Grabbing of land for the production of soy in Nacala corridor North of Mozambique has raised harsh criticism from the peasant organizations of Nampula, Zambezia and Niassa provinces. They say that the government initiated the ProSavana program as a mechanism through which to expropriate more peasants’ land for agribusiness.
According to Estevão Costa, the president of the Provincial Peasants Union of Nampula, during a panel discussion at the Triangular Conference of the Peoples about ProSavana in Maputo, peasants from Nampula have been losing lands to foreign companies for export production.
He added that in Monapo district, the government has taken lands away from peasants and given them to a South African company without consulting the community. Again, all that happens in Nampula with regard to agricultural investment is kept from the peasants, which makes their participation in the process rather difficult.
Almirante Gaute, the president of the Provincial Peasants Union of Zambezia, reported that the peasants from his province do not fully understand the purpose of ProSavana project and the implications it will have in their lives, aside from their lands being taken away.
When talking about protection of the peasants’ land rights, the lawyer and president of the Human Rights League, Alice Mabota, harshly criticized the governments of the three countries involved in ProSavana (Mozambique, Brazil and Japan) for grabbing and expropriating land without bearing in mind the development of initiatives that benefit the people, as an abuse of the dignity and rights of the peasants. “In Mozambique, most of the population lives from agriculture and if their means of survival is taken away, that same population is doomed to live in poverty”, said Alice Mabota.
She also said that there exist contradictions between the government’s speech and the actions being taken. The President contradicts himself when he says he supports the right to use and exploit land (DUAT), while at the same time granting large extensions of land to foreigners.
Still, according to Alice Mabota, ProSavana is being implemented without prior public consultation. For this lawyer, it therefore follows that ProSavana lacks transparency.
* – Second Triangular Conference of the Peoples´ Communication Team