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  • Title: U.S. Universities, Investors Accused Of 'Land Grabs' In Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: U.. S.. Universities, Investors Accused Of Land Grabs In Africa.. June 10, 2011.. Source:.. Huffington Post.. View Original.. A recent.. report.. claims wealthy U.. and European investors are buying up large amounts of territory in Africa, without proper contracts, and in ways that could actually force thousands of people off their land.. According to the.. Guardian.. , researchers for Oakland Institute, the California-based think tank that released the report, said while the deals are often presented as "agricultural investment" that will yield economic funds and create jobs in developing countries, they are nothing more than "land grabs" that fail to return the promised benefits.. More, the report said these investments in land are actually resulting in food insecurity, the displacement of small farmers, environmental devastation, water loss, and the further impoverishment and political uncertainty of African nations.. A spokesman for London-based Emergent, an asset management company that's channeling most of the money and is run by former JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs currency dealers, said these arrangements are made with honest intentions, reports the.. :.. "We are investing in African agriculture and setting up businesses and employing people.. We are doing it in a responsible way…The amounts are large.. They can be hundreds of millions of dollars.. This  ...   with the world's food supply.. In Africa.. this is resulting in the displacement of small farmers, environmental devastation, water loss and further political instability.. In addition to hedge funds and speculators, several American universities, including Harvard, Vanderbilt, and Iowa universities, are also providing funds and contributing to "the conversion of African small farms and forests into a natural-asset-based, high-return investment strategy," reports.. CBS.. Researchers believe these investors expect returns of 20 to as much as 40 percent, reports.. BBC.. Obang Metho, a member of the Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia, said these deals look more like business models than philanthropy, reports CBS:.. "No one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans, create jobs or improve food security.. 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.. 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: Oromia/Gambella/Ethiopia: 36% of Land Grabs in Oromia; Half of Gambella to Be Grabbed | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Oromia/Gambella/Ethiopia: 36% of Land Grabs in Oromia; Half of Gambella to Be Grabbed.. June 9, 2011.. Ayyaantuu Oromiyaa.. Commented by Gadaa.. com.. (Graphics made by Gadaa.. com in 2008.. At that time, the so-called ‘Regional Government’ was in charge of giving away the land taken from the farmer; now, the so-called ‘Federal Government’ [correctly, the TPLF regime is in charge of facilitating land grabs.. )"].. The California-based think tank, the Oakland Institute, published its latest report on Ethiopia: “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa; Country Report: Ethiopia” in May 2011 in collaboration with the Solidarity Movement for  ...   Zenawi regime is in Oromia (i.. e.. 1,319,214 Hectares of the 3,619,509 Hectares of land grabbed by neo-colonizers throughout the empire as of January 2011).. On the other hand, 42% and 27% of the land in Gambella and Benishangul-Gumuz, respectively, has already been grabbed or is up for grabs.. The report by the Oakland Institute and the Solidarity Movement for a New Ethiopia underlines that these figures “likely understate the true extent of land investment, as only the most reliable information was included in this table.. ”.. (see table below).. To Read Full Report Document, click here..

    Original link path: /oromiagambellaethiopia-36-land-grabs-oromia-half-gambella-be-grabbed-1
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  • Title: Is Greed Fuelling the Land Grab in Africa? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Is Greed Fuelling the Land Grab in Africa?.. Toronto Star.. Debra Black.. think-tank Oakland Institute says in a new report that millions of African farmers are being forced off their land to make room for agribusiness, backed by bio-fuel companies, investment firms and hedge funds from the West.. (.. SUPPLIED PHOTO/SUPPLIED PHOTO).. A U.. think-tank is calling for a moratorium on the sale of land in Africa to hedge funds, investment firms and bio-energy companies until they begin to use ethical and fair negotiations when dealing with local farmers and villages.. The California-based.. Oakland Institute.. says that largely unregulated land purchases by hedge funds and foreign speculators result in virtually none of the “promised benefits” for native populations in a recently released.. “We are finding these are false promises for Africa,” said Frederic Mousseau, policy director for the think-tank, in an interview with the Star.. Millions of local farmers are being forced off their land to make room for agribusiness, backed by bio-fuel companies, investment firms and hedge funds, Mousseau said.. And the deals lack any transparency.. These groups are sometimes paying very little to use the land, paying in some cases in Sierra Leone and Ethiopia as little as $2 per hectare to rent land.. And in other cases, the population is being forced off the land without any compensation.. In one land transfer, witnessed by the institute’s executive director Anuradha Mittal, a poor tribal chief was given a bottle of Johnny Walker in exchange for land in Zambia, Mousseau said.. Many of the land contracts run for 99 years, with no clauses specifying when any of the promised benefits like schools or health services will be  ...   institutions,” Mousseau said.. And what they found did not paint a picture of burgeoning wealth, but rather one of continuing poverty for many, he said.. Researchers were told of cases in Mali by farm organizations that valuable land was given away for free to foreign investors.. Farm groups said that they believed that the land could have been put to better use if local farmers were left to work the land and get out of poverty.. In Tanzania, 200,000 refugees from Burundi are being forced off their land for a 300,000 hectare bio-fuel project.. Many have been farming on the land for 40 years, but now the government is moving them out.. And while many believed that the land was being grabbed by firms from India, China, Saudi Arabia and other emerging countries, Mousseau said the report found that many Western firms from Germany, England and the Netherlands, are buying up land as well.. These include: The London-based Emergent Asset Management; the Swiss-based Addax Bioenergy; Quifel International Holdings based in Portugal; the U.. -based AgriSol Energy; Pharos Financial Group, a Russian hedge fund, and some prestigious American universities, including Harvard, Spellman and Vanderbilt.. And what’s motivating them is not an effort to reduce hunger in Africa, but rather energy and bio-fuels, Mousseau stresses.. “A very important driver of this land grab is the American and European policies around bio-fuels.. The institute suggests in its report that this land trend will do nothing but create insecurity in the global food system, which may be a much bigger threat to the world than terrorism.. It will also lead to conflict, environmental devastation, water loss and political instability, the report said..

    Original link path: /greed-fuelling-land-grab-africa-2
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  • Title: The Same Financial Firms Responsible For Our Economic Crisis Are Driving Us Toward a Global Food Disaster | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: The Same Financial Firms Responsible For Our Economic Crisis Are Driving Us Toward a Global Food Disaster.. By Tina Gerhardt.. Investors are involved in massive land grabs in Africa that may cause destabilization of food prices, mass displacement and environmental damage.. US and EU investors -- including US universities, pension funds and investment firms -- are involved in unprecedented land grabs currently taking place in Africa, according to a series of.. investigative reports.. released on Wednesday by the Oakland Institute.. The Oakland Institute spent over a year working undercover to gather information on land deals in Ethiopia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Sudan.. The reports show how land deals have a number of effects, including the destabilization of food prices, mass displacement and environmental damage.. "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," she added, "this is resulting in the displacement of small farmers, environmental devastation, water loss and further political instability.. These deals are often presented as agricultural investment, providing much-needed economic funds, creating jobs and infrastructure in developing countries.. Yet, the report argues, many of the deals have negative impacts.. These include inadequate participation of local populations, misinformation, lack of adequate compensation, especially for women or indigenous populations.. The intention of releasing the reports is not to curb agricultural investment but rather to ensure that the funding does what it promises to do and minimizes the deleterious effects.. The "Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa" reports reveal that these largely unregulated land purchases are resulting in virtually none of the promised benefits for native populations, but instead are forcing millions of small farmers off ancestral lands and small, local food farms in order to make room for export commodities, including biofuels and cut flowers.. So there is an inversion of small, local farming to industrialized agriculture.. As farmers are forced to vacate ancestral lands, they and their families, who rely on the  ...   is estimated that 80 million hectares were acquired in 2010.. " By contrast, prior to 2008 the annual expansion of global agricultural land was less than 4 million hectares.. Not only are these land grabs, the land acquired is often also located near water resources.. The reports state that major African rivers, including the Nile, the Niger and the Zambezi, are tapped by these land grabs.. Hence, these land grabs are actually often.. water grabs.. , intended to stabilize not only food supplies but also water access in other countries.. Countries that often acquire the land include.. China, India and the Gulf States.. According to Mittal, "Universities such as Harvard University, Vanderbilt University, Wake Forest University are investing in hedge funds that are involved in these land grabs.. These universities put their money into a direct investment fund, which then purchases the land.. According to the Oakland Institute's reports, these are "investment funds with ties to major banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.. When asked if these universities are aware of their implication in these land grabs, Mittal replied: "We would like to believe that these universities are not aware.. But an educational institution also needs to be informed about the kinds of returns that these funds deliver, which are around 25 percent, 30 percent and more, and in this kind of economy, should raise some questions.. "While countries such as China, India and Gulf States acquire the land, the financial sector involved also needs to be examined," Mousseau added.. "There is a high level of fiscal incentives.. " These include exemption from VAT taxes.. Moreover, the land is often acquired for very little compensation; some land parcels were even documented as being given away for free.. Obang Metho underscores the financial motivations, stating "These people are not there to feed the Ethiopian people.. They are here for the profit.. If this is not allowed in the free world, it should not be allowed in Ethiopia.. Tina Gerhardt is an academic and journalist whose writing has appeared in Grist, The Huffington Post, In These Times and The Nation..

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  • Title: Harvard and Other Large US Universities, Pensions Accused of African Land-Grabbing | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Harvard and Other Large US Universities, Pensions Accused of African Land-Grabbing.. Asset International.. US university endowments and other institutional investors are investing heavily in African land as they foresee high returns on deals that have encountered scrutiny and opposition, a new report states.. Harvard, Vanderbilt, Spellman, and Iowa universities, along with other major colleges in the United States, have been.. criticized.. for buying.. African.. farmland.. According to a recent report by The Oakland Institute, a California-based think tank, titled “Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa,” American universities are taking part in or providing funds for land purchases in Africa that "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.. Pensions and hedge funds are also taking part in "largely unregulated land purchases" within the continent, the report states, lured by high returns while turning a blind eye to theft of land and displacement of people.. According  ...   setting up businesses and employing people.. Meanwhile, Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute, said in a statement: “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.. 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.. Mittal added: “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.. 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.. To contact the aiCIO editor of this story: Paula Vasan at.. pvasan@assetinternational.. ; 646-308-2742.. Follow on Twitter at.. @ai_CIO..

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  • Title: Harvard is Buying Land. Lots of it. In Africa. | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Harvard is Buying Land.. Lots of it.. Corporate Citizenship.. Harvard says this is brilliant.. It provides jobs for local people.. It invests in African agriculture.. It generates local businesses.. Or at least that is what the deans would have us believe.. It also generates a 25% return.. A group of the world’s finest academics can surely justify anything.. The Oakland Institute says that local  ...   camps are being uprooted.. The only ones benefitting it seems, are the investors themselves.. The report on this story by The Guardian is undoubtedly shocking.. But I’m not sure which part astonishes me the most.. The part where an area the size of France in Africa has been leased by foreign companies in the last three years alone.. Or the part where this is justified..

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  • Title: Harvard and Vanderbilt Endowments Criticized for Buying African Farmland | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Harvard and Vanderbilt Endowments Criticized for Buying African Farmland.. The Chronicle of Philanthropy.. Several major U.. university endowments are investing heavily in African land, anticipating high returns in deals some critics say displace rural farmers and refugees, according to.. The Guardian.. Harvard and Vanderbilt are among the universities buying African farmland through European speculators and hedge funds such as London-based Emergent, the British daily writes, citing a new report by the Oakland Institute, an advocacy group.. Researchers at the group say Emergent’s  ...   African countries.. An Emergent spokesman acknowledged university endowment funds are among its “long-term investors” but said its African land fund invests in “agriculture and setting up businesses and employing people.. We are doing it in a responsible way.. But Oakland Institute director Anuradha Mittal said the group’s analysis shows “that many of the deals will provide few jobs and will force many thousands of people off the land.. The newspaper did not include any responses from the American universities named in the report..

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  • Title: Investor Land Deals Exploiting Africa, Report Alleges | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Investor Land Deals Exploiting Africa, Report Alleges.. June 8, 2011.. Reuters.. * Refugees displaced by investors.. * $2 per hectare land deals cited.. * Biofuel production at expense of food.. By Carey Gillam and Richard Valdmanis.. KANSAS CITY, Mo.. and DAKAR, June 8 (Reuters) - Wealthy U.. and European investors are accumulating large swaths of African agricultural lands in deals that have little accountability and give them greater control over food supply for the world's poor, according to a report released Wednesday.. Along with hedge funds and speculators, some U.. public universities and pension funds are among those in on the land rush, eyeing returns of 20 to as much as 40 percent, according to the report by Oakland Institute, a think tank in California.. (Link:.. here.. ).. While investors find rewards in the arable African soils, some of the deals displace local residents in poor African communities, the report charged.. A large share of land deals are aimed at biofuel production, taking away land from food production.. And some deals shield investors from accountability even as they acquire precious land for next to nothing, the report alleged.. "This is very, very scary," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of Oakland Institute.. With funding from such foundations as the Howard G.. Buffett Foundation, Oakland Institute researchers spent more than a year working undercover to gather information on land investment deals in seven African countries such as Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.. Institute officials said they are not opposed to agricultural investments in Africa, which they agree are needed to increase food production.. But they hope that by exposing negative aspects of certain deals, they can curb "blind support" for expanded industrial agriculture on the continent.. They said there are lax or no job creation requirements for many of these investments, land costs are cheap or, at least in one cited example, free.. Water rights are granted broadly, and many foreign investors are not required to honor labor  ...   the pace of land acquisitions in Africa is staggering.. In 2009 alone nearly 60 million hectares was purchased or leased in comparison, the report stated.. One active U.. investor is AgriSol Energy LLC, led by well-known Iowa farming and ethanol executive Bruce Rastetter.. AgriSol has publicly described its plans for a large-scale commercial farming and beef and poultry production on three tracts of land in western Tanzania, with a demonstration project ready by late this year.. AgriSol works with a Tanzanian investments and consulting firm to circumvent limits on foreign land ownership, according to the Oakland Institute report.. The group has said publicly that it intends to work cooperatively with local farmers.. But the Oakland Institute said that much of the 325,000 hectares the group is taking control of is populated by Burundian refugees who have been farming the land since 1972.. Those people are being forced to leave the land and white South African farm managers are to be brought in, the Institute said it found.. The Tanzanian government had been undertaking a naturalization process to grant citizenship to the more than 160,000 refugees.. But with the AgriSol deal, the government has been coercing refugees to evacuate the land in question if they want citizenship, according to the according to the Institute report, which does not make clear whether AgriSol is aware of the relocation efforts or not.. Rastetter did not respond to interview requests.. In many cases, the land comes cheap.. In the west African country of Mali, one investment group was able to secure 100,000 hectares of fertile land for a 50-year term for free, according to the Institute's report.. Elsewhere $2 a hectare is the going rate.. "There's an extreme lack of transparency surrounding the land deals in Africa," said Frederic Mousseau, policy director at Oakland Institute.. "International investors who are involved in these deals are not accountable to anyone.. (Reporting by Carey Gillam; additional reporting by Richard Valdmanis in Dakar, Senegal; Editing by John Picinich)..

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  • Title: Western Investors Buying Up African Farming Properties In “Land Grab”: Report | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Western Investors Buying Up African Farming Properties In “Land Grab”: Report.. NASDAQ.. Posted by.. International Business Times.. Some prominent American universities and pension funds, among other wealthy foreign investors, are allegedly purchasing huge tracts of land in Africa -- acts that may lead to the eviction of thousands of local farmers, according to a study by the Oakland Institute (Oakland Institute), a California-based think tank.. educational institutions, including Harvard University, as well as pension funds, are using UK hedge funds and European financial speculators to acquire large agricultural properties thousands of miles away on the African continent.. Many of these lands are being taken in order to develop biofuel production, in place of normal food production.. Oakland Institute said in the report that the investors have little or no accountability in these transactions, while providing them with greater control over food supply for the world's poor.. Oakland Institute's research looked at such transactions in seven African countries: Ethiopia, Mali, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania and Zambia.. Oakland Institute researchers claim that many of these western investors are getting arable land very cheaply and are generally not required to create jobs for the locals in exchange for the acquisitions.. For example, Oakland Institute cited, a foreign.. investment group.. was able to acquire 100,000 hectares of fertile land in Mali for a 50-year term for free.. The buyers are also apparently not observing labor and environmental rules.. The pace of land buying has been phenomenal.. In 2009, nearly 60 million hectares - an area the size of France -- of African lands were purchased or leased, Oakland Institute stated.. "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," says the Oakland Institute report.. Oakland Institute concedes that the rush to buy farmland has, in some cases, been encouraged by the African governments themselves who are desperate to modernize farming methods and increase crop yields in order to feed rising populations.. For example, The Malian Investment Promotion  ...   run by former currency dealers from JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.. Oakland Institute believes Emergent's clients in the US may have invested up to $500-million - with the assumption that they will make returns as high as 25 percent.. According to the Guardian newspaper in England, a spokesman for Emergent defended the deals.. "Yes, university endowment funds and.. pension funds.. are long-term investors," he said.. We are doing it in a responsible way … The amounts are large.. This is not land-grabbing.. The Guardian further reports that in Ethiopia the government is relocating tens of thousands of farmers out of their traditional lands while it negotiates property deals with foreign firms.. "The scale of the land deals being struck is shocking", said Mittal.. "The conversion of African small farms and forests into a natural-asset-based, high-return.. investment strategy.. can drive up food prices and increase the risks of climate change.. There are also grave repercussions for the world' hungry.. "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 Oakland, said:.. "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.. Mittal warned of grave danger from these land grabs.. "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," she said.. "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.. The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc..

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  • Title: U.S. Colleges Accused of African "Land Grabs" | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Colleges Accused of African Land Grabs.. CBS News.. A pygmy woman and her daughter are carrying a heavy load of beans from the fields into her village in January, 2011, in the Congo.. (Credit: iStockphoto).. The questionable, unchecked, speculative practices of large financial institutions that sent the world into a near-calamitous economic recession recently are being repeated in Africa through land-grabbing deals, The Oakland Institute, a California-based think tank, said in.. a recent report.. Hedge funds are partaking in "largely unregulated land purchases" throughout the continent that essentially amount to "the conversion of African small farms and forests into a natural-asset-based, high-return investment strategy" and are often nothing more than "land grabs," the report states.. Additionally, several American universities, including Harvard, Vanderbilt, Spellman, and Iowa universities, are also taking part in or providing funds for the practice that "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," the reports states.. While the report does not claim the deals break any laws  ...   practice to the Guardian, saying: "Yes, university endowment funds and pension funds are long-term investors.. We are doing it in a responsible way.. The amounts are large.. Chinese and Middle Eastern outfits have long been accused of similar practices, but the Oakland Institute report claims the European and American funds are behind many of the biggest deals.. Ethiopia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Tanzania and South Sudan are among the countries most affected by the deals, and they often come with incentives for speculators ranging from unlimited water, oil and timber rights to tax waivers.. In 2009 alone, these largely non-transparent purchases gobbled up nearly 60 million hectares - an area the size of France, the report claims.. "No one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans, create jobs or improve food security," said Obang Metho with the Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia, in the report.. "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..

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  • Title: Hedge Funds 'Grabbing Land' in Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Hedge Funds Grabbing Land in Africa.. Hedge funds are behind "land grabs" in Africa to boost their profits in the food and biofuel sectors, a US think-tank says.. Foreign firms are snapping up farming land in Africa, a new report says.. In a report, the Oakland Institute said hedge funds and other foreign firms had acquired large swathes of African land, often without proper contracts.. It said the acquisitions had displaced millions of small farmers.. Foreign firms farm the land to consolidate their hold over global food markets, the report said.. They also use land to "make room" for export commodities such as biofuels and cut flowers.. "This is creating insecurity in the global food system that could be a much bigger threat than terrorism," the report said.. The.. Oakland Institute said it released its findings.. after studying land deals in Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mali and Mozambique.. 'Risky manoeuvre.. '.. It said hedge funds and other speculators had, in 2009 alone, bought or leased nearly 60m hectares of land in Africa - an area the size of France.. "The same financial firms that drove us into a global recession by inflating the real estate bubble through risky financial manoeuvres are now doing the same with the world's food supply," the report said.. It added that some firms obtained land after deals with gullible traditional leaders or corrupt government officials.. "The research exposed investors who  ...   However, not all companies named in the report accept that their motives are as suggested and they dismiss claims that their presence in Africa is harmful.. One company, EmVest Asset Management, strongly denied that it was involved in exploitative or illegal practices.. "There are no shady deals.. We acquire all land in terms of legal tender," EmVest's Africa director Anthony Poorter told the BBC.. He said that in Mozambique the company's employees earned salaries 40% higher than the minimum wage.. The company was also involved in development projects such as the supply of clean water to rural communities.. "They are extremely happy with us," Mr Poorter said.. In the field.. Umaru Fofana.. BBC African Service, Sierra Leone.. 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..

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