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

  • Title: Press Release: Do You Know What Your Pension Fund is Doing in Africa? | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Release: Do You Know What Your Pension Fund is Doing in Africa?.. Tuesday, December 4, 2012.. December 4, 2012, 8:00 am EST.. Contact: Anuradha Mittal,.. amittal@oaklandinstitute.. org.. ; (510) 469-5228.. It's 2 am in Africa--Do You Know What Your Pension Fund is Doing There?.. New Report Looks at Private Equity Funds Betting Heavily on Agriculture.. Oakland, CA: Following the 2007-2008 financial crisis and the collapse of the housing market, private equity funds have found a new lucrative soft commodity market to invest in--farmland.. In a short period of time, obscured from public view, the flow of private capital into farmland and agriculture has grown dramatically worldwide.. In recent years, the private financial sector has already invested between $10 to $25 billion in farmland and agriculture with little to no oversight; given current investment trends, this amount might double or triple in the coming years.. Although agricultural funds are portrayed as positive social investment to help alleviate hunger and the effects of climate change, evidence demonstrates that large land deals are often detrimental to food security, local livelihoods, and the environment--yet little is known about the specific firms and funds driving this investment.. Betting on World Agriculture: US Private Equity Managers Eye Agricultural Returns.. , a new report from the Oakland Institute (OI), focuses on the private investment vehicles that advertise and manage investment opportunities in farmlands and agriculture for investors including pension funds, university and foundation endowments, and high net worth individuals.. Based on months of research, involving literature review, interviews with fund managers, and examination of public as well confidential internal documents, the report casts a light on this hidden trend by profiling private investment vehicles that are either based in the US or aggressively promoting farmland and agriculture in the US.. Asking pointed and value-based questions that go beyond the usual terrain of yields and risks, the new report sheds light on the complex world of funds and investment activity and the ethical obligations involved.. By doing so, the report highlights how these funds are managed and the type of investments that are being made in various regions of the world in order to inform concerned citizens, investors, and policy makers about the domestic and international impacts of such investments.. "The large buying power of these groups warrants an investigation into the overall impact of this investment activity on economic development, food production, rights of local communities, and the environment," said Caroline Bergdolt, coauthor of the.. report.. "In addition, for those already promoting social and environmental returns to raise funds and garner special incentives from governments, demonstrating a lasting, meaningful impact should be a must.. Yet, a lack of  ...   what we are doing here is 'good' because of the VERY pressing need for food and the poverty.. I am unashamed of wanting to make money from it and super confident that the imperative of profit will succeed where aid-driven ventures have failed.. Having said that, I am also aware that success will bring social upheaval.. I never stop pointing this out to African governments so that they can plan whilst they have time to think about it.. "[3].. Mittal responded, "Planning for and responding to social upheaval isn't part of the investment strategy or commitment of private equity investing in agriculture.. Just like the land deals themselves, it is extremely difficult for concerned citizens, students, teachers, and others to find out about agricultural funds.. Public information is limited and fund managers maintain an aura of secrecy.. There would be no need to delve into the details of the funds if they weren't having an adverse--and growing--impact on peoples' lives.. The new report looks specifically at intermediaries--venture capital firms, traditional private equity funds, large investment firms with specialized boutique firms or divisions, hedge funds that are evolving into more diverse investment firms, as well as billionaires, large agribusinesses and public pension funds with their own private investment structures--that advertise and manage investment opportunities.. The Oakland Institute has gained a reputation for taking on difficult areas in issues related to land investment after publishing a.. series of reports and briefs.. in the last three years.. The OI's findings of further political destabilization, impoverishment, and environmental devastation as a result of these investments has led to this new study on private funds and their outsized consequences and lack of accountability.. With a preface by Dan Apfel, executive director of Responsible Endowments Coalition, this report is clearly responding to a call from citizens who want to know more about where their money is, and what it is doing.. According to the Institute, "We believe that more often than not, when given a choice, and armed with better information, people prefer that their funds are invested elsewhere and not in short-sighted endeavors that have long-term and devastating effects.. Download the report.. Read the Frequently Asked Questions about this research.. ___.. [1] Chris Erickson, managing director at HighQuest Partners, an agribusiness consulting firm.. Reuters.. , March 13, 2012.. [2] Joseph Carvin, Hedge Fund Manager, Altima.. [3] Mark Keegan, Director, CEO Farm Lands of Guinea, in email correspondence with OI.. Contact.. the oakland institute.. P.. O.. Box 18978.. Oakland, CA 94619.. info@oaklandinstitute.. 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: Press Release: A Cautionary Tale: Tanzanian Villagers Pay for Biofuel Investment Disaster | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Release: A Cautionary Tale: Tanzanian Villagers Pay for Biofuel Investment Disaster.. Tuesday, September 25, 2012.. A new brief examines the situation on the ground a year after Sun Biofuels bankruptcy.. Oakland, CA--.. A new brief.. from the Oakland Institute examining the case of now defunct UK-based Sun Biofuels project in Tanzania shows how the "development" dream can quickly turn into a nightmare when a country hands over its future welfare and development to foreign investors, unaccountable to anyone.. Sun Biofuels secured a concession for 8,211 hectares and started operations in 2009 in the Kisarawe District.. The land acquired by the company was collectively held forest and bush land that belonged to 11 villages and was essential to the livelihoods of thousands of rural Tanzanians.. Two years into the project, the company declared bankruptcy and dismissed the 600 employees it had hired locally.. Sun Biofuels had promised employment for 1,500 people, infrastructure development, hospitals, roads, and  ...   essential natural resources, while the promises of development and better life never materialized.. In 2011, what was left of Sun Biofuels was acquired by 30 Degrees East, an investment company registered in the tax haven of Mauritius.. At the time of our field research, the project had not resumed.. The new company only employed 35 staff, mostly security guards, who ban villagers from accessing their land and natural resources.. Detailing the detrimental impact of the project, both prior to and after the bankruptcy,.. dispels myths of how foreign investment in agriculture will bring development and food security.. The Sun Biofuels case is a powerful cautionary tale for the four million peasant families in Tanzania whose livelihoods rely on small-scale farming, and who stand threatened by plans to develop large-scale commercial agriculture under the "kilimo kwanza" initiative (agriculture first), which has been touted as the way forward to promote food security and economic growth by the current government..

    Original link path: /press-release-cautionary-tale-tanzanian-villagers-pay-biofuel-investment-disaster
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  • Title: Film: The Herakles Debacle | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Film: The Herakles Debacle.. Wednesday, September 5, 2012.. From its very name, American-owned SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon, Ltd.. (SGSOC) presents a pro-environment, pro-resources image.. This is supported by an impressive-sounding partnership with an NGO by the name of All for Africa and as a package typifies the kind of convoluted modern-day foreign investment going on in Africa.. It is sadly all too familiar to communities on the ground.. They are unimpressed with promises of infrastructure and jobs, and angry about their loss of land and livelihoods.. It is also part of a strategy to deceive the public into believing that there is logic to cutting down rainforests to  ...   in Cameroon.. He graduated from London Metropolitan University with a film studies degree and decided to move back to Cameroon to produce films that address social issues.. His first feature documentary,.. What Hope for the African Youth?.. (2008), was screened in prime time on France O (a national television station) and at the African World Documentary Film Festival, St.. Louis.. The Big Banana.. , his second feature length documentary, was nominated for the jury's prize at the 2012 Al Jazeera International Documentary Film Festival, Doha, Qatar.. The film was screened in Paris, Washington DC, St.. Louis, and at the European Parliament.. The Herakles Debacle.. is his third feature-length documentary..

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  • Title: Press Release: Oakland Institute, Greenpeace Expose New York Investors’ Land Grab in Cameroon | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Release: Oakland Institute, Greenpeace Expose New York Investors’ Land Grab in Cameroon.. STRICT EMBARGO UNTIL SEPTEMBER 5 4PM CET / 10AM EST.. New report debunks investors’ effort to greenwash destruction of rainforest and livelihoods.. Oakland, USA, 5 September, 2012 – An American owned company with a track record of illegality and links to private equity giant Blackstone Group threatens to destroy rainforests and dislocate local communities in Cameroon.. A.. new report.. (1) from The Oakland Institute, in collaboration with Greenpeace International, exposes how a New York-based agri-corporation, Herakles Farms, and its local subsidiary SG Sustainable Oils Cameroon (SGSOC), are involved in a land deal that is questionable under Cameroonian Law, opposed by locals since 2010 and has just pulled out of the industry’s sustainable certification scheme (2).. Claiming it is “addressing a dire humanitarian need,” Herakles Farms intends to establish a massive 73,000 hectare palm oil plantation–-one of the largest on the continent--in Southwest Cameroon through a 99-year land lease.. Being developed without the consent and adequate consultation of many local communities, this project exemplifies how the scramble for land in Africa threatens sustainable development and human rights.. Evidence in the film.. “The Herakles Debacle”.. (1), produced by the Oakland Institute, documents the scope of community resistance and forest destruction that will result from the project.. “Bruce Wrobel’s crude attempt to greenwash his company’s palm oil project hides broad opposition and questions about the legality of the company’s contract with the government.. They started operations in breach of national law and international standards.. But their efforts to hoodwink the public are unsuccessful.. Local communities are unimpressed with promises of infrastructure and jobs, and angry about their loss of land and livelihoods,” said Frederic Mousseau, author of the report and Oakland Institute’s Policy Director.. Herakles Farms project will not deliver the financial windfall it promises.. The company negotiated conditions that are exceedingly favorable for the company, for example low rental rates and removal of all export duties for the next 99 years.. The plantation project area is in the midst of a “biodiversity hotspot.. ” It would deforest an area roughly eight times the size  ...   project.. Stop the project and establish a moratorium.. The Oakland Institute and Greenpeace support the demand from Cameroonian NGOs for a moratorium on new agro-industrial concessions until the country has developed a new approach to the granting of land concessions.. “The Herakles Farms plantation project in Cameroon is an example of the wave of land investments in Africa that have previously been exposed by the Oakland Institute.. Once again, the investor is deceiving the public into believing that forests must be cut down and small farms erased in order to alleviate hunger and poverty.. International attention needs to be mobilized to support local opposition and prevent future resource grabs,” said Frederic Mousseau.. “The planned Herakles Farms project must be stopped now.. On top of the legal issues, it is the wrong project in the wrong place.. Greenpeace does not believe that palm oil produced from deforestation should ever reach the markets.. We echo local opposition to this project–-for the sake of communities who depend on the land and forests for their livelihoods,” said Greenpeace Forests Campaigner, Frederic Amiel.. [END].. NOTES.. 1.. The report and documentary produced by the Oakland Institute can be accessed at:.. http://www.. oaklandinstitute.. org/land-deals-africa-cameroon.. 2.. On September 4, 2012, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)--a palm oil certification body--released a letter from Herakles Farms announcing that the company was withdrawing its New Planting Procedures (NPP) application and its membership to RSPO.. The company was seeking to get RSPO certified, however several NGOs filed complaints with RSPO citing breaches of RSPO criteria Herakles Farms in its letter explains its decision to withdraw claiming that the RSPO grievance process was “preventing the company from moving forward.. ” Link:.. rspo.. org/news_details.. php?nid=117 lang=1.. CONTACT.. Frederic Mousseau, author of the report and Policy Director of the Oakland Institute, ph: +15105125458;.. fmousseau@oaklandinstitute.. Frederic Amiel, Forest Campaign Leader, Greenpeace France; ph: +33 1 80 96 97 43, +33 6 73 89 23 22.. PHOTOS AND VIDEO.. Photos can be accessed via:.. http://photo.. greenpeace.. org/C.. aspx?VP3=ViewBox STID=27MDHUMOZX IT=ThumbImage01_VForm CT=Story.. A preview of the clipreel available can be accessed via:.. http://youtu.. be/2KLGACAHvjw.. “The Herakles Debacle” can be downloaded at:..

    Original link path: /press-release-oakland-institute-greenpeace-expose-new-york-investors%E2%80%99-land-grab-cameroon
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  • Title: How to Make Forest Destruction Look Like “Development” | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: How to Make Forest Destruction Look Like “Development”.. View original.. Bruce Wrobel is a man with his heart in the right place.. You see, Bruce is in the agricultural business and he plans to solve the world’s complex food security issues by creating sustainable, community oriented projects.. He is the CEO of Herakles Farms – a corporation with some very wealthy friends.. Bruce loves Africa and he and his buddies like to get together and ponder how they could end hunger there (among other things) over games of golf.. In fact, Bruce even created an NGO called All for Africa, to help do just that.. Of course, Bruce and his buddies don’t say they are in the agriculture business for the money; instead, they would have you believe they are “.. addressing a dire humanitarian need.. But what Bruce says and what Bruce does are two different things.. Bruce wants to grow a big palm oil plantation.. And we mean BIG.. This plantation would be one of the largest in Africa and out of all the land out there, he chose about 73,000 hectares between five protected areas, at the fringe of world’s second largest biodiversity hotspot.. The Herakles Farms project would displace local communities and wreak environmental havoc.. This could be the reality in the South West region in Cameroon if Bruce and his buddies are not  ...   an aspect of these global land grabs.. The Herakles case is a prime example of this.. The very legality of the convention signed by the company’s subsidiary SGSOC with the Cameroonian government in 2009 has been questioned.. Herakles Farms has been repeatedly violating Cameroonian law and, as the Oakland Institute.. report details.. , has sparked widespread opposition and anger.. For many residents the plantation poses a significant and direct threat to their livelihoods.. Greenpeace research on the ground in Cameroon has revealed that Herakles continues work on the plantation despite numerous legal challenges and local opposition.. Bruce Wrobel claims the project will boost the local economy and create jobs.. He also claims revenues from the project will fund development projects through All for Africa.. Yet there are no details on how or when such jobs will be created and there is silence on the fact that his and his company’s plantation would result in major deforestation, loss of biodiversity and the conversion of natural land and forests into a monoculture crop.. Put simply the Herakles Farms project is the wrong project, in the wrong place.. Bruce and his buddies must be stopped now.. Frédéric Amiel is head of the Forest Campaign for Greenpeace France.. Send Herakles Farms an email.. ; tell Bruce and his buddies that forest destruction and dislocating communities is NOT the same thing as development..

    Original link path: /how-make-forest-destruction-look-%E2%80%9Cdevelopment%E2%80%9D
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  • Title: Ethics Complaint Against AgriSol's Rastetter Dismissed: Public Scrutiny However Unravels Rastetter's Business Dealings | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Ethics Complaint Against AgriSol s Rastetter Dismissed: Public Scrutiny However Unravels Rastetter s Business Dealings.. Thursday, August 23, 2012.. "Agrisol Energy initially explored developing about 800,000 acres of land in Tanzania, but company officials now say it has no plans of expanding beyond the 35,000 acres it has leased.. " - Des Moines Register.. August 23, 2012: Today the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board voted to dismiss Iowa CCI's conflict of interest complaint against Iowa Regent Bruce Rastetter saying it wasn't "legally sufficient" for them to do an investigation.. The ethics complaint was filed by the Des Moines-based citizen group, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, for misusing his membership on the Iowa Board of Regents that oversees Iowa's public universities to advance an "African land grab" that involved Iowa State University (ISU), after the land deal was exposed by the Oakland Institute in June 2011.. In this land deal, which had been hidden away from public scrutiny and discussion, Bruce Rastetter's AgriSol Energy LLC partnered with ISU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to lease more than 800,000 acres in Tanzania without public debate or consent, while displacing over 162,000 villagers.. The Board today chose to take a narrow definition of state code and cited that Rastetter has never taken a public vote as a Regent on the Tanzania/ISU project as justification for dismissal.. Barb Kalbach, a CCI member, nurse, and family farmer.. read a strong statement to the press.. immediately after the decision:.. "The Iowa ethics board made the wrong decision today, a decision that puts them squarely on the side of bad government of, by, and for the corporations.. But the truth is, we win no matter what you did with our complaint today.. Because the power of ordinary people to shed light on the inner workings of a government captured by corporate power has been proven.. Rastetter's disclosure, recusal, and amended financial form were concessions we extracted from him because of public pressure.. We were doing our job while the ethics board was asleep at the wheel.. And if any changes are made in the future,  ...   case in the public arena that Rastetter is not fit to serve on the Board of Regents.. The Oakland Institute will continue to monitor the situation on the ground and ensure that the plight of the villagers (former Burundians refugees) impacted by AgriSol's land investment is kept in the public eye.. The Oakland Institute is grateful to Iowa CCI members, many who are family farmers impacted adversely by large factory farms in the US, and have helped debunk the myth that AgriSol's large industrial plantations will benefit Tanzanians! As Barb Kalbach said today, "We were doing our job while the ethics board was asleep at the wheel.. See the OI's latest report on AgriSol's investment in Tanzania.. Lives on Hold:.. AgriSol's Land Deal Creates an Uncertain Future for More than 160,000 People.. ###.. We need your help to prevent deals like this from ever being on the table.. The Oakland Institute research has been critical in empowering local communities and decision makers in many countries so they can make informed choices about the investment they need to develop their agriculture and overcome hunger and poverty.. By providing information and analysis, sponsoring radio programs in local languages, and hosting events on the ground around agricultural investments, the Institute is working to ensure people have a say in their own future.. This work has already resulted in popular mobilization in countries such as.. South Sudan.. and.. Sierra Leone.. as well as increasing awareness for many decision makers across the world.. We are committed to a world free of hunger, which requires policies and investments that will benefit the people, not just a handful of businessmen, investors, and politicians.. It is our mission to unearth and publish information that propels activism and builds change.. To continue this work, we look to individuals and foundations that are committed to the same work and goals for support.. We hope that we can count on your continued support and ask you to.. make a generous gift.. to the Institute today so we can continue our shared work and build coalitions to make real change.. Thank you!..

    Original link path: /ethics-complaint-against-agrisols-rastetter-dismissed-public-scrutiny-however-unravels-rastetters
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  • Title: Press Statement: Lives on Hold | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Statement: Lives on Hold.. Monday, July 9, 2012.. Press Statement from Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, on the Institute’s latest report, Lives on Hold, which documents the impact of AgriSol’s land deal in Tanzania.. Released at press call, July 9, 2012.. The Oakland Institute (OI) first exposed AgriSol Energy’s land deal in.. Tanzania.. in June 2011.. Since then, our research and advocacy has generated international attention and mobilized a growing number of people concerned about the downside of large-scale land deals that do not benefit smallholder farmers, respect the environment, or are genuinely pro-development.. As we release.. Lives on Hold.. , based on fieldwork carried out in Katumba, Tanzania, in March and April 2012, I’d like to make the following key points:.. All of our analysis, presented in briefs and reports dating back to June 2011, is based on fieldwork both with the investors (several months of ongoing conversations by phone, email, and personal meetings with Bruce Rastetter and associates between January-June 9, 2011) as well as in Tanzania itself, speaking to the residents of Katumba.. The research is also based on AgriSol’s documents, including a Memo of Understanding (MOU), business plans, feasibility studies, communication with the Prime Minister, and other information (available on our website).. So though it may be presented as such, it is not a case of our word against theirs.. Even though there is a long history of relocation talks (for Burundians) spanning the last 40 years, no concrete plans were ever made.. It was only under the leadership of the Minister of Internal Affairs, Lawrence Masha (also hired as a legal advisor by AgriSol) that a naturalization scheme was announced amid much fanfare.. Following naturalization, citizenship papers.. dependent.. on relocation of the residents, made displacement a requirement of citizenship.. In April 2011, when I asked Mr.. Rastetter about the residents, he was well aware of their presence.. He said that it was the responsibility of the government to move them and was one of their requirements as the investor.. At the same time, the documents provided by his associates to OI, called the area an “abandoned refugee settlement.. ”.. 3.. Since the deal was exposed and garnered international attention, AgriSol has ramped up their PR defending the investment as pro-development for Tanzania.. They paint it as an effort that will build infrastructure, including schools and a health clinic, and to create jobs.. AgriSol is hoping that the media, policymakers, the Iowa Ethics Commission, and citizens of Iowa and Tanzania won’t read their business plans, MOU, or any other materials because nowhere do they make any of these commitments in writing.. In their presentation to the Prime Minister, however, they demand “strategic investor status,” which would allow them tax exemptions including a waiver of duties on diesel, agricultural and industrial equipment and supplies; exemption from corporate tax; legal certainty for use of GMO and approval for the production of biofuels and biodiesel.. They also ask the government to commit to and provide a timetable for the construction of a rail link for Mishamo.. The feasibility study suggests that the government commits itself to an irrevocable guarantee to AgriSol for an export license, so it can export produce even in times of national shortages.. AgriSol’s feasibility studies also call for it to negotiate with the government for input subsidies, which for now are targeted for the smallholder Tanzanian farmers.. If accepted by the government, such a demand will divert scarce public resources from smallholders to agribusiness.. But most importantly, on p.. 40 of their presentation, AgriSol demands for “Refugee hosting area evacuation completion.. Henry Akona, AgriSol’s spokesperson, has said, “AgriSol  ...   AgriSol.. In recent years, Mr.. Masha has been accused on several occasions of conflicts of interest, including in a multimillion dollar national identity cards (IDs) project, which his ministry oversaw.. His law firm, IMMA Advocates, has been linked to a controversial gold-related project, Deep Green Finance, which is alleged to have siphoned $122 million from the Bank of Tanzania.. Another key associate is Iddi Simba, former Director-General of the East African Development Bank and former Tanzanian Minister for Industry and Commerce, a position he had to resign from in 2001 because of his involvement in a sugar scandal.. His political career is marked with such scandals, a more recent one involves the sale of the city transport firm Usafiri Dar es Salaam (UDA) to a local company, Simon Group.. On May 29, 2012 he was charged with eight counts, including forgery, and abuse of office that caused over Sh 2.. 4 billion loss to the transportation company and the people of Tanzania.. There is no way that individuals such as these can be expected to protect the interests of Tanzanians.. Remarks by Jeff Furman, member, Board of Directors, The Oakland Institute.. Contact information: Jeff Furman,.. jfurman@twcny.. rr.. com.. “It is no longer possible for AgriSol or Mr.. Rastetter to have 'clean hands' in Tanzania.. They have lost that opportunity.. They need to formally agree to abandon their efforts, either directly or indirectly, that encourage the displacement of over 160,000 villagers.. The best way to do that is to clearly state that they will not proceed in any way with their development plans so that the current residents may continue with their lives in security and peace.. About the Oakland Institute.. The Oakland Institute is an independent policy think tank, bringing fresh ideas and bold action to the most pressing social, economic, and environmental issues of our time.. www.. Remarks by Larry Ginter, Iowa CCI member.. Iowa CCI and I stand in solidarity with family farmers and workers in Tanzania and communities all over the world.. In the 1980s in Iowa we had over 80,000 hog producers, now we only have 8,000.. Since the factory farm model came to Iowa, hundreds of small family livestock supply operations have closed.. County tax receipts from hog sales have gone down.. The diversity of swine breeds has dropped off, good seed stock suppliers have been pushed out, veterinarians have lost lots of business, crop diversity and rotation of crops has declined, and oat production plummeted.. Since 1995, Iowa has had over 750 known manure spills, has over 572 polluted waterways, and many of our streams, rivers, and lakes are polluted as well.. Our state government and the regulatory agencies that protect our air, water and land have been corrupted by cronyism for the support of factory farm agriculture.. Rastetter’s agriculture is not sustainable agriculture and will not benefit Tanzanian farmers.. It didn’t work here and it won’t work there.. Throwing those refugees off the land is an outrage, and leasing the land for pennies is nothing short of theft.. In my county, the cost of renting land is $225/acre.. I am sure the land in Tanzania is in pretty good shape, the leaders in Tanzania must be foolish, gullible, or corrupt.. Renting the land for $.. 25 an acre smells rotten, looks fishy, and doesn’t sit right with common sense.. It is a windfall for Agrisol.. The land of Tanzania should be developed for staple food production use by the people of Tanzania, not for soybeans and corn for export and the profit of Agrisol.. This is a classic case of colonialism, and is theft of the highest order.. Read the report,..

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  • Title: Iowa CCI Statement to the Press | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Iowa CCI Statement to the Press.. For Immediate Release--July 9, 2012.. Contacts:.. Adam Mason,.. adam@iowacci.. David Goodner,.. david@iowacci.. 515.. 282.. 0484.. Iowa CCI Statement to the Press in Light of New Report from Oakland Institute.. What the Oakland Institute's.. new report.. adds to the story is not that Bruce Rastetter's collusion with Iowa State University for an attempted land grab in Tanzania threatened thousands of refugees with forced displacement.. That's been the crux of the story for the last year, despite his company's official denials.. Nor does this report add new insight into Rastetter's extensive personal involvement in the shady deal, even after he began his tenure on the Iowa Board of Regents, which was already disclosed in an email cache reported by the.. Associated Press.. a few weeks ago.. What this new report demonstrates for the first time is that this land grab is still moving forward, beyond threats of future action into actual human rights violations happening right now on the ground in the refugee settlements, including:.. The burning of refugee homes and crops by state security forces,.. Widespread intimidation,.. Arbitrary arrests,.. Lack of free speech,.. Inequities in social services,.. Loss of culture, and.. An inability to plan and build for the future.. AgriSol reps are trying to spin this report away.. Their language is very crafty because it denies the claims in the report while still leaving loopholes big enough to drive a manure spreader through.. But, as Anuradha Mittal, the executive director of the Oakland Institute, said "This is not a case of our word against their word.. This is a case of their word against their own documents.. Rastetter and his AgriSol corporation have claimed from the beginning that their land grab project in Tanzania is not responsible for any displacement of refugees from their 40-year-old communities.. That what the Tanzanian government does has nothing to do with them.. In the.. Daily Iowan today.. :.. "AgriSol has absolutely nothing to do with the refugees in Katumba and Mishamo," said Henry Akona, AgriSol Tanzania's director of communications.. "We were considering those areas a few years ago, but we have.. suspended any plans because the land is occupied.. This begs the question, what happens after the land is no longer occupied? A critical reading of Akona's statement leads to  ...   decision to repatriate those who wanted to return to Burundi and naturalise those who wanted to become citizens of Tanzania was made before AgriSol ever became involved, and we were not involved in the decisions or subsequent activities.. " - from a 2011 public statement by AgriSol.. THE FACTS.. The Tanzanian government began a naturalization process in 2008 with a plan to grant citizenship to 162,000 refugees in April 2010.. Yet, while the Tanzanian government has been celebrated internationally for this generosity, the refugees' citizenship is contingent upon a coerced move from the places they have called home for the past 40 years.. A feasibility study for the investment in Katumba and Mishamo refugee settlements was commissioned and conducted on behalf of AgriSol USA as early as July 2008.. This discrete study was done almost simultaneously with the announcement of the government's plans to close down the camps.. AgriSol through its Memorandum Of Understanding and other demands has played a key role in determining the future of the current refugee inhabitants.. The former Minister of Home Affairs, Lawrence Masha, who was in charge of the refugee camps when the relocation plan was decided, has since been hired as a "legal advisor" to AgriSol.. The Oakland Institute's newest report also takes up this question and adds new evidence:.. "Based on an examination of AgriSol's documents and.. OI's fieldwork in 2012.. , it is clear that the agreement for the proposed land investment takes advantage of the ambiguity around the status of refugees and relocation plans.. It is likely that AgriSol referred to the proposed site as an abandoned settlement knowing that their investment proposal would influence or accelerate the relocation.. The abuses happening on the ground in Tanzania today were set in motion in the last few years by the partnership between AgriSol, Iowa State University, and the Tanzanian government.. Rastetter is set to make millions from the forced displacement of these refugees, plain and simple.. He bears a tremendous amount of responsibility for the human rights violations that are being conducted on his behalf.. The question Iowans should be asking themselves is, "is this the kind of person we want serving on the Iowa Board of Regents?".. Iowa CCI members call for Rastetter's immediate resignation or.. termination from the Board of Regents..

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  • Title: Press Release: Lives on Hold--AgriSol's Land Deal in Tanzania Creates an Uncertain Future for More than 160,000 People | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Release: Lives on Hold--AgriSol s Land Deal in Tanzania Creates an Uncertain Future for More than 160,000 People.. Report embargoed until 12:00 am EDT, JULY 9, 2012.. Contact: Anuradha Mittal.. (510) 469-5228;.. AgriSol's Land Deal in Tanzania Creates an Uncertain Future for More than 160,000 People.. A new report provides details from the ground as the investor faces the Iowa Ethics Commission.. org/land-deal-brief-lives-hold.. Oakland, CA - A new report by the Oakland Institute,.. , exposes the consequences of Iowa-based AgriSol Energy LLC's plans to lease more than 800,000 acres in Tanzania.. The project initiated in 2007-2008 has moved forward without public debate or consent, and will evict more than 160,000 long-term residents of Katumba and Mishamo, who remain in the dark over compensation and relocation plans.. The AgriSol land deal is a part of Kilimo Kwanza, or Agriculture First, the Tanzanian government's scheme to promote agricultural development through public-private partnerships.. In June 2011,.. the Oakland Institute revealed.. how Iowa-based Bruce Rastetter, CEO of AgriSol Energy, leveraged the involvement of Iowa State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to provide legitimacy to this deal.. Initially masquerading the project as responsible agricultural investment, the university completely withdrew any support or association with it in February 2012 under growing public pressure.. While AgriSol claims to have halted operations in Katumba and Mishamo until the refugees have been relocated, Lives on Hold depicts how the relocation is to be accomplished.. "Caught in the crossfire of this egregious land deal are more than 160,000 newly naturalized Tanzanians--former Burundian refugees who fled civil war more than 40 years ago.. Initially promised citizenship, the residents still await their papers, conditional on them vacating their homes and lands in order to make way for the foreign investor.. The residents have been banned from cultivating crops including perennial crops such as cassava or building new homes and businesses, leaving them with no other option but to consider moving.. This is how the situation will be resolved for AgriSol," said Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director  ...   against their inquiry amounted to "Katumba is not your land for you to start asking questions.. " But residents of the settlement have called Katumba their home for the last 40 years.. "It is true that the Tanzanian government donated the land for the camp.. But this is a case of good will gone wrong," said Mittal.. There has been significant value added to the land by the refugees during the past 40 years.. Currently, the compensation stands at $200 per person in a family.. This paltry payment is for the land their livelihoods depend on, upon which their houses have been built, where the crops that feed them and the neighboring communities are grown, and where they have built churches and other community infrastructure.. also reveals how AgriSol plans to develop large-scale monocrops, use high levels of chemicals, and even ask for changes in the national biosafety regulations so that genetically modified crops can be grown--all within a protected forest reserve and the Malagarasi-Moyowosi wetland system, one of the wetland sites protected by the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.. AgriSol's model of industrial agriculture poses a high risk to biodiversity, with the pollution of rivers and drying out of water sources being highly likely, which will affect the health of the people downstream and also wildlife in the area.. The protected forest reserve and its biodiversity will be sacrificed for a large-scale plantation for exports.. The Oakland Institute is asserting that the needs of the Burundian Tanzanians in Katumba must be met clearly, efficiently, and fairly while preserving one of the world's most important and fragile waterways and landscape.. Earlier this month, an Iowa-based group, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, filed an official conflict of interest complaint against Rastetter with the Iowa Ethics and Campaign Disclosure Board, and are lobbying for Bruce Rastetter to be removed as Iowa Board of Regents President Pro Tem.. The Oakland Institute first exposed AgriSol's land investment deal in June 2011.. View the June 2011 report and related documents.. here..

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  • Title: Press Releases | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Releases.. Press Release: Rastetter’s Company Implicated in Ongoing Human Rights Abuses in Tanzania, New Report States.. July 8, 2012.. Land Owner Protests against Socfin s Operation as Police Intimidation Continues.. June 27, 2012.. Help Bring About Change.. June 19, 2012.. Open Letter to President Obama.. May 17, 2012.. Open Letter to Ambassador Nirupama Rao, Ambassador of India to the United States.. May 16, 2012.. Press Release: Culture of Secrecy Around Global Land Deals Must Be Broken to Protect People and Environment..  ...   on Hunger.. Press Release: Launching Action for Large scale Land Acquisition Transparency (ALLAT).. April 3, 2012.. Communique from the Conference of Land Owners and Land Users, April 2-3, Sierra Leone.. Pages.. « first.. ‹ previous.. 6.. 7.. next ›.. last ».. Featured Media: Land Deals in Africa.. Coverage of the Oakland Institute Investigation.. l'Oakland Institute dans la Presse Francophone.. The Great Land Grab.. Hedge Funds 'Grabbing Land' in Africa.. Claims of Africa Land Grab Spark Controversy.. US Universities in Africa Land Grab..

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  • Title: Press Releases | oaklandinstitute.org
    Descriptive info: Press Release: A New Report Exposes French Tycoon s Land Grab in Sierra Leone.. April 2, 2012.. Video: Agricultural Investment or Land Grab in Sierra Leone?.. April 1, 2012.. An Open Letter to the Government of Ethiopia.. March 19, 2012.. Your Land is My Land: Relocating 1.. 5 Million in Ethiopia.. March 1, 2012.. Iowa State University Withdraws Completely from AgriSol Energy’s Investment Deal in  ...   Rights Abusers.. February 2, 2012.. Press Release: Eight Myths and Facts About AgriSol Energy in Tanzania.. December 27, 2011.. Press Release: Investigation Cautions Against Private Land Deals in South Sudan.. December 13, 2011.. Press Release: The Oakland Institute and Polaris Institute Sound an Alarm for Africa s Water Supply.. December 12, 2011.. Press Release: False Climate Solutions Drive Land Grabs in Africa.. December 8, 2011..

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