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Why PLAD’s Africa Land Grab Blog ?
The purpose is to provide a platform where one can find recent articles and reports on African land grab. Help spread information on the “new scramble for Africa.” Since 2008, an insidious and dangerous global process has been implemented to access Africa’s arable land and take control of her natural resources. Powerful foreign private and public investors negotiate agreements with states to take possession or control of large areas of land thus, significantly impacting current and future food sovereignty in Africa. According to reports, in:
2008-2009 “Over 148 million acres of farmland in Africa have been purchased by Western hedge funds.”
2009-2013: over 6 million hectares of fertile land had been taken over by European biofuel investors in Sub-Saharan Africa alone. They took advantage of mandates and subsidies in the European Union. In 2009 , nearly 60 million ha– an area the size of France – was purchased or leased (compared to an average annual expansion of global agricultural land of less than 4 million ha before 2008).
In Sierra Leone: 230,000 Hectares; Mali: 230,000 Hectares; Ethiopia: 2,100000 Hectares.
The 5.3mm acres in Ethiopia equal the land size of New Jersey or the combined areas of both Connecticut and Delaware. About the size of half the land of Switzerland, Denmark or the Netherlands; and the entire land size of Israel.
Are the African countries getting a fair deal? No. Cost of land acquisition varies: researchers exposed investors who said “they could get what they want in exchange for giving a poor, tribal chief a bottle of Johnny Walker.” In Sierra Leone official regulation requires investors to pay $5 per acre, or $12 per ha, per year. In Ethiopia, Karuturi initially received land for just $1.25 per ha, the rate was later raised to $ 6.75 per ha. In comparison, rates for Brazil or Argentina are $5,000-6,000 per ha.
Why the new “scramble for Africa?
(1) Increased demand for agro fuels; (2) the 2008 food crisis pushed states that are dependent on food imports to acquire cheap farmland in poorer African countries where land rights are not enforced. (3) After the financial crisis, corporations, financial investors, and the governments of rich countries seeking investment opportunities. These have led to the displacement of millions without adequate compensation. Relocated in hostile environment, no access to enough food and water and resulting in high infant malnutrition, extreme poverty in rural areas and especially, amongst women. African Land grabbing has worsened the highly unequal distribution of land ownership and raised tension between communities.