Source: World Rainforest Movement
Okomu Oil Palm, which operates in the palm oil as well as rubber production business, was established in 1976 as a Federal Government of Nigeria pilot project covering an area of 15,580 hectares out of which 12,500 hectares could be planted with oil palm. In 1979 the company was incorporated as a private company with limited liability and in 1990, within a Structural Adjustment Programme, it was converted to a Public Limited Company (PLC). It is a member of the Belgian Socfin, a global player group in the cultivation of oil palm as well as rubber, coffee and tropical flowers. Socfin owns 62.69% of Okomu Oil Palm’s shares.
It has since grown to become one of Nigeria’s leading oil palm companies with an oil palm area of 9.713 ha (2012) in the State of Edo, with plans to add 402 ha in 2013 and other 400 ha in 2014.
The company’s 2012 annual report announced the intention to expand its oil palm and rubber plantations and also revealed plans to build the biggest oil mill in Africa expanding its oil mill capacity from 30 tons per hour to 60 tons per hour in Sierra Leone (see article below). Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By José Aylwin, Nancy Yáñez, Rubén Sánchez (excerpt). Source: World Rainforest Movement
Historically, relations between Mapuche indigenous communities and the forestry industry have been marked by conflict, primarily because of the expansion of industrial tree plantations on lands that are part of the Mapuche territory and the impact of these plantations on the communities’ habitat.
There are three business groups that control most of the forestry industry in Chile: Forestal Arauco, Compañía Manufacturera de Papeles y Cartones (CMPC) and MASISA. According to figures from 2007, these three companies owned a total of 1,715,910 hectares of tree plantations in Chile, mainly in the regions of Biobío, La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. In these same regions, tree plantations in the traditional Mapuche territory account for an area three times greater than the indigenous lands recognised by the state.
Most of the tree plantations have been established on traditional Mapuche lands. The communities affected by this industry are claiming their right to tenure over the lands occupied by the plantations, which were usurped from them both during the colonial era and following the military coup of 1973. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Note: The full report is available here: http://www.foeeurope.org/no-fracking-way
-The GJEP Team
March 6, 2014. Source: Friends of the Earth
Image: Friends of the Earth
A trade deal between the EU and the US risks opening the backdoor for the expansion of fracking in Europe and the US, reveals a new report released today . As part of the deal currently being negotiated, energy companies could be allowed to take governments to private arbitrators if they attempt to regulate or ban fracking and the dangerous exploitation of unconventional fossil fuels. Campaigners are urging the EU not to include such rights in trade deals.
The fourth round of trade negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the EU and the US takes place next week in Brussels (March 10-14). If agreed, a clause in the deal, known as the ‘investor-state dispute settlement’ mechanism (ISDS), could give special rights to companies to claim damages in private investor friendly arbitrators if they deem their investments (including future profits) are adversely affected by changes in regulation or policy.
Such a clause would make it much harder for countries to ban or impose strong regulations on fracking for shale gas and other unconventional fossil fuels, for fear of having to pay millions in compensation. This would be regardless of the evidence of the environmental harm caused by fracking, and of the opposition by local residents and other citizens. More broadly, the ISDS clause would likely thwart governments’ efforts to address global warming and reduce dependency on fossil fuels, the report states. Continue reading
Dr. Devon G. Peña, March 4, 2014. Source: Environmental and Food Justice
Huichol yarn weaving of a sacred ceremony for maize. Source: Environmental and Food Justice
I am submitting this statement to express opposition to the proposed USDA co- existence policy. As a plant breeder, seed saver, traditional acequia farmer, and agro-ecologist familiar with the scientific evidence on gene flow I am unequivocally opposed to this policy. Asking for co-existence with GMO crops means seed-savers and plant breeders like myself have to accept the inevitability of severe business losses due to damage to our native seed stocks and active plant breeding programs. I ask that you consider the fact that farmers like myself are the keepers of the nation’s diverse bioregional ‘arks’ of native seeds and these are the ultimate basis of all agriculture in this country. As vulnerable traditional seed savers, we cannot accept co-existence. The scientific fact of gene flow makes it so. Let’s not pretend the scientific fact of gene flow is unsettled, like an agricultural crisis version of climate change denial.
Working with friends, family, and neighbors, I produce local heirloom varieties of the ‘Three Sisters’ (corn-bean-squash/pumpkin) for a land race seed library grown and stored on a farm in Colorado’s Rio Grande Headwaters bioregion. The preservation of multiple native gene streams is necessary to the business of plant breeding and seed saving which is a central focus of my agroecological enterprise and productive activity. The introgression of transgenes from genetically engineered corn is a direct threat to my livelihood because the open- pollinated nature of maize makes for frequent cross-contamination events. Corn pollen can travel quite far – with some studies showing distances of up to 30 miles or more depending on the nature of regional wind patterns. The San Luis Valley is a high altitude intermountain park known for strong winds and corn pollen can travel very far under these conditions. The valley has an average elevation of 8000 feet and is surrounded by a circle of mountains at 14,000 ft. and higher. We do our plant breeding and seed stock production in this valley on a historic farm that is organized and collectively run to serve as a grassroots agricultural extension research station and farm school for acequiero growers of Colorado and New Mexico. Continue reading
February 28, 2014. Source: ETC Group
Brazilian civil society organizations warned yesterday that a 2007 bill to end Brazil’s ban on Terminator seeds could soon be on the move (again) in the Brazilian Congress. While two bills have been on the congressional agenda for several years, a 2007 bill (PL 268/2007, filed by Rep. Eduardo Sciarra – PSD party) began moving through the Congress last July and came to a head last October. The legalizing of Terminator in Brazil would have global implications, including as a violation of the United Nations moratorium on Terminator technologies, in place since 2000 at the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A campaign mounted by Brazilian social movements stirred a global protest – including a petition signed by over 19,000 people – and temporarily derailed the Bill’s passage in October 2013.[i] In response, Décio Lima (PT party), then-President of the Congress’s all-important Judiciary Commission (the gatekeeper body that allows bills to proceed to a full congressional vote), vowed not to allow the Bill’s passage while he chaired the Commission.
But, just before Christmas, the Bill began to move again at the request of more than 30 deputies. A massive write-in campaign, on behalf of concerned organizations, set up by Action Aid (an international advocacy organization with roots in Brazil) again thwarted the move. More than 30,000 people and organizations around the world signed a protest letter calling on the Brazilian government to uphold the UN moratorium on the commercialization of Terminator.[ii] (“Terminator” refers to genetically engineered seed that dies at harvest, obliging farmers to purchase new seed every growing season.) Continue reading
February 27, 2014. Source: RT
A farmer tills a rice paddy field on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka (Reuters / Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)
A heretofore inexplicable fatal, chronic kidney disease that has affected poor farming regions around the globe may be linked to the use of biochemical giant Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide in areas with hard water, a new study has found.
The new study was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Researchers suggest that Roundup, or glyphosate, becomes highly toxic to the kidney once mixed with“hard” water or metals like arsenic and cadmium that often exist naturally in the soil or are added via fertilizer. Hard water contains metals like calcium, magnesium, strontium, and iron, among others. On its own, glyphosate is toxic, but not detrimental enough to eradicate kidney tissue.
The glyphosate molecule was patented as a herbicide by Monsanto in the early 1970s. The company soon brought glyphosate to market under the name “Roundup,” which is now the most commonly used herbicide in the world. Continue reading
By Peter Hadfield, March 4, 2014. Source: The Guardian
Children looking at the Myitsone dam from the banks of the Irrawaddy River, Kachin state, Burma. Photograph: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA
Lapai Zoong kicks the red dirt outside his house and complains that nothing will grow. “The situation here is hopeless,” he says. “In the old village we used to grow rice, fruit and vegetables. We were happy. Here they bulldozed the land and there’s no soil. Everyone wants to go back to our old village.”
But 70-year-old Lapai is not allowed back to his ancestral home just 12 miles to the north, even though the massive dam that was going to flood the village is now in limbo.
The Myitsone dam project lies unfinished in Kachin state, northern Burma, caught in a tug of war between the Burmese government and a powerful Chinese corporation. Lapai, along with 12,000 other Kachin villagers, remain in exile as a political and military drama plays out over the fate of the dam.
It was a project conceived, financed and – so far partially – built by the state-owned Chinese Power Investment Corporation (CPI), to take electricity across the border and help industrialise the Chinese province of Yunnan. At 152 metres high and with a potential capacity of 6,000 MW of electricity, the Myitsone was to be the largest of seven dams at the headwaters of the Irrawaddy River. If completed, it will be the 15th largest dam in the world. But soon after work started in 2009, the project ran into trouble. Continue reading
By Martin Lukacs, March 4, 2014. Source: The Guardian
A man waves a Mohawk flag at a Montreal demonstration in support of the indigenous Idle No More movement in January, 2013. Photograph: Oscar Aguirre/Demotix/Corbis
The Canadian government is increasingly worried that the growing clout of aboriginal peoples’ rights could obstruct its aggressive resource development plans, documents reveal.
Since 2008, the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs has run a risk management program to evaluate and respond to “significant risks” to its agenda, including assertions of treaty rights, the rising expectations of aboriginal peoples, and new legal precedents at odds with the government’s policies.
Yearly government reports obtained by the Guardian predict that the failure to manage the risks could result in more “adversarial relations” with aboriginal peoples, “public outcry and negative international attention,” and “economic development projects [being] delayed.”
“There is a risk that the legal landscape can undermine the ability of the department to move forward in its policy agenda,” one Aboriginal Affairs’ report says. “There is a tension between the rights-based agenda of Aboriginal groups and the non-rights based policy approaches” of the federal government.
The Conservative government is planning in the next ten years to attract $650 billion of investment to mining, forestry, gas and oil projects, much of it on or near traditional aboriginal lands.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, Idle No More, Indigenous Peoples, Political Repression, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration
By Kevin Woods, March 3, 2014. Source: Myanmar Times
A farmer spreads fertiliser in a paddy field in Demoso township in Kayah State in 2013. Photo: Kaung Htet/The Myanmar Times
The phrase “land grab” has become common in Myanmar, often making front page news. This reflects the more open political space available to talk about injustices, as well as the escalating severity and degree of land dispossession under the new government.
But this seemingly simple two-word phrase is in fact very complex and opaque. It thus deserves greater clarity in order to better understand the deep layers of meaning to farmers in the historical political context of Myanmar.
Understanding the deeper significance and meaning that farmers attach to the words “land grab” entails frank discussions of formerly taboo subjects related to the country’s history of armed conflict, illicit drugs, cronyism and racism.
Various state and non-state armed actors have been responsible for land grabs in Myanmar during the past several decades, mirroring recent historical periods.
Through the Great Depression under British colonial rule, the Japanese occupation during WWII and eventual freedom from foreign domination, rice production in the Ayeyarwady Delta, propped up by British colonial capitalism, collapsed under heavy debt burdens, with farmers losing their land and livelihoods. Continue reading