Category Archives: Peasant

Great Grabs of Africa

African governments are in the spotlight for their role in the continent’s land grabs which has seen millions of acres end up in the hands of private investors. 

Latest reports by a US-based think-tank, Oakland Institute, show that Western transnational corporations and Eastern countries such as China and India have played a big role in massive land acquisitions in Africa.

Although Indian firms are active in countries like Ethiopia, the Oakland Institute’s investigation shows a major role of Western firms, wealthy US and European individuals, and investment funds with ties to major banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan,” says the report, Land Deals in Africa.

The report also attributes the phenomenon to alternative investment firms like the London-based Emergent Asset Management and US universities such as Harvard, Spelman and Vanderbilt, whose “primary motivation (is) economic access to agricultural land that will have high returns for the endowment.”

Land grabs could be creating mass anger and may be setting up different parts of the continent for conflict.

Lack of consultation, growing food insecurity and threats to livelihoods and land rights are generating conflicts and pose a grave threat to peace and security in the region,” said Anuradha Mittal, Director of Oakland Institute.

The African continent has shown renaissance and growth. But experts believe that even before Africans have started to benefit from the growth, the dishing out of land under the guise of economic development has the potential of creating multiple crises.

Read More: Tensions run high as East Africa tackles sensitive issue of land reforms

Fomenting conflict

In cases where people are not kicked out of the land targeted for leasing out to companies, other methods used include fomenting conflict between ethnic groups inhabiting the lands.

In cases where a number of communities live, their cultural differences are exploited to bring about conflicts that result in the displacement of the people. Kenya’s Tana Delta, for instance, experienced a bitter conflict between two ethnic groups, Pokomo and Orma, which led to the killing of more than 100 people in late 2012.

Although the media attributed the violence to traditional and cultural differences between the two communities and retaliatory attacks, there was suspicion that local and foreign commercial interests played a role.

This became public during a fact-finding mission by officials of the Canada-based Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention.

In its report, Sentinel cited the Canadian firm, Bedford Biofuels, saying that it had leased a large tract of land in the area for its operations, “thus causing environmental damage and depriving Tana Delta residents of its use for agriculture.”

It also accused wealthy and powerful Kenyans and foreigners of having armed the two ethnic groups or “set them to drive the other off the land so that it can be freed up for commercial exploitation.

As they lease the land to foreign companies, governments in Africa rely on the fact that most local people do not have formal ownership documents of the land.

Read More: Land issues plague Africa as states lease out community land to foreigners

Source: | The East African, 21 March, 2014

Wilderland Turns 50

Wilderland is celebrating it’s 50th Anniversary this year on Saturday the 29th of March we invite you to come join us for an open day at Wilderland (Comers Rd, Whitianga) to see what we’re about, have a look around, catch up with old friends from our long history, eat, chill, and enjoy loads of greatContinue Reading

Peaceful Uprising in Brazil

Landless Workers Protest Agrarian Reform ​(Brazilia): Around 16 thousand Landless Workers participating in the 6th MST (Landless Workers’ Movement) National Congress made the 9km journey from the Nilson Nelson Gymnasium to the Three Power Plaza and back. The main aim of the peaceful protest was to denounce the standstill situation of agrarian reform in BrazilContinue Reading

World Bank Funds Terrorists

World Bank Funds Terrorists

Heavily armed police just burned 1,000 homes to the ground to force indigenous families out of the Kenyan forest where they’ve lived for centuries. This desperate community needs our help to save their homes — and the forest — before it’s destroyed forever. >> Sign the petition The World Bank has given millions to the Kenyan forest policeContinue Reading

ILC Land Reform Project

ILC Land Reform Project

The International Land Coalition is calling for expressions of interest in a new initiative it has announced to “influence the formulation and implementation of national land policy for the benefit of the rural poor”. Called the Facility in Support of Innovative and High Impact Targeted Interventions on the ground (FTI). The ILC has identified key countries for substantive long-term engagementContinue Reading

Chile Women get Agroecology

An organisation that brings together some 10,000 peasant and indigenous women from Chile is launching an agroecology institute for women For years, the National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women (ANAMURI) has been training thousands of people through La Vía Campesina, the international peasant organisation. The new Agroecology Institute for Rural Women (IALA) will be theContinue Reading

Germany : We are fed up!

A demonstration in central Berlin called “Wir haben es satt – We are fed up” attracted  30.000 demonstrators.  “Peasant farming is not modernity remote, poor or underdeveloped. It is a sustainable agricultural model, that uses natural and human resource with respect and guarantees social and food security worldwide. That’s what this year’s international year ofContinue Reading

MST Celebrates 30 Years

MST Celebrates 30 Years

The oldest peasant movement in the history of Brazil, the Landless Workers’ Movement (MST), is holding a National Congress to celebrate its “Struggle for, and work towards a People’s Land Reform”. The process, by which we have built our Congress from a grassroots level and through our mobilisations, has made it clear that it is notContinue Reading

Bio-Pirates Trump Small Farmers

Family farmers in the U.S. were today denied the right to argue their case in court for protection from potential abuse by the agrochemical and genetic engineering giant, Monsanto. Additionally, the high court decision dashes the hopes of family farmers who sought the opportunity to prove in court Monsanto’s genetically engineered seed patents are invalid. “TheContinue Reading