Land grabbing is state banditry

World Social Forum TV | 8 February 2011

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


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



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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Intervention by Henry Saragih to the Round Table on Land Tenure and International Investment in Agriculture

Rome, October 13, 2010

Thank you Chair person for this opportunity to present our position. I am Henry Saragih from Indonesia, Chair person of the Indonesian Peasant Union and General Coordinator of La Via Campesina. La Via Campesina is an international peasant movement. Our members include small-scale family farmers, peasants, and landless farmers from every region in the world.

At this moment, we ask the CFS to:

  • Recall the importance of the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ICARRD) which was held in Brazil in June, 2006.

  • Urge States to implement the commitments they made in the ICARRD final declaration in relation to secure access to and control over land and natural resources for small scale food producers/providers, genuine agrarian reform and sustainable rural development policies.

  • Develop an appropriate legal framework to implement the ICARRD commitments.

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