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    Archived pages: 861 . Archive date: 2012-12.

  • Title: Réglementer la Ruée vers les Terres | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Réglementer la Ruée vers les Terres.. Monday, November 14, 2011.. Originally published by.. IPS.. By Jessica McDiarmid.. FREETOWN, 14 nov (IPS) - L'adoption de directives internationales pour réglementer les soi-disant accaparements des terres a été repoussée à l'année prochaine après l’échec des négociateurs qui n'ont pas pu s'entendre sur les conditions pour les investissements fonciers à grande échelle, ainsi que leur application.. Ces directives, en élaboration depuis plusieurs années, ont été suscitées par des craintes qu'une "ruée vers les terres" est en train de conduire à la faim, aux conflits et aux violations des droits humains.. Une fois en place, ces directives du Comité des Nations Unies sur la sécurité alimentaire mondiale viseront à protéger les gens, particulièrement dans des pays pauvres comme la Sierra Leone, de "l'accaparement des terres".. Au début du mois d’octobre, une brève vague d'attention des médias et de la société civile a entouré les sessions du Comité sur la sécurité alimentaire mondiale à Rome, au cours desquelles un sceau d'approbation des directives, sur la mise en bail des terres, la pêche et les forêts, était attendu.. Toutefois, Olivier De Schutter, le rapporteur spécial des Nations Unies sur le droit à l'alimentation, a déclaré dans un courriel, après les réunions, que les détails sur les conditions pour des investissements à grande échelle demeuraient une pierre d'achoppement non résolue.. "L’autre difficulté majeure potentielle sera de savoir comment ces (directives volontaires) devront être suivies", a indiqué De Schutter.. Une autre semaine de négociations devrait être consacrée en janvier ou février pour parvenir à un consensus sur des directives qui seront "certainement" adoptées au début de l'année prochaine.. "Ce sont des questions complexes et je ne suis pas surpris qu’il faille plus de temps que prévu", a déclaré De Schutter.. "Je pense que c'est formidable que nous nous dirigions vers un texte très détaillé, dans lequel les décisions sont prises non pas par vote mais par consensus, malgré la gamme variée d’intérêts en jeu".. Un rapport publié en septembre par 'Oxfam International' indiquait que 227 millions d'hectares de terres dans les pays en développement ont été vendues ou mises en bail depuis 2001.. L’essentiel de cette acquisition a eu lieu depuis 2008 et la plupart des terres ont été aux mains des investisseurs internationaux, précise ce rapport intitulé 'Land and Power' (La Terre et le pouvoir).. "On craint que les terres  ...   des transactions foncières en Afrique sont pour des produits d'exportation, notamment les biocarburants et les fleurs coupées, plutôt que pour la production alimentaire, selon le rapport d’'Oxfam International'.. En Sierra Leone, un petit pays d’Afrique de l’ouest d'environ six millions d’habitants, qui est sorti d'une longue guerre civile en 2002, le gouvernement démocratiquement élu du président Ernest Bai Koroma ne cache pas son désir d'attirer l’investissement étranger.. Dans une récente allocution présidentielle, Koroma a fait remarquer que l'agriculture contribue pour près de la moitié du produit intérieur bruit du pays et pour un quart de ses recettes d'exportation, et emploie également environ deux tiers de la population.. Tout en vantant les programmes du gouvernement pour l’agriculture à petite échelle, Koroma a salué les "énormes investissements" faits par le secteur privé, essentiellement étranger.. "Ces entreprises du secteur privé ont non seulement fait d’importants investissements dans le secteur agricole, mais ont également créé des milliers d'emplois pour notre peuple", a déclaré Koroma, dont le gouvernement offre une gamme d'incitations et des allègements fiscaux aux investisseurs étrangers.. Selon un rapport publié par 'Oakland Institute', basé en Californie, au début de 2011, près d'un demi-million d'hectares de terres agricoles en Sierra Leone avaient été mises en bail ou étaient en cours de négociation, tandis que le Programme alimentaire mondial estime qu'environ la moitié de la population demeure dans l'insécurité alimentaire.. Le rapport-pays de 'Oakland Institute' intitulé 'Understanding Land Deals in Africa' (Comprendre les accords fonciers en Afrique), sur la Sierra Leone, a suggéré que l'acquisition de terres à grande échelle est caractérisée par un manque de transparence et de divulgation, de faibles cadres juridiques et la confusion entourant la disponibilité des terres.. "Des terres sont en train d’être cultivées pour la production d'agro-carburants plutôt que la production alimentaire pour les marchés locaux, soulevant de sérieux doutes sur la valeur des investissements pour la sécurité alimentaire locale", indique le rapport.. Ce rapport a souligné que les conditions "sont réunies pour l'exploitation et les conflits" et demandé aux institutions internationales et aux partenaires donateurs de cesser de soutenir les acquisitions de terres à grande échelle dans le pays.. 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: Out of Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Out of Africa.. Black Business Quarterly.. Occupy Africa – the land wars.. When South Africa’s ruling ANC last week banished to possible political oblivion its enfant terrible, Ju Ju, perhaps better known as Julius Malema of the ANC Youth League, the party may perhaps have thought it had silenced Malema’s fiery demands for taking land from white South Africans without compensation.. But it certainly did not kill the debate around land redistribution.. In fact, all over Africa it has become a cry of considerable anguish.. Across the entire continent of Africa, emotional debates around land redistribution and usage abound, with the words “land grab” having two very distinct and opposite faces.. There are, on the one side, the wealthy landed gentry, large commercial farmers, corporate land-owners and sometimes the state who view the threat of land grabs in terms of the vast communities of landless peasants with their ever-growing land hunger who want to invade, occupy and seize the land, or who exert pressure on their governments to do so on their behalf.. This applies as much to land for agricultural use as to land where an impoverished family might wish to erect their humble shack of tin, planks and plastic.. This is pretty much the focal point of current land debates and activities in countries like South Africa and Zimbabwe.. But in many other parts of Africa the debate centres on that other face of land grabs, namely multinational corporates who are pushing villagers, small farmers and peasant or subsistence farmers off their land, and therefore robbing them of their only means of survival.. And in the vast majority of cases these land grabs on a grand scale are facilitated by governments mesmerised by the slick presentations of the corporates about economic benefits, growth and development.. And in many cases by the payment of healthy backhanders to politicians and officials.. At the risk of generalising, one could perhaps say that to a majority of Africans land represents almost their entire raison d'être, a connection with the land that encompasses their roots, ancestral lineage, status, wealth, survival, sense of belonging, cultural expression and so much more.. However, the often ill-informed and one-sided land demands by people like Julius Malema mostly fail to resolve such issues.. In Zimbabwe, for instance, they led to murder, mayhem and economic collapse, turning this erstwhile bread-basket of Africa into a basket case.. In South Africa it recently led to the invasion of privately owned land in KwaZulu-Natal, with the invaders telling the owners they were settlers, that their land would be seized and that “the land belongs to Julius Malema”.. In another recent incident hundreds of people invaded 57 hectares of church-owned land outside Mthatha in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province, forming a committee that parcelled up the land and sold it for R7 000 per site.. And near Cape Town some 1,000 illegal residents became aggressive when authorities tried to remove their illegal structures from an empty field they had occupied.. Meanwhile the South African government has drafted a new land reform  ...   "the bell they (governments) ring to sweet talk people into accepting these things”.. A recent study on foreign land grabs in newly independent South Sudan called “The New Frontier” which was commissioned by the Norwegian People’s Aid (NPA) found that in the period 2007 to 2010 “foreign interests sought or acquired a total of 2.. 64 million hectares of land (6.. 52 million acres) in the agriculture, forestry and biofuel sectors alone”.. That is a land area larger than the entire country of Rwanda.. To date foreign companies have taken over a total of 5.. 74-million hectares of land in South Sudan, their focus being on agriculture, forestry, biofuels, eco-tourism and carbon trading.. Since 2005 – long before South Sudan’s secession from the north – major companies from the US, China, India, Norway, Malaysia, Turkey, and even African countries such as South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, had already “invaded” the Juba region of South Sudan.. South African interest in the region was spearheaded by Mechem a subsidiary of Denel (the South African state-owned arms manufacturer) that started demining operations there.. The rush for land in Africa by large foreign investors has intensified dramaticly since the food and fuel price crisis of 2008.. Most of the land deals were for export commodities, including biofuels, minerals and luxury export items such as cut flowers, rather than for food production Oxfam International reported in a new study this year.. According to the Oxfam report as much as 227-million hectares of land has been sold or leased in developing countries, much of it in Africa, since 2001.. Other reports concur and note that the loss of land, livelihoods and food security will have major negative impacts on the rural populations of Africa.. These developments led to the UN Committee on World Food Security trying to draft a set of guidelines on tenure of land, fisheries and forests to protect poor communities and farmers.. However, finalisation of the guidelines has been delayed due to those involved in the process failing to agree on details of conditions for large-scale investments.. Corruption is also rife and various researchers and development agencies report that government ministers and officials facilitate transfers of land to foreign companies on bribes being paid or other arrangements that further their own interests.. No longer willing to patiently wait for governments and international agencies like those of the UN to take up their cause, in one response some 200 farmers affected by such land grabs in Mali and belonging to the National Coordination of Farming Organisations have joined forces with the international farmers’ movement Via Campesina, researchers, political leaders and NGOs to host a conference on 17-19 November in Sélingué in Mali with the purpose of strengthening the fight against land grabs.. They see the “enemy” as being large businesses and hedge funds, among others, that undermine the ability of people to feed themselves.. One cannot ignore the fact that land grabs – in different guises – have become a heavily contested new front in Africa’s battles for survival and development..

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  • Title: Africa, Act Or Lose Agric-Business To Land Grabbers | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Africa, Act Or Lose Agric-Business To Land Grabbers.. Nigeria Exchange.. By Farouk Martins.. Tanzania is the case in point of how land grabbers are going to turn Africa land into what Africans neglect to do for themselves.. Africa did it in the days of cocoa farmers in Ghana at the time of Nkrumah; expanded to food crops and meat production.. As Awolowo in Nigeria’s Western Region whose industrial achievements were known as first in Africa.. Since most of the gold and diamond were looted as oil today, both turned their parts of Africa into cooperatives primary food industries with small entrepreneur family farmers.. So were groundnut pyramids under Ahmadu Bello in the North; palm oil and coal power in Eastern Nigeria under Okpara.. But Nyerere’s Ujamaa was murdered before it could even succeed.. 99 years leasers have replaced insightful African leaders with corporate bums demanding free land, tax breaks, unresticted immigration of staff and profit out.. The same corporate interest that made sure Nyerere did not succeed in Tanzania is back as Kilomo Kwaza Agriculture First, to do what Africans can and had done: arable land into world food basket at foreign dictated prize; and corn into biofuel for machines.. The blue print of big corporations to grab Africa arable land was a point of discussion recently at Harvard University where Oakland Institute came to sensitize students to land grab in Tanzania.. The panel included Anuradha Mittal and Jeff Furman that pleaded to students to see through the placard of deceit of do-gooders that are actually out to rape Africa for more than 30% returns in profit for their shareholders.. So corporations peddle fat returns on poor people to Ivy Leagues to invest some of their endowments.. It is always said if you can hold your nose, you can make a killing profit in Africa; arable lands too? These are the same companies that introduced genetically modified crops to Indian farmers forcing them into loans they could not pay the banks back.. In the process they lost their lands in foreclosure and resorted to suicide since everything they had was invested in rosy projection for shareholders’ benefit.. In Iowa USA small entrepreneur independent farmers have lost business to big corporations widening income inequality.. Whenever these new generation of African politicians go out of the Continent lying that their frequent trips to Europe and America is to attract foreign investment, Africans must be leery.. These politicians talk about free trade zones that will generate jobs when in fact the only jobs for  ...   Rice Development Association.. These African politicians that negotiate African loans and their agents that make sure the loans of about 650 billion dollars since the seventies are paid hold about half of the loans in their private account outside the Continent.. A relationship that allow politicians, their cronies to negotiate; and agents that get commission or position making sure the loans are paid back.. These Africans hold half as assets in private bands while liabilities, responsibilities and debts, are publicly owned by their people as debtor-countries.. So, African looters hold Africans to ransom in foreign countries.. These foreign countries can confiscate their assets as illegitimate money laundering since the method of their acquisition will never be tolerated in their local transactions.. Indeed, the Government of Abacha in Nigeria repudiated these odious loans, only to be paid back in interest and penalty by succeeding governments.. In return, the Country was given triple AAA rating by conniving agencies whose interest aligns with lending banks.. The difference between these big corporations either from China giving loans to African countries that are secured by long term contract to control mineral resources and those criticizing China in the western world is choosing between a bad and a worse deal.. It is up to Africans to stand up for themselves, especially youths with greater stake in the future of their Continent.. The steel Industry built by the Russians in Nigeria has never been profitable.. Indeed, it has turned into a sink hole draining other resources.. Ghana lost its “golden” base to foreign corporations and advisers.. World criticism of China on long term contract as land grabber has been helpful since some of the loans have been forgiven in deals with poorer countries and better deals to help Tanzania built gas-fired power plants, natural gas pipeline, mine coal and iron ore.. On the other hand, no amount of criticism, not even from the Arch Bishop of the Church of England, changed the minds of Paris Club countries when they took the biggest transfer of payment by odious loan from an African Country to wealthy nations.. If Africans cannot turn their greatest strength of arable land into local agricultural power house using all the technologies from home universities, foreigners will do it with the help of unscrupulous politicians and international Africans agents working for World Bank, IMF and other trade organizations.. Africa’s neglect in pursuit of prestigious edifice is their gain.. Developing countries want free and fair trade where they can sell their finished agricultural products at their own price..

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  • Title: Trois Milliards d’Habitants en Afrique d’ici 2 100, un Enjeu | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Trois Milliards d’Habitants en Afrique d’ici 2 100, un Enjeu.. Monday, November 7, 2011.. Pambazuka News.. By Maurice Oudet.. cc Genvessel.. La terre a franchit le lundi 31 octobre 2011, officiellement, le cap des sept milliards d’habitants, selon l’ONU.. L’Afrique, qui a le taux de croissance le plus élevée au monde, compte à elle seule désormais plus d’un milliard de personnes.. L’enjeu de cette évolution démographique est de taille pour le monde et pour l'Afrique, écrit Maurice Oudet.. Pour le secrétaire général de l’ONU, Ban Ki-moon, le passage aux 7 milliards d’habitants n’est pas à prendre à la légère.. « Ce n’est pas une simple affaire de chiffre.. C’est une histoire humaine », a-t-il déclaré dans une école new-yorkaise la semaine dernière.. « Sept milliards de personnes ont besoin de nourriture.. D’énergie.. D’offres intéressantes en matière d’emplois et d’éducation.. De droits et de liberté.. La liberté d’expression.. La liberté de pouvoir élever ses enfants en paix et dans la sécurité.. Tout ce que chacun souhaite pour soi, multiplié par 7 milliards », a-t-il dit.. Mais si l'enjeu est de taille pour le monde, que dire pour l'Afrique ? Selon l’ONU, le continent africain a le taux de croissance le plus élevé.. Depuis 2009, il compte plus d’un milliard d’habitants et devrait atteindre les 2 milliards d’ici 2044.. La planète compte ainsi de plus en plus d’africains.. L’institut national des études démographiques (INED) a indiqué qu’en 2100 la population africaine devrait passer à 3 milliards.. Au niveau du monde, comme de l'Afrique, la grande question est de savoir si les ressources seront suffisantes pour nourrir tous ces habitants.. LA GRANDE ESCROQUERIE !.. Des chercheurs et des investisseurs se sont basés sur des données statistiques et des images satellite pour affirmer la disponibilité suffisante de terre en friche, notamment en Afrique.. Ainsi, en 2010, la Banque mondiale citait des études concluant que 445 millions d’hectares de terres inutilisées et à fort potentiel agricole étaient disponibles, terres non boisées, non protégées et habitées par moins de 25 personnes/km²..  ...   la France - ont été cédés en 2009.. C'est ce qui ressort de plusieurs recherches publiées par des ONG internationales au cours des derniers mois.. Dans un rapport intitulé « Comprendre les accords d'investissement dans le foncier en Afrique », publié au mois de juin, le think tank américain Oakland Institute constate que les achats de terres sont principalement le fait de spéculations, par « les mêmes firmes financières qui ont conduit à la récession mondiale en gonflant la bulle immobilière par des manœuvres risquées ».. Se référant à des travaux spécifiques menés au Mali et en Sierra Leone, Oakland Institute souligne aussi les effets des politiques de la Banque mondiale qui ont « façonné l'environnement économique, fiscal et juridique d'une manière qui favorise l'acquisition de vastes étendues de terres fertiles par quelques intérêts privés ».. Le rapport met en évidence la facilité avec laquelle les investisseurs prennent possession de terres, en affichant souvent des promesses qu'ils ne tiennent pas.. Ces opérations « n'apportent pratiquement aucun des avantages promis aux populations locales, mais expulsent des millions de petits paysans de leurs terres ancestrales afin de faire place à la culture de produits d'exportation et notamment les biocarburants » indique le rapport.. GOUVERNER, C'EST PREVOIR.. En ce jour où nous apprenons que nous sommes 7 milliards sur notre planète et surtout que « bientôt » nous serons 3 milliards en Afrique (3 fois plus qu'aujourd'hui), il est permis de se poser la question : « à quoi jouent les chefs d’États africains qui permettent un tel pillage de l'Afrique ?».. Mais rien ne sert de se lamenter.. Il faut un changement radical de politique.. D'où viendra-t-il ?.. Nous dédions cette lettre au Forum des Peuples qui se tient actuellement au Mali (1), et dont un des thèmes majeurs sera bien : « l'accaparement des terres ».. Nous en espérons des propositions d'action concrètes.. NOTE.. 1) Voir dans cette édition : Forum des peuples : En contrepoint au G20 de Cannes.. * Maurice Oudet est prrésident du SEDELAN..

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  • Title: Students Organize Against University’s Investments in Africa | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Students Organize Against University’s Investments in Africa.. Thursday, November 10, 2011.. The Vanderbilt Hustler.. By Kyle Blain.. Students and community members gather at a "teach-in" in Buttrick Hall Wednesday.. (Kevin Barnett).. A group of students is calling for the university to divest from hedge funds involved in African agricultural development, following reports the investment is forcing small-farmers in Africa off the land.. Around 50 students and community members gathered Wednesday night at a "teach-in" in Buttrick Hall.. The teach-in focused on the history of land grabs in Africa and the details of Vanderbilt's investment in Africa.. The Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food organized and led the event that was largely based on a report released in June by the Oakland Institute.. In the report, the California-based policy think tank implicated Vanderbilt in an African “land grabbing” investment scheme.. The report is based on investigations of investors, purchase contracts, business plans and maps of the region.. According to the report, Vanderbilt, along with Harvard and other U.. S.. colleges, is invested in African land development through London-based hedge fund Emergent asset management, which runs on of Africa’s largest land acquisition funds.. The report claims Emergent’s investments in African land are forcing small farmers off their lands and creating insecurity in the global food system while not fulfilling promises of increased native employment and development.. The investments, according to the report, are aimed at developing the land for agricultural exports.. Junior Sebastion Lasaosa Rogers is a member of the Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food  ...   investigation and due diligence, but social benefits are not the number one priority.. Provost Richard McCarty said to the best of his knowledge, the university always looks to investment opportunities with an eye towards the effects it will have on the local population.. "Investment in third-world economies does help the local people too," McCarty said.. "There is a negative side, but there is also a positive side and I believe we are on the side of having a positive impact.. ".. Representatives from the Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair food met with McCarty earlier this week.. During the teach-in, McCarty was quoted on a slide as saying it was inappropriate for students to have input in investment strategy.. According to McCarty, the meetings went well and were successful in clarifying the relevant issues.. The campaign plans to deliver a petition to the Board of Trust at 2:45 p.. m.. today.. The Vanderbilt Campaign for Fair Food is set to meet with Wright in early December.. Senior Ari Schwartz said the organization cannot assume the university will respond favorably to its requests.. "We have to keep on with awareness, we have to keep reaching different parts of the Vanderbilt community to see if we can build a bigger coalition," Schwartz said.. Freshman Ben Terpstra attended the teach-in and said the event convinced him to take action.. "Vanderbilt's name is being used by Emergent to make themselves look cleaner and legitimate, which automatically stains our reputation and the reputation of everyone who goes here," Terpstra said..

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

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

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  • Title: Mittal and Mousseau Discuss Land Acquisition | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Mittal and Mousseau Discuss Land Acquisition.. Thursday, October 27, 2011.. The Stanford Daily.. Correction: A previous version of this article stated, “Mittal described the land grab situation in Tanzania, where U.. investors, including Tom Harkin, an Iowa senator, bought large amounts of land.. Soil sampling and other tests were done by Iowa State University.. ” In fact, Tom Harkin is not involved.. Anuradha Mittal and Frederic Mousseau of the.. Oakland Institute.. spoke Wednesday evening about farmland investment in the southern hemisphere at an event hosted at the Black Community Services Center.. Mittal and Mousseau are the executive director and policy director, respectively, at the Oakland Institute, a local policy think-tank.. Particular emphasis was given to current “land grab” deals in Ethiopia and other African countries, which threaten to displace hundreds of thousands of people.. Isabella Akker ’13 began planning the talk this past summer and contacted the Oakland Institute for their expertise.. The event was headed by the ASSU Food Cabinet and co-sponsored by the.. Freeman Spogli Institute.. (FSI).. “It’s a matter of awareness,” Akker said.. Akker added that many students from the University go on into investment and hedge fund management and should thus be aware of “what investment in agriculture can involve.. ”.. Large scale land acquisition involves countries with large populations, such as China, South Korea and India, buying productive farm land in the southern hemisphere, namely South America and Africa, to farm their food.. The event started with a video about the current situation of African farmland, showing interviews of local farmers who had been  ...   were affected.. Similar land deals have occurred in Sudan, Zambia and primarily Ethiopia, where 13 million people are now dependent on food aid.. The government of Ethiopia plans on selling an additional seven million hectares of land.. “Food goes in and food goes out,” Mittal said.. Mousseau spoke about the “myth of development.. ” During the land acquisition process, investors held community meetings with the local farmers, promising education, food and water.. No official contracts were produced from the meetings.. “You’ve all seen Avatar,” Mousseau said.. “That’s what these people are facing today.. Mousseau claimed that there is greater potential in countries investing in their lands rather than selling them.. “We’ve seen the farmers’ ability to improve productivity,” he said.. Mittal and Mousseau both brought up University investment in the land acquisitions of South American and Africa.. According to Mittal and Mousseau, Harvard made a recent large investment in a land acquisition deal in Africa.. Harvard’s finance club is meeting in November to discuss the issue.. Other universities with investment in land acquisition include Vanderbilt and Johns Hopkins.. Mittal also encouraged attendees to write letters to companies like AgriSol that are involved with land acquisition.. She stated thousands of letters have been sent to the prime minister of Tanzania and to U.. senators regarding the Tanzania land grab deal, including one from the Sierra Club on behalf of its members.. Both Mittal and Mousseau emphasized the importance of student involvement.. Mittal particularly stressed increasing awareness of the deals and who exactly is involved.. “Keep shining the light,” she said..

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

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  • Title: Are Foreign Investors Colonising Africa? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Are Foreign Investors Colonising Africa?.. Tuesday, October 25, 2011.. Al Jazeera.. New economic powers India and China are being accused of buying land cheaply and uprooting indigenous communities.. Indian, Chinese and U.. companies are among many inking land-investment deals in Africa, including Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Mali, and Mozambique.. According to a.. study.. by the U.. - based Oakland Institute, foreign investors bought or leased a land area in sub-Saharan Africa about the size of France in 2009 alone.. American universities’ trusts (including Harvard’s) are also buying up land, reportedly displacing millions of farmers in the process.. Advocates say the land is being taken from indigenous communities by often violent means, and that land rights are handed over without proper contracts after closed-door deals.. A lack of regulations in these countries allows foreign firms to purchase or lease large tracts of arable land, leaving little recourse for displaced residents.. Investors claim to be growing food for the global market that will indirectly alleviate food shortages in Africa, but land is very often used to grow non-edible export commodities such as flowers and biofuels.. Defendants of the deals say local farmers who are employed by foreign firms earn more working the land than they otherwise could, and that infrastructure developments (like clean water facilities or improved irrigation systems) are there to help them.. But many of the long-term social and environmental costs are more hard to predict, and critics say the “land grabs” are already causing “.. deprivation and destitution.. ” for locals.. Indian author and media commentator  ...   are writing open letters to the people of India asking them to speak out against Indian agro-companies brokering land deals in their country.. "What would Gandhi say today were he to know that Indians, who were only freed from the shackles of colonialism in recent history, were now at the forefront of this "land-grabbing" as part of the race for foreign control over African land and resources; currently being called the Neo-Colonialism of Africa?".. "This land is not just "nobody"s land" as the government claims; it is our life! Without it, we could have never existed as a people.. I don"t think we will accept our land being given away to foreigners without resisting.. "We have had enough and will not tolerate this new onslaught of exploitation and dehumanization in the 21st century! Many want to keep us Africans poor, disenfranchised and vulnerable only to more easily take advantage of the pillaging of our continent.. An Open Letter to the People of India, a Day Light Robbery in Ethiopia.. "Doing Business" With African dictators "If it is unacceptable for Ethiopians to go to India, China or Saudi Arabia and clear their land without consulting the people, it is unacceptable here.. We are human too and we care about the future of our children like everyone else…my message to the foreign investors is, listen to the owners of the land!".. ecadforum.. The horn of Africa has some of the highest rates of hunger in the world.. (Photo from UK Department for International Development).. Read the full.. Oakland Institute report..

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

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