on its website, it says it "will initially sell its feedstock to the EU countries, the U.. S.. and to support the Biodiesel facility in Egypt," according to the OI.. Aliou Tomota's company is accused of displacing hundreds of thousands of people without even bothering with a lease.. World Bank.. Tomota Group and Huicoma, which is part of the cotton company CMDT (Tomota purchased the majority of shares in Huicoma 2005), and.. Aliou Tomota.. , who runs Tomota.. 100,000 hectares in Mali including Monipebougou, Macina, and Tenenkou.. One newspaper says Tomota could own up to 140,000 hectares.. The company reportedly plans to produce oleaginous plants, sunflowers, peanuts, soya, jatropha, and karite.. Tomota's technical director says it will produce mostly combustible oils.. However OI believes it also intends to produce jatropha, the oil of which is used for agrofuel.. After Tomota effectively bought Huicoma, the company realized that it did not have enough raw stock for its oil production, it reportedly took over the land without signing a lease first.. And according to the Office du Niger, as of October 1, 2010, when Tomota was already producing 2,000 hectares of sunflowers, no lease had been signed yet.. It's unclear what will happen to the estimated 100,000-200,000 people living on every 2,000 hectares of the land Tomota now claims.. Mohammed Al-Amoudi's company will reportedly squeeze excess water out of the community's Awero river to farm rice.. Ethiopian Review.. Saudi Star Agriculture Development; Mohammed Al-Amoudi, who owns the company (Forbes ranks him the 64th richest person in the world) and reportedly is suspected of having deep connections to the local government, the EPRDF.. 10,000 hectares near Abobo in Gambella in Ethiopia, and they're looking to buy 500,000 hectares more.. Plans include building 30 km of cement-lined canals to move water from the Awero river to the fields, and building a second dam on the river to increase the amount of water available.. The company hopes the additional 500,000 hectacres will produce 1 million tons of rice.. They also hope to grow maize, teff, sugarcane, and oilseeds.. The company isn't paying rent on the 10,000 hectacres, which used to be maize fields farmed by local villages.. And the river Saudi Star hopes to use is currently used for fishing, transportation, and as a water source for several small villages, which have been relocated across the river.. The communities were not consulted before the relocation.. When they asked government officials why bulldozers were clearing the area, they reportedly replied, "You don't have any land, only the government has land..

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  • Title: Sierra Leone Opposition Urges Scrapping of Land Deals | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Sierra Leone Opposition Urges Scrapping of Land Deals.. Agence France Presse.. FREETOWN — A leading Sierra Leone opposition party has called on the government to cancel major land deals signed with international investors, saying they were taking away the livelihood of peasant farmers.. "We are demanding that government cancel those agreements and appoint local committees to oversee the transfer of the lands back to the community people," National Democratic Alliance spokesman Mohamed Bah told journalists.. The statement came just days after Swiss energy group Addax Oryx announced it had signed a 258 million euro ($368 million) deal to finance a renewable energy project in which it has leased over 50,000 hectares of land.. The project, which will include the development of a sugarcane plantation, the construction of  ...   the country to multinational corporations," said Bah.. "Our records showed that 10 percent of the country's estimated 5.. 4 million hectares of arable land suitable for farming have been let out.. "We would not like to see another Zimbabwe in this part of the world," he cautioned adding that "the issue of land is a serious human right concern as most of the people whose lands have been taken are peasant farmers and would need the land for their livelihood.. Reacting to the criticisms, Addax said that it had developed its project "on the basis of dialogue.. "Detailed discussions were held over more than two years" with the landowners, local and national authorities, as well as civil society, said Nikolai Germann, who heads Addax Energy, in a statement..

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  • Title: Massive Land Grabs in Africa by U.S. Hedge Funds and Universities | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Massive Land Grabs in Africa by U.. Hedge Funds and Universities.. June 28, 2011.. San Francisco Bay View.. Speculators say that investments will create jobs but they’re actually just a way for foreign investors to access cheap labor and cheap land.. In Mali, the area covered by recent large land grabs could easily sustain well over half a million people.. Instead, that land is now concentrated in the hands of 22 investors and will create at best a few thousand jobs.. “A new report claims farmers in Africa are being driven off their lands to make way for vast new industrial farming projects backed by hedge funds seeking profits and foreign countries looking for cheap food.. The study finds American universities with large endowment funds have also invested heavily in African land in the past few years,” reported Amy Goodman, introducing.. Democracy Now’s coverage.. of the first study to reveal the scope and details of these massive land grabs.. “Special Investigation: Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa,”.. country-by-country reports and the following Q A, which serves as an introduction to the study, are newly issued by the.. OI Executive Director Anuradha Mittal told Democracy Now: “We have heard about the role of these private hedge funds in food speculation and speculation of food prices, because they control commodities,” she said.. “But when they start buying even the means of production – they control labor, they control large tracts of land, they control water, they dictate what is grown and how it is grown – it is the kind of vertical integration of a food system that we have never seen before.. Why did the Oakland Institute investigate these land investments in Africa?.. The scale, rate and negative impact of land deals is alarming.. In 2009 alone nearly 60 million hectares (abbreviated ha: 10,000 square meters or 2.. 47 acres) – an area the size of France – was purchased or leased in comparison to an average annual expansion of global agricultural land of less than 4 million ha before 2008.. There’s an extreme lack of transparency surrounding the land deals in Africa.. At the country level, the absence of democratic debate and lack of information in the public domain is the rule.. Most often, international investors who are involved in these deals are not accountable to anyone.. Documentation related to these deals is now available for review.. In addition to its reports, the Oakland Institute is making available documentation on deals and investors collected in the course of its research so that the general public, policy makers, media, civil society organizations and individuals with funds linked to these investments can learn about the impact of such investments and make more informed decisions.. Large scale investments in land in Africa, as exposed by the Oakland Institute, are resulting in food insecurity, the displacement of small farmers, conflict, environmental devastation, water loss and the further impoverishment and political instability of African nations.. Is the Oakland Institute against investment in agriculture?.. The Oakland Institute believes that renewed focus on agriculture is crucial to deal with the current crisis of world hunger and climate change and for ensuring livelihoods of farmers while enabling developing countries to meet the millennium development goals.. Through our research we have learned that investment in agriculture does not necessarily translate into food security or livelihoods for smallholder farmers who form the bulk of the world’s poor.. As pointed out by Olivier De Schutter, United Nations rapporteur on the “right to food,” the issue is not one of merely increasing budget allocations to agriculture, but rather “of choosing from different models of agricultural development which may have different impacts and benefit various groups differently.. Will the release of these documents make responsible investors reluctant to be transparent?.. On the contrary, we believe that this information will assist investors who are keen on promoting socially responsible investments where benefits accrue to all parties, including farming communities in Africa, to differentiate themselves from investors who are promising high IRRs at the expense of the larger common good.. Who are the investors?.. News coverage to date has emphasized the role that countries including China and India have played in the acceleration of land acquisitions in Africa.. Although Indian firms are active in countries like Ethiopia, the Oakland Institute’s investigation shows a major role from Western firms, wealthy U.. and European individuals and investment funds with ties to major banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.. Investors include not only alternative investment firms like the London-based Emergent Asset Management that works to attract speculators – including universities such as Harvard, who have maintained secrecy on such potentially unpopular activities, Spelman and Vanderbilt – with a primary motivation of economic access to agricultural land that will have high returns for the endowment.. Several Texas-based interests are associated with a major 600,000 ha south Sudan deal which involves Kinyeti Development, LLC.. , an Austin, Texas, based “global business development partnership and holding company,” managed by Howard Eugene Douglas, a former United States ambassador at large and coordinator for refugee affairs.. Although Indian firms are active in countries like Ethiopia, the Oakland Institute’s investigation shows a major role of Western firms, wealthy U.. A key player in the largest land deal in Tanzania is Iowa agribusiness entrepreneur and Republican Party stalwart Bruce Rastetter, who concurrently serves as CEO of Pharos Ag, co-founder and managing director of AgriSol Energy, CEO of Summit Farms and is an  ...   into real bargains for the investors but hardly provide additional incomes for host countries.. • The IMF has shown that tax incentives, portrayed as a way to attract foreign investors in developing countries, merely reduce much-needed tax revenues for governments without promoting growth.. • Our research documents many instances where investments took over land from active businesses and production units.. For instance, the case of women farmers in Mali who lost the vegetable gardens they used to cultivate fresh food for capital markets.. Don’t these countries need investment for job creation?.. The idea that land deals bring much-needed employment opportunities to poor countries has served as a way for international development institutions and other leaders to justify large-scale land investment as a potential “win-win” scenario for both investors and developing countries.. However, first-hand evidence from the Oakland Institute’s field research in multiple African nations reveals that promises of job creation are often overstated, if not completely false.. The Emvest Matuba investment project summary and staff at Emergent and EmVest promise job creation with majority employment from the local community.. A recent head count provided by Emergent reveals that currently only 17 permanent positions in the agricultural field have been created, 85 seasonal.. The largest permanent positions are in security: 36 staff.. The average farm size in Mali is just 4.. 7 ha and one third of the 805,000 farm households cultivate less than one hectare.. The area covered by recent large land deals could easily sustain 112,537 farm families, well over half a million people (686,478).. Are plantations more productive than small farms?.. Another argument put forward in favor of large farms is one of supposed higher productivity of large farms.. The Oakland Institute’s investigations confirm a strong body of previous research on this with many instances where small farms are more productive than large plantations.. In Mali, where the System of Rice Intensification has been adopted along the Niger River near Timbuktu, farmers have been able to attain yields of seven to 15 tons per hectare per year for an average of nine tons per hectare – more than twice the conventional irrigated rice yield in the area and more than the previsions of the Moulin Moderne du Mali, one of the major investors.. The small-scale village-based irrigation schemes involve plots of just 35 ha of land, shared by as many as 100 farmers.. So each household has access to only one third of a hectare.. Yet from that piece of land they are able to earn $1,879 – more than double the average annual per capital income of $676.. If the rice intensification scheme were replicated and successful in the Office du Niger, 10,000 ha of such small-scale irrigation schemes could provide livelihoods for 285,715 farmers and dramatically increase rice production and revenues.. Does investment improve food security?.. Most of the countries targeted by investors suffer food insecurity.. Though the food security argument is often put forward by governments and investors, the research finds little assurance that large scale agricultural investments can improve food security.. In many cases local food farms are sold off in order to make room for export commodities, including biofuels and cut flowers.. Many of the land leases identified are for the production of agrofuels.. In Mali, half of the investors with large land holdings in the Office du Niger intend to grow plants used to produce agrofuels such as sugarcane, jatropha or other oleaginous crops.. In Mozambique, most of the investments concern timber industry and agrofuels rather than food crops.. Food crops represented only 32,000 ha of the 433,000 ha that were approved for agricultural investments between 2007 and 2009.. What can the U.. public do?.. The U.. can curb its support to rogue governments and hold investment funds, pension funds and universities accountable for their investments.. Land investors include universities such as Harvard, Spelman and Vanderbilt that have put money into the hands of specialized investment funds such as Emergent and have maintained secrecy on such potentially unpopular activities.. Collectively these investments make a large impact and the alumni of these universities and others must be aware of the negative impact of these investments.. is by far the largest donor to Ethiopia, its first ally on the continent.. Average U.. aid to Ethiopia is $600 million a year (2005-2009 average, 26 percent of total international aid), far ahead of any other donor.. Ethiopia has been also among the first recipients of U.. food aid in the past two decades.. In addition Ethiopia is an important ally of the U.. in the “global war on terror.. ” According to WikiLeaks cables, the U.. pressured Ethiopia’s president, Meles Zenawi, to invade Somalia.. This is consistent with the fact that the U.. has been providing military aid and training to Ethiopian troops for a number of years.. cannot ignore human rights violations related to land grabs.. The wave of repression unleashed against domestic Ethiopian critics of Zenawi’s rule has included mass arrests, the massacres of hundreds of protesters and the jailing of virtually all the country’s opposition leaders following the 2005 elections.. The Oakland Institute aims to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues in national and international forums.. This summary of the Oakland Institute’s report, “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa,” and the full report can be found at.. http://media.. oaklandinstitute.. org/special-investigation-understanding-land-investment-deals-africa.. See a CNN video on the report at.. http://www.. cnn.. com/video/?/video/world/2011/06/11/mittal.. oakland.. institute.. report..

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  • Title: Kofi Annan Urges Sustainable Farming to Avert Food Crises | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Kofi Annan Urges Sustainable Farming to Avert Food Crises.. Joy News/Ghana.. Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan believes increased sustainable farming is the only way out of the current global food crises.. Speaking during the biennial conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization which has just appointed a new Director-General, he advocated measures that could be adopted to ensure the crisis is managed.. “For if countries cannot come together successfully to deliver food security – this most basic of all human needs – our hopes for wider international cooperation look doomed.. Yet even on food there has been in recent years an ominous retreat from the idea of common purpose based on shared values,” he said.. Mr Annan said there had been a worrying rise in protectionism, unilateral export bans, land grabs, and exclusive deals that meet the food needs of the rich but not the poor.. “That is why I passionately plead that along with tackling the problem  ...   fair and transparent framework to tackle hunger and deliver food security and also warned against the sale of agricultural lands.. “It is very disturbing that a recent report found that agricultural land that adds up the size of France has been bought in 2009 alone by hedge funds and other speculators.. It is neither just nor sustainable for farm lands to be taken away from communities in this way nor for food to be exported when there is hunger on the doorstep.. Local people will not stand for this abuse and neither should we,” he warned.. He said if however, “larger commercial firms integrate their activities within the community serving as hubs that link small scale holders to value chains, sharing knowledge and best practices, they can play an important and positive role.. The conference appointed José Graziano da Silva as its New Director-General.. He is the FAO’s eighth Director-General since the Organization was founded in Canada in October, 1945..

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  • Title: Kofi Annan Blasts Hedge Funders For Acquiring So Much African Land | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Kofi Annan Blasts Hedge Funders For Acquiring So Much African Land.. June 27, 2011.. Oakland Institute says investors own land in Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Zambia.. The former secretary general for the UN, Kofi Annan, recently commented on hedge funds' buying a disturbing amount of land in Africa.. "It is very disturbing that a recent report found that agricultural land that adds up to the size of France was bought in Africa in 2009 alone by hedge funds and other speculators.. Oakland Institute, the author of the report, made its research public.. Click here to view it.. The report says that in 2009 alone nearly 60 million hectares (the size of France) was purchased or leased in a "land grab.. " The entire press release is below.. Annan, alarmed by the report, said, "It is neither just nor sustainable for farmland to betaken away from communities in this way nor for food to be exported when there is hunger on the doorstep.. Local people will not stand for this abuse – and neither should we.. One of the problems the research cites is that the land deals are poorly documented.. The institute says their research exposed investors who said it’s easy to make a land deal – that they could usually get what they want in exchange for giving a poor, tribal chief a bottle of Johnny Walker.. The release.. adds:.. Annan did say, however, that large commercial farms have a role to play but must integrate their activities within communities, serving as a hub to link smallholder farmers to value chains — markets, supermarkets and agribusiness.. A.. BBC reporter on the ground.. in Africa found that the investors do in fact add value in Africa.. She writes:.. When I visited Lungi-Lol in rural Sierra Leone I saw men hoeing thousands of hectares of farmland owned by Addax, a Swiss-based bio-energy company.. They are growing sugarcane to produce biofuels.. Campaigners say this contributes to food insecurity, but many people here welcome Addax's presence.. Francis Koroma, who works on the farm, says: "We thank God for Addax.. I am gainfully employed and I receive about $70 (£46) a month.. Before, I spent a whole year without getting $50.. Villagers are unaware of the controversy surrounding biofuels.. Abdulai Conteh , a local traditional leader, said: "Some people are doing business here but I have no idea what they are doing with our land.. I see them growing sugarcane.. That's all I know.. The Oakland Institute  ...   a natural-asset-based, high-return investment strategy can drive up food prices and increase the risks of climate change.. “The research exposed investors who said it’s easy to make a land deal – that they could usually get what they want in exchange for giving a poor, tribal chief a bottle of Johnny Walker,”.. Mittal said.. “When these investors promise progress and jobs to local chiefs, it sounds great – but they don’t deliver, which means no progress and relocating people from their homes.. New reports and materials on these deals examine on-the-ground implications in several African nations including Ethiopia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Sudan – and expose contracts that connect land grabs back to institutional investors in these nations and others.. In addition to publicly sharing – for the first time -- the paperwork behind these deals, the reports demonstrate how common land grabs are and how quickly this phenomenon is taking place.. Investors in these deals include not only alternative investment firms like Emergent Asset Management – that works to attract speculators, but also universities including Harvard, Spellman and Vanderbilt.. Contracts also reveal a bonanza of incentives for speculators ranging from unlimited water rights to tax waivers.. “No one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans, create jobs or improve food security, Obang Metho of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia said.. “These land grab agreements – many of which could be in place for 99 years – do not mean progress for local people and will not lead to food in their stomachs.. These deals lead only to dollars in the pockets of corrupt leaders and foreign investors.. In 2009 alone nearly 60 million hectares – an area the size of France – was purchased or leased in these land grabs.. Most of these deals are characterized by a lack of transparency, despite the profound implications posed by the consolidation of control over global food markets and agricultural resources by financial firms.. “We have seen cases of speculators taking over agricultural land while small farmers, viewed as “squatters” are forcibly removed with no compensation,” said Frederic Mousseau, policy director at the Oakland Institute.. “This is creating insecurity in the global food system that could be a much bigger threat to global security than terrorism.. More than one billion people around the world are living with hunger.. The majority of the world’s poor still depend on small farms for their livelihoods, and speculators are taking these away while promising progress that never happens..

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  • Title: Annan Warns Hunger Could Become Permanent Disaster | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Annan Warns Hunger Could Become Permanent Disaster.. June 25, 2011.. FAO Media Centre.. Kofi Annan addresses the 37th FAO Conference, 25 June 2011.. Listen to the full speech.. Land size of France bought by hedge funds in 2009, says chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa.. 25 June 2011, Rome - Kofi Annan, chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, has warned that the current food security crisis, with almost one billion people hungry, could turn into a permanent disaster, endangering millions of lives as well as international cooperation.. "Along with tackling the linked problem of climate change, delivering global food and nutrition security is the challenge of our time,” he said.. Delivering the 27th McDougall Memorial Lecture on food security today, the former UN Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize winner said, "if countries cannot come together successfully to deliver food security – this most basic of human needs – our hopes for wider international co-operation look doomed.. ".. He added that over the past few years there has been "an ominous retreat from the idea of a common purpose based on shared values.. We have seen a worrying rise in protectionism, unilateral export bans, land grabs and exclusive deals that meet the food needs of the rich but not the poor.. Frank Lidgett McDougall, an Australian citizen was one of the founders of what was then the League of Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation in 1935..  ...   was speaking at the opening of the 37.. th.. session of the FAO Conference in which the Organisation is expected to elect a new Director General.. Land grabbing criticised.. In his lecture, the African statesman also hit out at the phenomena of “land grabbing” by which countries are buying or leasing land in other nations to increase their own food security.. "It is very disturbing that a recent report found that agricultural land that adds up to the size of France was bought in Africa in 2009 alone by hedge funds and other speculators," he said.. "It is neither just nor sustainable for farmland to betaken away from communities in this way nor for food to be exported when there is hunger on the doorstep.. Research needed.. The former UN Secretary General also called for more research into the benefits and impacts on food security of crop-based biofuels, for more focus on smallholder farmers and women and emphasised the need for increased research and development.. “Even within existing cultivated land, a doubling of cereal yields would turn Africa into a major food surplus region,” he said.. Annan called for fairer trade rules and farm subsidies, pointing out that OECD countries spend over $385 billion dollars supporting their farmers.. “This, according to Oxfam, was nearly 80 times the money spent in development aid to agriculture – a figure which had fallen by over 70 percent, in real terms, in the previous two decades,” he said..

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