Land grabbing: New colonialism and how about Eritrea?

By Mela Ghebremedhin.

Geeska Afrika | 29 December 2016

A farmer sows his seed in Asmara, Maekel, Eritrea. (Photo: Andrea Moroni)
By Mela Ghebremedhin.

Land grabbing, as the phrase suggests, requires one to grab, or in other words, “to seize, to grasp, to take a grip of or to get one’s hands on.” This action of taking suddenly and roughly is the reality of today’s Asian and, mostly African soil. In other words, Bwegise bra Mwesigire (2014) clearly explained the phenomenon in his article entitled Land Grabbing in Africa, the new Colonialism and he began by saying that land grabbing is “the silent recolonization of Africa happening on a mass scale. … Land is the source of life and death, but it might not always be with us.” His powerful statement cannot be denied in regards to the reality of today’s Africa. In fact, land has been put at the centerpiece of conflicts of interests, of wealth and poverty, of opportunists and marginalized communities, powerful against the powerless, profits versus social justice…

Will our peasant and family agriculture system survive this unjust rush to grab our land?

Amandla! | December 2016

By Anabela Lemos

A community meeting about the Portucel land grabs. (Photo: JA!)
The land grab of multinational companies has intensified in the global south, particularly in Africa over the last decade. In this article, Anabela Lemos explains what is happening in Mozambique…

Download the article

Source: Amandla!

Tanzania government adopts new policy to stop land grabbing

Ecofin| 21 December 2016

Tanzania’s Land Affairs minister, William Lukuvi, said the new policy responds mainly to the need to secure agricultural lands, which is vital for sustainable socio-economic growth.

The adoption of the new policy comes a few months after the Eastern African country launched a campaign to seize “unexploited” lands and discourage shady investors from using them for speculative purposes.

Authorities blame foreign investors of hoard lands without valorizing them, using them as guarantee to secure loans from banks or selling them at high prices.

According to Tanzania’s Land Affairs minister, William Lukuvi, the new policy responds mainly to the need to secure agricultural lands, which is vital for sustainable socio-economic growth. “We are committed to ensuring that all citizens of Tanzania enjoy equitable land rights to enable them participate effectively in economic development, job creation and poverty reduction,” he said. Into force since 1999, Tanzania’s land code makes land a public property. Foreign companies and non-nationals to whom land ownership is forbidden, can only lease them for investment. …

Palm oil giant defends its deforestation in Gabon, points to country’s ‘right to develop’

Mongabay| 19 December 2016

  • Olam International is leading the industry’s expansion into Africa, seen as a new frontier for palm oil firms who are running out of land in Southeast Asia.

    Singapore-headquartered Olam International is the subject of a new report by NGOs Mighty and Brainforest that alleges forest destruction by the company in Gabon.

  • Olam counters that it is only expanding into Gabon’s least valuable forested lands and that the clearance is necessary for Gabon to pull itself out of poverty.
  • The debate raises questions about what it means for a country to develop sustainably, and whether deforestation should be seen as a means to that end.
  • Olam has also released a list of its palm oil suppliers in response to the NGOs’ allegations that the firm is a “black box” that buys and sells palm oil links to deforestation and human rights abuses.

Agribusiness giant Olam International has for the first time published a list of the firms it buys palm oil from, part of the company’s response to allegations that it is driving forest destruction in Southeast Asia and, more dangerously, perhaps, in West Africa.

Why Triton agric investments’ll create jobs, reduce poverty

Nigeria Today | 19 December 2016

The Chairman of the Triton Group, Ashvin Samtani (left), with former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina
As Nigeria cashes in on the investment opportunities of import substitution, critical investments have been made by the Organised Private Sector (OPS), one of such being Triton farm projects on fish, poultry and crop production.
Undoubtedly, the scale of the company’s investment will create jobs, reduce poverty as well as aid the quest to meet the protein requirement of the Nigerian market. The company has already created about 400 jobs for Nigerians within one and half years of its investments in aquaculture, poultry and crop production.
Triton’s aquaculture investment, which covers a total of 5,000 acres at Gambari, in Oyo State, is set to provide all round benefits to the Nigerian economy through value-focused productivity…

Tanzania adopts new policy to curb land grabbing – analysis

Eurasia Review | 19 December 2016

 By Kizito Makoye Shigela
Tanzania is one of the sub-Saharan African countries which have attracted growing interest from foreign investors. (Photo: Kizito Makoye Shigela)
 Tanzania has adopted a new national land policy which, among others, lowers the ceiling under which foreign investors can lease land from the current 99 to 33 years.
 The new policy comes barely months after the East African nation embarked on a campaign to seize “idle” land and deter “rogue investors” from using it for speculative purposes.
 The government has repeatedly accused some investors of hoarding swathes of land without developing it, while using the land as collateral for securing bank loans or selling it later at a higher price….

Mozambican government reaffirms priority of ProSavana mega-program

Lusa | 8 Dec 2016

Photo: Graeme Robertson/Getty
The Mozambican government reaffirmed yesterday that the agricultural mega-program Prosavana was “a priority” among the means of converting subsistence agriculture into market production, and that it intended to increase cooperation with Japan, one of the project partners.
“The Government considers this project to be important and a priority in the cooperation agenda with Japan, for the impact it will have on the modernisation and development of the agricultural sector,” Minister of Transport and Communications Carlos Mesquita said at anniversary celebrations for the Emperor of Japan, Akihito, at the Japanese embassy in Maputo.

‘Exploited’ workers, hotels and online shopping funded by aid

The Times | 9 December 2016

Workers at Feronia’s Lokutu nursery, DRC, March 2015 (Photo: GRAIN)


Billy Kenber, Investigations Reporter | Alexi Mostrous, Head of Investigations
 Deep in the tropical jungle in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo lie three palm oil plantations.
Run by Feronia Inc, which is based in Canada and, until recently, had subsidiaries in the Cayman Islands, the plantations are the perhaps unlikely recipient of tens of millions of pounds in British aid money.
CDC Group, the British government’s foreign investment arm, owns a 67 per cent stake in the company, having put $41 million into it since 2013…

Tanzania allows Maasai land to be stolen under the guise of development

Mondiaal Nieuws | 8 December 2016

The women show their drinking water. Ebe Daems

Tanzania is receiving development assistance to further develop the agricultural sector through public-private cooperation. The projects are being promoted under the premise that fertile land is abundant but, in practice, this land is almost always occupied. This means that large-scale agricultural projects are driving people off their land. An example is the case of the Maasai of Mabwegere, who are being dealt with harshly.
Ebe Daems
Land, water and access to natural resources become scarcer due to climate change, population growth, and the increasing demand for land for investment.
The Tanzanian government wants to develop the country by attracting investors, and for that it needs land.
Maasai unwelcome in their own village
The village of Mabwegere in the district of Kilosa in the Tanzanian province of Morogoro is home to 4105 nomadic pastoralist Maasai, while the surrounding villages are made up of crop farmers….

Tanzania: Rufiji scheme to transform farming

Tanzania Daily News | 6 December 2016

Photo: Greenpeace Africa

Rufiji — A multi-billion-shilling irrigation scheme geared towards agricultural development has scored notable achievement in the Rufiji River Basin. Residents of Chumbi A, B and C villages in Rufiji District, Coast Region, commended the achievements in transforming the area into one of the country’s major rice, maize and cassava producing zones.

 Speaking in an interview, Samy Mohamed Elazed, Executive Director of the Kuwait-based company, Africa Relief Organisation, financiers of the project, said his organisation has released 3bn/- to finance cultivation of 300 acres of rice this season alone at the new Rufiji irrigation belt.
 He said the project would cover over 2,500 acres in the coming seasons, with multibillion dollars injected to facilitate modern agricultural technology in mechanization.
 The focus will be production of rice, maize, cassava and sesame, according to African Relief Board of Trustees Chairman Sheikh Abdallah Ndauga…