Category Archives: Land Grabs

Senegal farmers, pastoralists complain of “land-grabbing”

April 14, 2014. Source: African Press Agency

Photo: Farmlandgrab

Photo: Farmlandgrab

Over nine thousand farmers and pastoralist in St. Louis in the north of Senegal are facing possible evictions from their land as multi-national agro-industries scramble for agricultural land in the region. Speaking to the African Press Agency on Sunday, Fulani cattle herders of the local community in Ross Bethio accused Senhuile – Sénéthanol, an Italian multinational company of encroaching on their grazing and farm lands.

They claimed that more than 37 villages are currently deprived of their land thanks to activities by the company which is based in St. Louis.

The local population said they have lost over twenty six thousand hectares, leaving them without the means to continue herding cattle and farming their lands.

“We prefer to die than to allow our land to be taken away by a foreign company. We shall not succumb to this new form of colonization” said Gorgui Sow, a member of the youth platform in Ndiael local community to fight the “illegal occupation”. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Corporate Globalization, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water

BC preparing injunction against Unist’ot’en pipeline resistance camp

By John Ahni Schertow, April 14, 2014. Source: Intercontinental Cry

Leaders of the Unist’ot’en resistance camp held a press conference in Vancouver on April 7, 2014 in response to leaked information that the Provincial government is preparing an injunction against the camp. The camp is in Wet’suwet’en territory in northern BC on the route of the Pacific Trail fracked gas pipeline.

Premier Christie Clark has staked her political future on liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, more accurately called liquefied fracked gas or LFG. But pipelines from the fracking fields in the province’s north-east must pass through unceded Indigenous territory on the way to the coast. They therefore require the free, prior and informed consent of the people of those lands; consent they do not have and will not receive from the Unist’ot’en and the other Wet’suwet’en hereditary clans.

“While the elected leadership of some Indian bands have signed agreements regarding the Pacific Trail Pipeline, Wet’suwet’en hereditary clans have jurisdiction over their territories” says Freda Huson “The Unist’ot’en are standing up for our territory, and protecting Mother Earth on a global scale by keeping fracked gas in the ground.” Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Fracking, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs

Up for grabs: Land and food in a hungry world

By Suzanne York, April 14, 2014. Source: How Many?

Image: Stephanie McMillan

Image: Stephanie McMillan

The president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, warned that battles over water and food will erupt within the next five to ten years as a result of climate change.  As he was talking of the risks of climate change, the UN announced that food prices had risen to their highest in almost a year.

 At about the same time as these announcements were happening, the Oakland Institute released a report on the World Bank and land grabs, stating that the World Bank was destroying traditional farming to support corporate land grabs (where corporations, individuals and governments buy or lease prime agricultural lands, often displacing poor and marginalized communities who have lived there for generations).

The Uptick on News on Food Security

It’s easy for some to dismiss talk of food shortages and insecurity as just more “chicken little warnings” that have been wrong in the past.  But a look at recent news on food security should give people cause for concern. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs

April 17: International day of peasant struggles

April 8, 2014. Source: La Via Campesina

Image: La Via Campesina

Image: La Via Campesina

This year we dedicate the 17th of April, international day of peasant struggles, to the defense of seeds. Seeds are an essential basis for achieving food sovereignty because almost everything in agriculture depends on them: What we can plant and how it is grown; the quality and nutrition of our food, our ability to account for different tastes and cultural preferences; and also the wellbeing of our communities, our ecosystems and the planet. In this article we explain why this implies not so much the defense of seeds as such but especially the defense of peasant seeds—that is, seeds that remain in the hands of the peasant and family farmers of the world. We also give some examples of how we are carrying out this defense among the organizations in the 73 countries that make up La Vía Campesina.

The seeds used in agriculture are different from those that exist in non-cultivated nature. Until several thousand years ago the enormous diversity of peasant varieties of rice, potatoes, cabbages or barley did not exist as such. The richness of our nutrition today is based on the knowledge, practices, visions and needs of the peasant communities around the world that created them in the first place. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Justice, Commodification of Life, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Green Economy, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests

Colombia’s breadbasket feels the pinch of free trade

By Helda Martínez, April 8, 2014. Source: Inter Press Service

The home of a poor farming family in the mountains of Cajamarca, in the central Colombian department of Tolima. Photo: Helda Martínez/IPS

The home of a poor farming family in the mountains of Cajamarca, in the central Colombian department of Tolima. Photo: Helda Martínez/IPS

“Things are getting worse and worse,” Enrique Muñoz, a 67-year-old farmer from the municipality of Cajamarca in the central Colombian department of Tolima, once known as the country’s breadbasket, said sadly.

“Over the past five decades, the situation took a radical turn for the worse,” activist Miguel Gordillo commented to IPS, referring to what is happening in Tolima, whose capital is Ibagué, 195 km southwest of Bogotá.

“Fifty years ago, Ibagué was a small city surrounded by crops – vast fields of cotton that looked from far away like a big white sheet,” said Gordillo, head of the non-governmental Asociación Nacional por la Salvación Agropecuaria(National Association to Save Agriculture).

“In Tolima we planted maize, tobacco, soy, sorghum and fruit trees, and the mountains that surrounded Cajamarca were covered with green coffee bushes protected by orange trees, maize and plantain, and surrounded by celery,” Muñoz said.

His voice lost in the past, he said the farms in the area also had “piggies, chickens, mules, cows; everything was so different.”

Gordillo said, “In the north of the department we had fruit trees of all kinds, and the rivers were chock full of fish. There’s still rice, some maize, coffee…but even the fish have disappeared.

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Filed under Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Politics, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration

Ethiopian military opens fire on resettled communities

April 4, 2014. Source: Ethiopian Satellite Television

A squad of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) that has travelled to the Southern Omo region of Ethiopia to quell the month long fights between the Bodi and Konso communities has on April 2, 2014 fired heavy weapons on the Bodi people wounding many. Among the wounded, at least 17 elderly women, children and youth are attending medical treatment in Hana Health Centre in Jinka, Southern Ethiopia, the Omo Peoples Democratic Unity (OPDU) office told ESAT.

The Administrator and the Deputy Administrator of Selamago Woreda are in a row with the Head of the Security Head of the area following the actions taken by the ENDF.

According to OPDU, the Konso elders have complained to the officials “When you resettled us here, you told us that you have talked with the people and that everything was alright. However, after we have come here we faced several clashes. Despite our progresses in resolving our conflicts via peaceful and traditional methods, you have taken such a reckless measure which could dim our hope of living together after now. ”

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Filed under Africa, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Political Repression, War

Ploughing protesters highlight land grab grievances in Myanmar

By Vincent MacIsaac, April 6, 2014. Source: South China Morning Post

Myanmar farmers are far from happy with their lot. Photo: AFP

Myanmar farmers are far from happy with their lot. Photo: AFP

Myanmar’s swift economic development has been marked by the rise of a new class of political dissidents: the ploughing protesters.

They are farmers and activists angry that developers have snatched away farmland, rights groups say.

Five farmers were arrested on January 2 for trespassing on land they had been farming for decades – the day after President Thein Sein announced on national radio that all of Myanmar’s political prisoners had been freed, said Nay Myo Zin, a former military captain who runs the Yangon-based charity Myanmar Social Development Network.

The farmers had staged a ploughing protest, tilling land – some with oxen – that had been theirs until it was confiscated by an agribusiness, the men’s relatives said.
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Filed under Actions / Protest, Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs

Women leading resistance to eucalyptus plantations in Brazil

Note: In the US, South Carolina-based ArborGen is awaiting a decision from the US Department of Agriculture to sell billions of genetically engineered (GE) eucalyptus trees annually for planting across the southeast US.  The approval of this invasive, water thirsty and highly flammable tree species would be devastating for the southeast, a region expected to see more and more drought due to climate change.

Sign the petition demanding an immediate ban on the release of GE trees here: http://globaljusticeecology.org/petition.php

-The GJEP Team

Protestors denounce pact to transform rural region of Brazil into a “eucalyptus desert

March 2014. Source: MST via World Rainforest Movement

Photo: WRM

Photo: WRM

On March 8, 2014, peasant farmers from organizations including the MPA, MST, MMC, Quilombolas, the Union of Rural Workers of Mucuri and Montanha and Fetaes, along with youth activists and other social movements, took to the streets of Montanha, in the state of Espírito Santo, Brazil, to denounce the pact between large landholders, the public administration and multinational corporations like Fibria (formerly Aracruz Celulose) to transform the region into an “enormous desert of eucalyptus”. During the political rally held in the town’s central square, some 1,000 women handed out eucalyptus outside the town hall and the headquarters of public offices as a form of protest. The participants in the rally also paid tribute to fellow peasant farmers Saturnino Ribeiro and Valdício Barbosa, who lost their lives in the struggle for land in this region. After a march, two truckloads of food were distributed to neighbourhoods on the periphery of Montanha.

The main themes of the protest were: Agribusiness is the strategy used by patriarchal capitalism in the countryside! We must denounce it and unite in struggle! Stop violence against women! Agrarian reform is the only viable way to produce healthy food for workers!

Observations on eucalyptus and women in Mato Grosso do Sul

By Mieceslau Kudlavicz, March 2014. Source: World Rainforest Movement

“It is the rural women’s movements that have been at the forefront of massive public actions aimed at fighting back against the big corporations in the agri-food sector (pharmaceutical laboratories that produce transgenic seeds and toxic agrochemicals) and defending biodiversity.” (SILIPRANDI, 2013, p. 239)

Numerous events reflect the growing protagonism of women in the economy and, more recently, in political debate. In Brazil, one of the most visible examples of this political struggle was the action undertaken by the Peasant Women’s Movement (MMC), a member organization of La Via Campesina, in 2006, when close to 2,000 women occupied the Aracruz Celulose eucalyptus seedling production laboratories in Rio Grande do Sul. The aim of this action was to denounce the expansion of the “green desert” created by industrial eucalyptus plantations and the resulting expulsion of peasant communities. It was an act in defence of peasant agriculture as a promoter of biodiversity and foundation of food sovereignty. In this way, these women defended seeds for life, in the sense that “seeds are the beginning and the end of peasant farming production cycles. They are a collective creation that reflects the history of peoples and their women, who have always been their creators and the ones primarily responsible for their protection and improvement” (Martins; Stedile, 2011). Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Women

China looks abroad for greener pastures

By Barbara Demick, March 29, 2014. Source: LA Times

The Shenzhen River separates the high-rises of Shenzhen, China, from farmland in Hong Kong. China has come under criticism for the amount of agricultural land it has paved over in its push for economic development. (Brent Lewin / Bloomberg / December 19, 2013)

The Shenzhen River separates the high-rises of Shenzhen, China, from farmland in Hong Kong. China has come under criticism for the amount of agricultural land it has paved over in its push for economic development. (Brent Lewin / Bloomberg / December 19, 2013)

BEIJING — When Ma Wenfeng was a boy, his father earned so little money growing wheat and corn that the family mainly ate mantou, a steamed bread that is a staple of the poor. The last thing he would have dreamed of was becoming a farmer.

Now it is his greatest ambition to start a farm, but not in China, a country where the very word for “farmer,” nongmin, is synonymous with “peasant.” Many Chinese farmers are long past retirement age but still tilling tiny, inefficient plots of land.

Motivated by the search for big expanses of land with abundant supplies of clean water, Chinese are looking far afield — to the United States, Chile, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Bulgaria and Australia.

“We’re the world’s fastest-growing economy, with a huge demand for agricultural products,” said Ma, who works as an analyst for a Beijing-based trade association, CnAgri. “When we look overseas, we see large tracts of land where you can operate a farm that makes sense economically.” Continue reading

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Filed under Climate Change, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs

World Bank’s new agriculture project threatens food security, warn experts

By Sam Jones, March 31, 2014. Source: The Guardian

The World Bank's agriculture-focused ranking system may encourage land grabs, say supporters of the Our Land; Our Business campaign. Photograph: AFP/Getty

The World Bank’s agriculture-focused ranking system may encourage land grabs, say supporters of the Our Land; Our Business campaign. Photograph: AFP/Getty

World Bank pilot project designed to measure and improve agricultural productivity will jeopardise food security in developing countries and create a “one-size-fits-all model of development where corporations reign supremely”, according to a coalition of thinktanks and NGOs.

An international campaign – Our Land; Our Business – is urging the Bank to abandon its Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture (BBA) programme, claiming it will serve only to encourage corporate land grabs and undermine the smallholder farmers who produce 80% of the food consumed in the developing world.

The campaign, whose signatories include the US-based Oakland Institute thinktank and the Pan-African Institute for Consumer Citizenship and Development, argues that the Bank’s attempts to adapt its ease-of-doing-business rankings to the agricultural sector will sow poverty “by putting the interests of foreign investors before those of locals”. Continue reading

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Filed under Africa, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, World Bank