Land grab update: Mozambique, Africa still in the crosshairs

Truthout| 15 November 2016

by Timothy A Wise
On October 12, the government of Mozambique quietly announced that it would close its Agriculture Promotion Centre (CEPAGRI), the agency created in 2006 to promote large-scale foreign investment in the country’s agricultural sector. In a terse statement, government spokesman Mouzinho Saide gave no reason for the closure, saying only that its functions would be subsumed under a different agency in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Longtime Mozambique analyst Joseph Hanlon was not so shy, reporting in his October 18 Mozambique News Report that CEPAGRI was finished because those large-scale projects it was supposed to broker: “none of them have succeeded.”

Namibia tables bill to ban foreign ownership of land – report

News 24 | 16 November 2016

Namibia’s lands minister Utoni Nujoma has reportedly tabled a bill that would see foreign nationals being barred from owning land in the southern African country.
Windhoek – Namibia’s lands minister Utoni Nujoma has reportedly tabled a bill that would see foreign nationals being barred from owning land in the southern African country.  According to eNCA the bill sought to bar foreigners from owning agricultural, commercial and communal land.  The new bill proposed a range of amendments to the Agricultural Commercial Land Reform Act of 1995 and the Communal Land Reform Act of 2002.
The minister reportedly believed that if the proposed bill could be passed without any amendments, it would be complementary to the expropriation laws gazetted by his ministry on September 1, 2016.  Foreigners in Namibia currently owned at least 281 farms which translated to 1.3 hectares, the report said.

Nigeria invites Russian farmers to invest

Premium Times | 10 November 2016

“We are inviting Russian farmers to invest in Nigeria, produce and import from here. We are just six hours away from Europe by air. Vegetables, flour can be exported to Europe from here. Even our local market here is a lot,” says Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

Mr. Osinbajo said the availability of arable land in Nigeria made the case for improved local agricultural production in Nigeria an imperative, rather than continued importation with its significant pressure on dwindling foreign earnings of the country.

Agro-business investors assured of returns in Lagos’ N3b daily food market

World Stage | 10 November 2016

By Benson Akomo

 WorldStage Newsonline– Investors willing to do business in the agric sector in Lagos State can be rest assured of a ready market and returns on investment as the daily consumption of food items in the State is worth over N3billion daily, according to the Governor, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode.
 The Governor, who spoke at the maiden edition of the Lagos Food Security and Exhibition Summit with the theme “Actualizing Sustainable Food Security in Lagos State: A New, Comprehensive Agenda’, said his administration was committed in its efforts towards maximising its comparative advantage in the sector to achieve food security.
 He said Nigeria had no business resorting to importation to feed its citizens, adding that there was no alternative to achieving food security other than tilling the land and embrace best practices that will improve efficiency in the agricultural value chain.

OLAM urges FG to make rice importation ban process gradual

The Authority | 7 November 2016

Olam’s rice farm and mill in Rukubi, Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State. The company has started developing a second 13,500 ha fully irrigated paddy farm on a greenfield site in Ondorie, Na­sarawa State.

OLAM Nigeria has urged the Federal Government to be gradual in its move to ban importation of rice into the country in 2017. The firm said a gradual process will close the supply gap of 2.5 mil­lion tonnes in five years.
This was stated by the Gener­al Manager, Project Coordinator, OLAM Nigeria, Mahesh Nimje while conducting a media tour of the company’s rice farm and mill in Rukubi, Doma Local Government Area of Nasarawa State,   Nimje disclosed that the current rice demand in the country is about 6 million metric tons while the sup­ply is 3.5million mt leaving a de­mand-supply gap of 2.5 million mt.   He stressed the need for govern­ment to increase access to finance for farmers, encourage many inter­national investors to invest in rice production, provide them with enabling environment, infrastruc­tures, among other things to scale down the price.
“The Federal Government should support and provide more enabling environment for local in­vestors and farmers to close the huge supply gap of 2.5 million tons before finally banning rice impor­tation into the country”, he opined. …

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 . ..

‘Laws legalised land grabbing in Sudan’: Democracy First Group

Dabanga | 30 October 2016

Roro area, Ad-Damazin, Blue Nile State, Sudan

The Sudanese Government continues to grant new long-term leases over community lands to investors without consulting local populations or obtaining their consent, says the Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG).
Sudan is among the global ‘hotspots’ for large-scale land acquisitions. According to a 2014 study by the World Bank, Sudan transferred nearly four million hectares of land to foreign private investors between 2004-2013, more than any other country surveyed. As such, Sudan has established itself as number two in the region, second to Saudi Arabia, in attracting foreign direct investment.
In its September report, Land Use, Ownership and Allocation in Sudan, SDFG tackles the legal expropriation of unregistered lands, “which account for 90 per cent of all land in the country”, and the scope and scale of corruption concerning land use and ownership.

Senegalese customs take drastic measures against Senhuile: equipment seized and CEO bank account frozen

Dakar Matin | 31 October 2016

Dakar Matin | 31 October 2016

Pinned for fraud, with damages of more than 8 billion CFA (around 13.5 million USD) to the state of Senegal, Senhuile had agreed to a compromise. However, it only honoured a part of its commitment, and Senegalese customs reacted with strong measures.

We learned from trusted sources that customs agents from the St. Louis brigade recently conducted a raid on Senhuile’s facilities in Ndiael and seized equipment and materials of the Tampieri Financial Group. The operation was motivated by Senhuile management’s failure to comply with commitments it made after being accused of fraud.

Senhuile had taken advantage of incentives from the state of Senegal, created to encourage agricultural investment, and had obtained tax-free equipment which it then sold without making a customs declaration. Customs agents started to investigate after receiving an anonymous tip. The investigation found that the company owed 8 billion CFA to the state of Senegal.

Caught red-handed, CEO Massimo Vittorio Campadese agreed to pay 1.7 billion CFA. But according to our sources, he only paid only 1.1 billion CFA to the Treasury before fleeing abroad as soon as his confiscated passport was returned to him….

Land conflicts and shady finances plague DR Congo palm oil company backed by development funds

RIAO-RDC, AEFJN/AFJN, Entraide et Fraternité, GRAIN, SOS Faim, UMOYA, urgewald, War on Want and World Rainforest Movement | 2 November 2016 | français, español
(Photo: Oskar Epelde) RIAO-RDC, AEFJN/AFJN, Entraide et Fraternité, GRAIN, SOS Faim, UMOYA,

European and US development funds are bankrolling palm oil company Feronia Inc despite land and labour conflicts at its plantations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). New information now raises questions as to whether the Canadian-based company misused millions of taxpayer dollars destined for international aid by way of companies connected to a high-level DRC politician.

Canadian-based agribusiness company Feronia Inc is majority owned by the UK government’s CDC and other European and US development banks. Since 2012, development finance institutions (DFIs) have provided or committed nearly US$120 million to Feronia and its subsidiaries. DFIs claim to follow high standards for due diligence and are mandated to invest in private companies that contribute to the alleviation of poverty.

A report released today by African, European and international organisations provides further evidence to back the claims of local communities that Feronia is illegally occupying over 100,000 ha of land for its oil palm plantations and that wages for workers on the plantations remain

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)