It's Time to Outlaw Land Grabbing, Not to Make It "Responsible"!

On 18-20 April 2011, a gathering of some 200 farmland investors, government officials and international civil servants will meet at the World Bank headquarters in Washington DC to discuss how to operationalise "responsible" large-scale land acquisitions. Over in Rome, the Committee on World Food Security, housed at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, is about to start a process of consultation on principles to regulate such deals. Social movements and civil society organisations (CSOs), on the other hand, are mobilising to stop land grabs, and undo the ones already coming into play, as a matter of utmost urgency. Why do the World Bank, UN agencies and a number of highly concerned governments insist on trying to promote these land grab deals as "responsible agricultural investments"?

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Land grabbing is state banditry

World Social Forum TV | 8 February 2011

Interview with Ibrahim Coulibaly, member of CNOP Mali - La Via Campesina

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Land grabbing is a problem that has accelerated since the food crisis of 2008. It has become an extremely serious problem in Mali where, in just a few years, we have seen almost 700,000 hectares ceded by the government to either foreign firms or foreign states or to so-called national investors.

What we need to understand is that this landgrabbing trend plays right into the line of neoliberal policies because it is about trying to make people believe that peasants cannot feed us. That was the message from governments after the food crisis, that we have to raise food production. But if that were true, I think it was those very same policies, implemented in our countries over the last 30 years by the World Bank and the IMF, that failed to let us feed our countries. And we're not going to solve the food problem by giving land to foreign interests. Especially since the food crisis proved that those countries which relied on the market for their food supply were left extremely vulnerable. So it really was the moment to strengthen local agriculture, invest in family farming, in order to produce more, or better yet, feed our countries.

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Dakar Appeal against the land grab

Sign the appeal here!

We, farmers organizations, non-governmental organizations, religious organizations, unions and other social movements, gathered in Dakar for the World Social Forum 2011:

Considering that small and family farming, which represent most of the world's farmers, are best placed to:

  • meet their dietary needs and those of populations, ensuring food security and sovereignty of countries,
  • provide employment to rural populations and maintain economic life in rural areas, key to a balanced territorial development,
  • produce with respect to the environment and to the conservation of natural resources for future generations;

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Kolongotomo Farmers Forum on Land Grabs in Mali

 

KOLONGO APPEAL

We, the farmers belonging to the Collective of Farmer Organisations and the Coalition of the Forum of Civil Society Organisations, having come from every administrative region of Mali, and having met on 20 November 2010 at the Kologontomo Forum on agricultural land grabs in Mali, launch the following appeal:

 

  • Responding to demand from farmer organisations and their members in the Office du Niger area;
  • Having noted farmers’ lack of tenure security in the Office du Niger area, and the difficulty of obtaining information about Government policy on large-scale allocations of agricultural land to foreign investors;
  • In light of the provisions of the Framework Law on Agriculture regarding agricultural land;
  • In light of the flagrant violations of citizens’ and human rights through numerous shocking attacks on the physical and moral integrity of rural populations in developed areas of the Office du Niger;
  • In light of the sudden and brutal occupations of agricultural lands by foreign and national investors to the detriment of family farms, which need access to large amounts of agricultural land and secure tenure of this land;
  • In view of the fact that the allocation of vast tracts of agricultural land to private investors is undermining national sovereignty and will contribute to the almost inevitable disappearance of family farming.

 

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