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Stop land grabbing! Life, land, and justice in Uganda

Title Stop land grabbing! Life,   land, and justice in Uganda
Director(s)
Date released (year) 2012

 

Production company The Source Film, for Friends of the Earth International

 

Length 5mins
Location Uganda
Keywords/tags Land grabbing, food security, agriculture, displacement
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17QxF61PVC4
Synopsis In   Kalangala, Uganda, John Muyisa woke up one day to find bulldozers clearing   his land to plant oil palms. John and his community have preserved their   forests and lands for generations. Now their way of life is at risk.
Reviews/discussion Land grabbing explained

This campaign highlights the destructive environmental and social   impacts of unsustainable resource use in the global North and South. We are   seeking to defend community territories, protect land rights and increase   awareness of corporations’ agendas, strategies, abuses and violations.

An elderly woman holds on to the fence separating her   land, where she rears goats, from the advancing soya plantations, in Cordoba,   Argentina.For centuries, communities have been intimidated to abandon   – or forcibly removed from – their land in a seemingly endless battle to   control natural resources. Today, these problems still occur and are   manifesting in more direct and disturbing ways: multinational corporations   occupy large swaths of community land that provides critical supplies for   local populations in order to extract profitable resources – including crops   for agrofuels, food, carbon offsets or minerals – for the benefit of often   quite distant national and international elites.

Driven by greed and materialism, the destruction of local communities   and their environments often results in the violation of both human and   community rights. We have seen increased militarization and criminalization   of communities who resist the appropriation of their communal lands. We have also   witnessed severe environmental degradation and the destruction of natural   commons for the longevity of communities.

More: Read   our report on Land Grabbing in Uganda

More: Watch   this true story about resistance to Lord Grabbing

This system continues to perpetuate the gross inequity in the   distribution of natural commons (healthy ecosystems, water and air), create a   poor underclass in both Global North and South, all of which further divide   our world in to the haves and have-nots. Meanwhile, the consumers of these   ill-begotten resources are not necessarily happier as a result of their   consumption.

This campaign seeks to stop the destructive consumption race by   creating, protecting and enforcing community and individual rights to land   and their commons. It will also challenge the current unsustainable   consumptive patterns of elites and target specific commodities with the aim   of significantly reducing their consumption.

Source: http://www.foei.org/en/what-we-do/land-grabbing/land-grabbing-explained

Investors must stop land grabbing, say civil society groups

LONDON (UK), November 30, 2012   – Major farmland investors such as banks and pension funds must stop   facilitating land grabs, say civil society groups [1] on the eve of a global   farmland investment conference in London on 3-5 December. [2]

Banks and pension funds are   increasingly engaging in large-scale acquisitions of land with extremely   damaging consequences for local populations. The London conference will bring   together funds with more than USD3 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. [3] 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. [4]

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. [5]

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. [6]

Source: http://www.foei.org/en/media/archive/2012/investors-must-stop-land-grabbing-say-civil-society-groups-1

Links to other resources Friends of   the Earth Internationa, land-grab campaign: http://www.foei.org/landgrab

World Bank Refuses to Stop   Funding African Land Grabs, October 8, 2012, African   Globe.  Source: http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/world-bank-refuses-stop-funding-african-land-grabs

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