Nigerian parliament condemns land grab by Chinese firms

Premium Times | 30 November 2016

The House of Representatives on Tuesday raised alarm over what it called, “the spate of land grabbing by foreign companies in guise of investing in the country’s economy.
The House raised the concern, following a motion under matters of urgent national importance moved by Sani Zorro (APC-Jigawa), which was unanimously adopted by members through a voice vote.
 Moving the motion, Mr. Zorro alleged that Lee Group, a Chinese company, planned to seize 15,000 hectares of farmland in Jigawa.
 Mr. Zorro said that a lot of people had been displaced by foreign companies under the pretext of investing in Nigeria.
 He said that he was disturbed by the land-grabbing activities by Messrs Lee group in many states in the North, the latest being its incursion into Jigawa.
 The lawmaker said that it was a ploy by the company to forcefully acquire over 15,000 hectares of farmland.
 According to Mr. Zorro, the development will dispossess more than 10,000 peasant farmers of their farm lands in over 35 farming communities in Gagarawa Local Government of his constituency.
“The company plans to grow sugar cane against the will of majority of the people who own farmlands.
 “There is tension and threats of breakdown of law and order in the area, consequent upon the company’s audacity to proceed with an illegal compensation since Tuesday, November10. “This is in spite of a law suit and stiff resistance by owners of the farmlands.
“We cannot build our nation if we continue to elevate the citizens of other nations above our own citizens,” Zorro said.
 The lawmaker said that as public office holders, they had the duty to protect lives and property of the citizens of the country.
 He, therefore, urged the authorities and the Jigawa government to resist any intent of dispossessing Nigerian citizens of their land and resources.
 The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, while ruling on the motion, referred it to the House Committee on Judiciary for advice on the next step to be taken on the matter…

Changing agro-food systems: The impact of big agro-investors on food rights

PLAAS | November 2016

 by Refiloe Joala, Phillan Zamchiya, Clemente Ntauazi, Patrick Musole, Caesar Katebe
This book presents case studies on changing agro-food systems in Southern Africa within the context of large-scale land-based and agri-business investments. By capturing the testimonies of local people in rural settings, with a particular focus on small-scale farmers, it aims to provide vivid accounts of the micro-level changes underway in agro-food systems in Southern Africa, and to reflect the experiences and perspectives of local people.

The book is an outcome of action research undertaken by the the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies (PLAAS) of the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, in partnership with civil society organisations (CSOs) in Mozambique and Zambia, namely Acção Académica para o Desenvolvimento das Comunidades Rurais (ADECRU) and Zambia Land Alliance (ZLA) respectively.

In addition to documenting the processes of change underway on the ground, our joint project – Agri-business in Africa and the Right to Food – entailed action research. This meant engaging critically with small-scale farmers to strengthen their understanding of the wider impacts of land-based and agri-business investments and, in this sense, drawing links between small-scale farmers’ struggles over the control and access to productive resources and the right to food, and promoting a more robust public debate about agro-food system changes…

Making national land policy inclusive and people-centred

  The Citizen | 30 November 2016

  By Prof Marjorie Mbilinyi


Photo: Greg Westfall
The government has held a series of stakeholders meetings to enable different interest groups to present their views on the draft National Land Policy, 2016. The government review team (Secretariat) will reportedly take these comments into consideration when revising the Policy, and then submit the final version to the Ministry of Land for further discussion, before sharing with other related Ministries. The final version will be tabled before the Cabinet.
I hope this means that the Ministry of Lands welcomes further views from the public, especially given the limited opportunity to participate in earlier stakeholder sessions. With this in mind, I wish to share the comments of other researchers on agrarian and land issues in rural areas….

Senegal: British firm SCL accused of lands grabs by Fass-Ngom farmers

Ecofin Agency | 25 November 2016

(Ecofin Agency) – In Senegal, the people of the Sinthiou Thirmoy village, in the Fass-Ngom community, in the North West of the country, protest against the project to expand agricultural lands which is being implemented by Société de Culture Légumière (SCL) accusing the British firm, which is financed by the Belgian development fund BIO, of land grabbing.

“The company came here two years ago. First, it took part of our lands, we said nothing. Now, it is a large portion of our livestock’s rangeland that it has blocked. We told the township and the sub-prefect about it, but they said nothing. Those are our ancestors’ lands. It’s over our dead bodies that they will take them,” Mamba SOW, spokesperson of the protesters, told Miroironline.

Protesters want to retrieve the lands which they once used to exploit as pasture for their livestock….

Souha Touré

What is there to hide in the Omo Valley?

Re:Common & ASO | 23 November 2016

A travel story, forcibly “crippled”. Analysis and unorthodox explanation of the “Italian system”, based on the synergy between public and private, from the role that our cooperation plays in contexts such as Ethiopia. And a complaint of increased repression carried out by the Addis Ababa government against any form of dissent, but also the impact of its development policies, which are interwoven with pharaonic infrastructure projects often marked by strong Italian interests. As in the case of dams in the Omo Valley, a place where we were prevented to go. This and even more is “What is there to hide in the Omo Valley”….

Download the report

Ugandan farmers praise UN report citing flaws with Bidco

APO | 22 Nov 2016

In light of the report’s findings, the Bugala Farmers Association has called on the United Nations to terminate its partnership with Bidco.

Embattled Ugandan farmers fighting threats and land grabbing by Bidco have praised a draft report by U.N. investigators that calls into question the company’s business practices.

The report is the result of a complaint by the Bugala Farmers Association to the U.N.’s Social and Environmental Compliance Unit (SECU).

The report can be found on the following link:

In the complaint, the farmers stated that the United Nations had not performed sufficient due diligence on Bidco before inviting it to join Business Call to Action, which is part of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The farmers provided evidence that Bidco has engaged in human rights, labour and environmental violations in the Kalangala District of Bugala Island, Lake Victoria, Uganda, where Bidco has grabbed land from smallholder farmers and cut down over 18,000 acres of rainforest to make way for a large-scale palm oil business…

New report examines how corruption is fuelling widespread land grabbing and human rights abuses

Global Witness | 17 November 2016

A new report launched today takes the most comprehensive look to date at how corruption is fuelling the global land grabbing crisis, which has seen millions of people displaced from their homes and farmland.
Tainted Lands, authored by Professor Olivier De Schutter, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, and leading human rights organizations Global Witness and the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR), calls on companies and governments to ensure that land deals are transparent, are corruption-free, and protect the rights of local communities.
”As demand for food, fuel, and commodities increases pressure on land, companies are all too often striking deals with corrupt State officials without the consent of the people who live on it,” said Professor De Schutter. ”The last decade has seen an upsurge in land grabs for industries like mining, logging, agribusiness, and infrastructure projects, with local communities rarely consulted or compensated.”

A Chinese aid project for Rwandan farmers is more of a gateway for Chinese businesses

Quartz| 17 November 2016
by Lily Kuo – Huye District, Rwanda

“The very thing that the Chinese want out of Africa is not food. They want business opportunities.”

Inside a gated white complex set back on a hill in southern Rwanda, a team of Chinese agronomists tends to 22 hectares (54 acres) of rice paddies, trenches of mushrooms, and rows of mulberry plants. Concrete storehouses surround a C-shaped building where they hold workshops on sericulture, soil conservation, and rice farming. In a showroom, a Ping-Pong table is crowded with vacuum-wrapped mushrooms, bags of rice, and dried stalks of wheat that they’ve grown here.

This is the face of one of China’s most prominent aid projects in Africa, “agricultural technology demonstration centers,” or ATDCs, whose mission is to modernize African farming while also giving Chinese companies a foothold in new markets. There are now 23 of these centers across Africa.

Here, at the China-Rwanda ATDC, Chinese agronomists teach local farmers the hidden benefits of mushrooms. They grow quickly, even in bad soil, and don’t take a lot of room. They pack in protein and other nutrients. At the end of five days of training, the students take a cooking class where they learn how to make things like liangban mu-er, a salad of “tree ear” mushroom paired with carrots and cucumber, or how to stew mushrooms in tea. ..

No to ProSAVANA Campaign considers the redesign and public consultation process of ProSAVANA’s Master Plan to be fraudulent

No to ProSavana | 9 November 2016 | Português

On 27 August 2016, the No to ProSAVANA Campaign, along with another 83 organizations from across the globe, published the “Joint statement and open questions on ProSAVANA by the civil society of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan in response to newly leaked government documents”.[1] This above-mentioned statement stresses the facts revealed in leaked documents[2] and the way the program has been carrying out actions against the organizations questioning the program through “ProSAVANA’s Communication Strategy” established by using the fund of JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency)[3].

The documents also show the governments’ strategy, put in place by JICA consultants, to divide Mozambican civil society by marginalizing and excluding the member organizations of the No to ProSAVANA Campaign ever since the process of the creation of a “dialogue mechanism” aiming to redesign ProSAVANA’s Master Plan (MP) began.[4]  Nevertheless, the Campaign was the only entity that published a critical analysis of the MP.[5]

Large scale land acquisitions for investment in Kenya: Is the participation, and benefits of affected local communities meaningful, and equitable?

LDGI | November 2016

 by Robert Kibugi, Ibrahim Mwathane and Mwenda Makathimo
A case study of the situation in Lamu, Isiolo and Siaya Counties by the Land Development and Governance Institute (LDGI)