7 January 2014. Source: GRAIN
Safiya Vandi (in green t-shirt), pictured at a meeting of communities affected by the SOCFIN plantations in Pujehun, Sierra Leone. When bulldozers came to clear her land, Vandi stood in front of them. Photo: Green Scenery
On December 9, 2013, a meeting was called in Pujehun District over the lease of 6,500 hectares of prime farmland in this southeastern part of Sierra Leone. Local sources said elders called the meeting to allow people to again express their grievances to the Paramount Chief over the lease of land to the Socfin Agricultural Company.
Hundreds were waiting in the village of Libby Malen for the chiefdom authorities to arrive when they learned that nine of their fellow villagers had been beaten and arrested by the police en route to the meeting. More than three hundred people immediately left the meeting to go to the police station in nearby Sahn and demand the release of the villagers.
They were met along the way by an armed contingent of police who fired tear gas and live bullets into the crowd, leaving many people with serious injuries. One person was shot in the neck and at least 57 people were arrested and badly beaten. Shortly afterwards, a group of thugs, who witnesses report may have been police and/or company representatives, attacked villagers in Libby Malen itself, forcing people to flee into the bushes. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, Green Economy, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Note: The following news story came from ActionAid International. Soren Ambrose, who is the International Advocacy Manager for ActionAid International also sits on the Board of Directors of Global Justice Ecology Project.
At the same time that solidarity activists are highlighting the destructive impacts of the EU’s biofuel policies, the US government is moving forward with its own bio-fuelled delusions. In its pursuit of biofuels derived from cellulose, the Department of Energy is working hand-in-hand with agribusiness and industrial forestry corporations to genetically engineer crops and trees like switchgrass, poplar, and eucalyptus for bio-energy production.
We have the opportunity to stop genetically engineered trees before it’s too late – Sign the petition demanding a ban on GE trees here: http://globaljusticeecology.org/petition.php
Please also consider a donation to the campaign.
-The GJEP Team
Biofuels project pushing thousands of people into hunger in Africa
Aerial photo of the lands taken by Addax Bioenergy for its sugar cane plantation in Sierra Leone. (Photo: Le Temps)
A biofuels project praised by the European Commission as environmentally and socially responsible is pushing thousands of people into poverty in one of the poorest countries in the world, a new ActionAid report said today.
The report comes as MEPs prepare to take a critical vote on EU biofuel policies next week.
When Addax Bioenergy shortly begins exporting ethanol from a sugar cane plantation in Sierra Leone to the EU to be used in petrol, it will be the first biofuels to be exported from Africa to Europe in commercial quantities.
The EU claims that it does not import biofuels crops from Africa’s poorest countries because of the potential impact that its biofuel policies have on decreasing the amount of land that can be used to grow food and therefore increasing hunger. Continue reading
Filed under Africa, Biodiversity, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
Note: Yet another example of how investment by northern countries in biofuels is leading to a massive land grab across the global south…
-The GJEP Team
December 4, 2012. Source: farmlandgrab.org
Photo: Green Scenery
More than a hundred representatives of landholding families from 36 villages affected by a large- scale investor in oil palm plantation in Malen Chiefdom, Pujehun District, have signed a resolution stating that they disassociate themselves from any lease agreement signed on their behalf by the Paramount Chief and chiefdom authorities of Malen Chiefdom with the Government of Sierra Leone. Furthermore, it says “…we will no longer allow the Socfin Agricultural Company personnel and or their machines to enter upon or operate on our land.” The resolution was issued with a letter written by MALOA, an association of affected landowners and users in Malen Chiefdom, on behalf of affected landholding families and addressed to the Human Rights Commission for their intervention against human rights abuses such as intimidation. The document was signed in Pujehun on 1st of December 2012 at a meeting of aggrieved landholding families from Malen Chiefdom.
In the letter the association complains about ongoing harassment, molestation and intimidation of landowners opposing the land deal by the Paramount Chief and chiefdom authorities. It says that land has been forcefully taken by the company with the authority of the Paramount Chief, ignoring the protest of the landholding families. “The present operations of the Socfin Agricultural company is against our progress and economic viability and a blatant disregard to our ownership of our respective family land in the Malen Chiefdom which we can no longer accept,” states the letter, and it announces peaceful resistance against any further company operation on their land.
Socfin Agricultural Company S.L. Limited (SAC) is a subsidiary of the Belgium company, Socfin. SAC leased over 6,500 hectares in Malen chiefdom, Pujehun District for over 50 years with a possible extension of 21 years to establish oil palm and rubber plantations. The company signed in March 2011 a sub-lease with the Government of Sierra Leone, which holds the lead lease with the chiefdom council. The company pays US$ 5 rent per year per acre, with only half of it going to the land owners. Land users, mainly women, are not compensated. Mainly casual and unskilled employment is offered to mostly young male Sierra Leoneans. The salary is 10,000 Leones per day. Extension plans for a second phase over 5,500 hectare for oil palm plantations under similar conditions to the first phase are in progress. Communities in the prospective lease area have already written letters stating that they will not agree to any lease arrangements with the investor.