Ndiakhate Fall: “Land is everything for us”

From the Nyéléni Village - Selingué – Mali – 17 November 2011


Interview with Ndiakhate Fall, from the region of Thies, Ville de Mecklie, member of the CMCR (Conseil National de Concertation et de Cooperation des Ruraux) that is the platform of peasants’ organisations in Senegal, member of Via Campesina.

I am a farmer. I grow mainly peanuts, and other vegetables for consumption, as well keeping sheep and cows. My country Senegal has already promised to give away 500.000 hectares of land for growing agrofuels or food for export. Senegal has many examples of land-grabbing, and most of them are linked to a number of specific phenomena.

First of all the extension of cities. In all big cities nowadays there are real estate companies that want land to build houses or to sell it to private investors. Secondly, there are land grabs by mining industries; many companies come and settle in Senegal - for example, an Austrian company, that mines zircon, has grabbed a lot of land and robbed many farmers.

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Conference Declaration: Stop Land-Grabbing Now!

We, women and men peasants, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and their allies, who gathered together in Nyeleni from 17-19 November 2011, have come from across the world for the first time to share with each other our experiences and struggles against land-grabbing. One year ago we supported the Kolongo Appeal from peasant organizations in Mali, who have taken the lead in organising local resistance to the take-over of peasants' lands in Africa. Now we came to Nyeleni in response to the Dakar Appeal, which calls for a global alliance against land-grabbing. For we are determined to defend food sovereignty, the commons and the rights of small scale food providers to natural resources.

In Mali, the Government has committed to give away 800 thousand hectares of land to business investors. These are lands of communities that have belonged to them for generations, even centuries, while the Malian State has only existed since the 1960-s. This situation is mirrored in many other countries where customary rights are not recognised. Taking away the lands of communities is a violation of both their customary and historical rights.

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Movements Unite in Mali, Confronting Powerful Interests : “We are decolonizing Africa here”

Nyéléni, Mali – 19 November 2011 —The National Confederation of Peasant Organization’s (CNOP) agroecological training center stands at the crossroads of the West African countryside. Surrounded with rich Malian farmland and dotted with white thatched-roof huts, the Niger River snakes into the horizon on one side, and a dusty road connects the property to the sleepy town of Sélingué. Today, well into the first International Peasant’s Conference, the center was buzzing with activity as peasants from across Africa and around the world worked together to envision communities where land is more than a commodity.


photo: Philippe Revelli

“This is the kind of awareness-raising that has the potential to change policy,” said Ibrahima Coulibaly, CNOP’s president and a Via Campesina leader. “As local and national movements, we need to fight together against the global structures that threaten our communities,” he added.

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Farmers mobilise to find solutions against land grabbing

Sélingué, Mali, 17 November 2011 – Today, more than 250 participants, mainly representatives of farmers’ organisations, from thirty different countries gathered in Nyéléni Village, a centre for agro-ecology training built in a rural area near Sélingué, in Mali, to participate into the first International farmers’ conference to stop land grabbing. The Nyéléni village is a symbolic place, where the first international conference on Food Sovereignty was held in 2007. For three days, from the 17 to the 20 of November, participants are exchanging their experiences and creating alliances to stop the global land grab.

Land grabbing is happening everywhere, making the daily struggle of rural communities worldwide for survival even more difficult. Rights of family farmers, as well as pastoralists, artisanal fishers and indigenous communities, are violated constantly and their territories are being increasingly militarised. Small scale food production is replaced by large monoculture plantations for export and local farmers are left without land, without jobs, without food. This is why peasant organisations decided to mobilise together against this problem and create a space for exchanging experiences and finding common solutions.

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