Thanks to the comprehensive property rights that we enjoy in the US today, our homes and livelihoods are protected from being seized by large corporations. Unfortunately, throughout much of Africa, this threat is a daily reality.
Mounting evidence suggests Vanderbilt University’s investment in emerging African markets may be creating a commodity crisis in the region, even as university officials and a hedge fund manager directly involved in the fund tout their potential for high returns and local benefits.
When farmers start to plant chickpeas in a remote spot of South Sudan this month, they may well sow the seeds of a backlash. South Sudan seceded from the north in July and this Egyptian-run plantation is the most advanced of several big-ticket farming deals detractors decry as "land grabs" in the world's newest nation.
Foreign investment in arable land in Mali increased by 60% between 2009 and 2010, says a report published on Thursday to coincide with the first international farmers' conference to tackle the global rush for land.
The founding Executive Director of the Oakland Institute (OI), an independent policy think tank based in California, USA, has condemned cheap land giveaway deals that have been displacing indigenous communities from their ancestral land. In an exclusive interview with the Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT), Anuradha Mittal has said that the deals are illegal and should be voided.
You may be familiar with the practice of “land-grabbing,” as it has recently gotten a fair amount of coverage in the mainstream media. However, the media has primarily focused on China and India buying up land in Africa, and not so much attention has been paid to American businesses and even universities doing the same.
The largest land deal in South Sudan to date was negotiated between a Dallas, Texas-based firm, Nile Trading and Development Inc. (NTD) and Mukaya Payam Cooperative in March 2008. The 49-year land lease of 600,000 hectares (with a possibility of 400,000 additional hectares) for 75,000 Sudanese Pounds (equivalent to approximately USD 25,000), allows NTD full rights to exploit all natural resources in the leased land.
The East African--A leading US environmental group is opposing the planned purchase of 325,000 hectares of land in Tanzania by an American company. The Sierra Club, which says it has one million supporters in the United States and Canada, is urging Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda to “step away from this ill-advised project.”
InDepth News--Massive leasing of lands, which the government of Mali justifies with the need to "modernize" the country's agriculture, is threatening the survival of populations dependent on the water flows of the Niger River in Mali and in the rest of West Africa, where over 100 million people depend on the waterway for their livelihoods, says a new report.
Voice of America--A fierce debate is currently taking place concerning huge tracts of Tanzanian land which U.S. investors are seeking to develop. Tens of thousands of former refugees now farm the land. The investors say they want to help the east African country, but activists and Tanzania's opposition call it a land grab.