World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Civil Society Groups to Investors: Stop Land Grabbing

Civil Society Groups to Investors: Stop Land Grabbing

MAJOR farmland investors such as banks and pension funds must stop facilitating land grabs, civil society groups on the eve of a global farmland investment conference in London on December 3-5, have said.

In an online statement to AkanimoReports on Friday, the groups said banks and pension funds are increasingly engaging in large-scale acquisitions of land with extremely damaging consequences for local populations.

The London conference will however, bring together funds with more than US$3.00 trillion in assets to explore opportunities for investments in Africa, Latin America and Russia.

The civil society groups are warning that pension funds and banks attending the conference, for instance Deutsche Bank, must ensure they do not fund risky investments that threaten the livelihoods and food sovereignty of countless local communities.

Since 2008 rising financial investments in land have contributed to more than 200 million hectares of land being taken from small farmers, fisherfolk, and other rural communities, robbing them of their means of survival.

Land grabbing also frequently involves violent evictions and human rights violations. Institutional investors are expected to increase by 500% their agricultural investment portfolios by 2017.

Kirtana Chandrasekaran, Friends of the Earth International Food Sovereignty Programme Co-ordinator, said: “Unfortunately private investment in farmland may be seen by many as low risk and positive for developing countries. Yet they are often a disaster for local communities and the environment. Legal uncertainty and community opposition means that most farmland investments are also risky for investors.”

“Major investors such as banks and pension funds need to urgently investigate their investment portfolios and stop funding land grabs,” she added.
Earlier this year Friends of the Earth Europe released the report 'Farming money: How European banks and private finance profit from food speculation and land grabs'. The report analyses the activities of 29 European banks, pension funds and insurance companies, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays, RBS, Allianz, BNP Paribas, AXA, HSBC, Generali, Unicredit and Credit Agricole. It reveals the significant involvement of these financial institutions in food speculation, and the direct or indirect financing of land grabbing.
COUNTRY EXAMPLES

LIBERIA

In Liberia, farmland investments have facilitated land grabbing. A quarter of the country - including vast swathes of fertile land- has been handed to palm oil, rubber and logging companies, preventing its use for food production. These large plantations are promoted as a means to create jobs, bring development, and increase the government’s budget. In reality they are jeopardizing the land rights of local populations, threatening local livelihoods and putting the future of one of the world’s most significant biodiversity hotspots into doubt.

This week in Liberia the Sustainable Development Institute (SDI) / Friends of the Earth Liberia is holding a major conference with oil palm plantations-affected communities who are demanding to be heard and consulted.

Between 2009 and 2010 the government of Liberia allocated more than a million acres of land to transnational palm oil producers Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Liberia without consulting or securing the consent of those living on and using the land.

ETHIOPIA

In the past few years, Ethiopia allocated huge areas of fertile arable farmland to foreign investors with little consultations with the affected communities. Since 2008 more than 3.6 million hectares of land has been allocated to foreign investors. For instance, in Gambela region, an Indian company -Karuturi Global- has been allocated staggering 300,000 hectares of land depriving indigenous people of access to water, fishing and grazing grounds, traditional construction materials, and food. Like in many other cases there has been a lack of prior consent and consultation with the local people and affected communities were not consulted and did not give their prior consent these farmland investments.

“In Ethiopia and elsewhere farmland investments for instance in plantations are jeopardizing the land rights of local people, and threatening local livelihoods ,” said Nyikaw Ochalla from Anywaa Survival Organisation-ASO.

MADAGASCAR

“In Madagascar, landgrabbing is caused by foreign and domestic investors implementing agribusiness projects and setting up biodiversity conservation areas, but also developing tourism and extractive industry infrastructure” says Mamy Rakotondrainibe, from the Collectif pour la défense des terres malgaches -TANY in Madagascar.

“We are currently supporting pastoralists communities’ claims against the Italian company Tozzi Green which aims to lease 100 000 hectars in the Ihorombe region to mainly cultivate jatropha for agrofuel production” she adds.

UGANDA

A report released earlier this year by Friends of the Earth Uganda revealed widespread violations of people’s rights and environmental destruction from a land grab in Uganda. ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Support Needed For Olive Farmers In Palestinian Territory

Olive trees in the Palestinian town of Ni'lin in 2008 were very close to expanding Israeli settlements. Photo: IRIN/Shabtai Gold More>>

ALSO:

Use Of Drones In Law Enforcement May Violate Human Rights

22 October 2014 – The increasing use of armed drones within domestic law enforcement risks depersonalizing the use of force and infringing upon the rights of individual citizens, a United Nations independent human rights expert warned today. More>>

Gaza: Pledges For Aid, Reconstruction Must Be Honoured

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) addresses the Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question. Security Council President for the month of October, María Cristina Perceval of Argentina, is at ... More>>

Ebola: UN Prepares For Arrival Of Trial Vaccines

In early October 2014, with the help of the US Navy, a new mobile laboratory opened at Island Clinic, one of the WHO-supported Ebola Treatment Units (ETU) in Monrovia, Liberia. Photo: WHO/R. Sørenson More>>



Palestine: Human Rights Defender Abdallah Abu Rahmah Found Guilty

Human Rights Defender Abdallah Abu Rahma was found guilty by an Israeli military court of “disturbing a soldier”. More>>

NCRI: Iran: 13 Executions In One Day

The henchmen of the clerical regime hanged 13 prisoners on Sunday October 19, 2014 in Ghezel-Hessar Karaj Prison, Tabriz Central Prison and Rasht Central Prison. More>>

MSF: Ebola Crisis Update - 16th October 2014

16 October 2014 Cases Deaths Guinea 1,472 843 Liberia 4,249 2,458 Nigeria 20 8 Sierra Leone 3,252 1,183 Senegal 1 0 Total 8,994 4,492 WHO Figures - Data are based on official information reported by Ministries of Health. These numbers are subject to change ... More>>

ALSO:

Detroit: City-Backed Water Shut-Offs Contrary To Human Rights

20 October 2014 – The city of Detroit must restore access to water for its citizens who remain unable to pay their bills, two United Nations experts urged today, adding that a failure to do so would be a violation of the most basic human rights of those ... More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news