Black Gold

 

Title Black Gold
Director(s) Marc & Nick Francis
Date released (year) 2006
Production company Speak-It   Films and Fulcrum Productions.
Length 78 minutes
Location Ethiopia
Keywords/tags Food, trade, neoliberalism, poverty
Link to film  

Synopsis From Tesfaye, B. &   Potter, J. (2011) Black gold: wake up and smell the coffee. followthethings.com   (www.followthethings.com/blackgold.shtml last accessed 6/4/13):

‘As westerners revel in   designer lattes and cappuccinos, impoverished Ethiopian coffee growers suffer   the bitter taste of injustice. In this eye-opening expose of the   multi-billion dollar industry, Black Gold traces one man’s fight for a fair   price (Source: Anon nda link).

The film follows Tadesse   Meskela, an Ethiopian man on a mission to save his 74,000 struggling coffee   farmers from bankruptcy. As his farmers strive to harvest some of the highest   quality coffee beans on the international market, Tadesse travels the world   in an attempt to find buyers willing to pay a fair price. Against the   backdrop of Tadesse’s journey to London and Seattle, the enormous power of   the multinational players that dominate the world’s coffee trade becomes   apparent. New York commodity traders, the international coffee exchanges, and   the double dealings of trade ministers at the World Trade Organisation reveal   the many challenges Tadesse faces in his quest for a long term solution for   his farmers (Source: Anon 2010).

Scenes in the film switch   between the disadvantaged coffee farming communities to the daily lives of   those at the luxury to consume it, which often exemplifies the absurdity   found in those gushing about the great wealth of a market built off the backs   of farmers who continue to live in poverty (Source: Reed 2008).

The spokesman, Tadesse   Meskela, who is the subject of Black Gold, together with the film’s English   makers, brothers Nick and Marc Francis, are a serious irritant to some of the   world’s coffee giants – in particular Seattle-based Starbucks, whose annual   turnover of $7.8bn (£4bn) is not much lower than Ethiopia’s entire gross   domestic product… ‘Our people are barefoot, have no school, no clean water or   health centre. They are living hand to mouth. We need $4 a pound minimum,   that’s only fair…Starbucks may help bring clear water for one community but   this does not solve the problem. In 2005, Starbucks’ aid to the third world   was $1.5m. We don’t want this kind of support, we just want a better price.   They make huge profits; giving us just one payment of money does not help,’   said Mr. Meskela (Source: Seager 2007 link).

By way of the farmers in the   cooperative and Tadesse’s efforts on their behalf, the film exposes the web   of trade regulations that keep farmers in developing countries poor, even   while transnational corporations in the global north prosper. Women   painstakingly sort millions of beans; and viewers observe the hunger and   substandard housing that accompany poverty. Juxtaposed with these images are   the cosmopolitan cafés of Europe and America, the comfort of conspicuous   consumption, the places of commerce where deprivation in one part of the   globe is turned into the wealth of another (Source: Fellner 2008 link).’

Source: http://www.followthethings.com/blackgold.shtml

Reviews/discussion From Tesfaye, B. &   Potter, J. (2011) Black gold: wake up and smell the coffee. followthethings.com   (www.followthethings.com/blackgold.shtml last accessed 6/4/13):

‘When Marc and Nick Francis   were making Black Gold, they never expected the story – about the plight of   African coffee farmers paid a fraction of the amount a latte or cappuccino   costs – to attract the very multinationals the film criticises. ‘They want to   hear what the audience thinks,’ Nick Francis says. ‘We had this screening in   Seattle, and the head of corporate responsibility of Starbucks came to the   screening and participated in a panel and answered questions from the   audience. That’s what you call the power of film – how a film could draw in   people.’ … The film has prompted rounds of crisis management sessions at   coffee-shop chains such as Starbucks, which issued a statement calling the   film inaccurate and incomplete. Since the film’s release, the chain has also   actively promoted a new range of ‘Fair Trade’ coffee in its outlets around   the world, including those in Hong Kong. The filmmakers are surprised by the   chain’s response to their film. ‘It’s not a film about Starbucks, it’s a film   about coffee farmers struggling to survive in the coffee industry, and their   story is set against the backdrop of the coffee-consuming world of the west,   of which Starbucks is a part,’ Marc Francis says. ‘We didn’t tell it so much   about them but they’ve taken it very personally. Also, we did spend six   months trying to interview not just Starbucks but other big multinational   coffee companies to bring their side of the stories to the film. But they’ve   given us no response. Now that the film is out there and is beginning to pick   up public momentum, the companies are responding more and more to the film –   or trying to show [through] public relations where they position themselves’   (Source: Tsui 2007a).

’Black Gold’ portrays the   coffee industry as a whole, rather than Starbucks specifically. From our   point of view, this film is inaccurate and incomplete, as it does not explain   how Starbucks purchases coffee, nor does it provide any reference to   potential solutions to the world coffee crisis… Starbucks takes an integrated   approach to coffee purchasing. Our goal is to pay premium prices that provide   the coffee farmer with a profit. In our financial year 2006, we paid an   average price of $1.42 per pound for our coffee, 40% above the commodity   price and comparable with the guaranteed Fairtrade price of $1.26. Our   approach… [has] been recognised for…leadership within the industry (Source:   Starbucks 2007).

We are surprised that   Starbucks have gone out to discredit the film again. This is not a film   specifically about Starbucks, it’s a film about the winners and losers in the   global coffee industry and it shows the daily reality for millions of coffee   farmers. We spent six months during the production trying to persuade   Starbucks to participate in the film to give them the opportunity to explain   how they buy their coffee and how they work in Ethiopia, but they declined   our invitation. In a subsequent meeting with five senior Starbucks executives   at their Seattle headquarters, we asked them to tell us the exact price they   pay farmers for a pound of coffee – but they refused to disclose this   (Source: Francis & Francis 2007 link).

During the film’s most   painful sequence, his [Tadesse’s] efforts and Ethiopia’s persistent, crushing   famine are juxtaposed with the vapidly cheerful corp-speak of two Starbucks   baristas (Source: Hornaday 2006).

Yes, the baristas are   excessively perky as they purvey coffee and the Starbucks experience; yet   they are also model employees, supportive of each other, efficient, and proud   of their company. At the time of the filming, the young women were   entertaining a tour from the Specialty Coffee Association, to which the   filmmakers had attached themselves to avoid asking Starbucks or its employees   for permission to film. How could these young women know that they would be   featured as unwitting symbols of the harm that transnational coffee giants   inflict on poor Ethiopian farmers? (Source: Fellner 2008 link).

The Francis brothers are   good on showing the situation’s local effects – famine, ill-equipped schools   – but less so at analyzing the international economic context: the film is   frighteningly free of expert voices. More dynamism and knowledge in the   telling and fewer cheap shots at young Starbucks workers in Seattle wouldn’t   have gone amiss (Source: Calhoun 2007, np).

The baristas and shopkeepers   that the film ridicules through artful editing are the very people who are   the farmers’ best hope for teaching the public about the true value of these   coffees (Source: Marshall 2006 link).

While it may prompt some to   think again next time they’re in Starbucks, this astute insight into the   coffee business is better at lauding the good guys than taking the   multinationals to task for the iniquities of the global economy (Source:   Parkinson 2006 link).

Although some scenes   register with strong impact, there also seems to be a lot of padding, and the   overall narrative is ultimately too diffused and unfocused for the film to   have the sociological impact it so obviously desires (Source: Scheck 2006).

Compared to a documentary   like Darwin’s Nightmare, which found disturbing visual analogues for the   moral rot of global trade, Black Gold makes most of its points in words, not   pictures. (Source: Murray 2006 link)

The movie’s approach reminds   me that of the paternalistic and Western-centred [sic] 1970s-style theories   according to which only colonialism and international market (i.e. ‘us’ the   Western world) are to blame, and no others’ power and responsibilities are   recognised. Likewise, there is no mention in the movie of the roles that the   Ethiopian State could play in economic development and, for instance,   education (Source: Chiari 2007 link).

[I] found it confusing to   people outside the coffee field, partial, and intellectually not particularly   honest…In my opinion, the film completely overlooks factors such as   historical events (the Mengistu dictatorship which ruined plantations and the   coffee free flow), inept procedures such as the bureaucracy surrounding the   auctions system which hardly allows enough time for buyers to evaluate the   lots), and also the ever present corruption, probably less in Ethiopia than   in other parts of Africa, but then why generalize in the end with statements   about Africa’s share of world trade? (Source: cofyknsult 2006 link).’

Further Reading

Anon (nda) The DVD.   blackgoldmovie.com (www.blackgoldmovie.com/dvd.php   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Anon (ndb) Black Gold: wake   up and smell the coffee. maketradefair.com (www.maketradefair.com/en/index.php?file=blackgoldmovie_main.html&cat=5&subcat=1&select=1   last accessed j March 2011)

Anon (ndc) Black Gold:   sowing the seeds for change. maketradefair.com (www.maketradefair.com/en/index.php?file=blackgoldmovie_main.html&cat=5&subcat=1&select=1   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Anon (2007) Ethiopia: smell   the exploitation. Africa News 25 December

Anon (2008a) Trademarking:   grown in Ethiopia. Marketing Week April 24, p.16

Anon (2008b) Ethiopia: Black   Gold premiere.   Africa News 24 March

Anon (2010) Mayor will take   to stage at screening to receive town’s award. Todmorden News (UK) 4   March

Calhoun, D. (2007) Black   Gold: movie review. Time Out New York 6 June (www.timeout.com/film/newyork/reviews/83812/Black_Gold.html   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Chiari, G.P. (2007) Black   Gold forums: about the movie’s paternalistic approach. blackgoldmovie.com   8 December (http://blackgoldmovie.com/forum/index.php?action=vthread&forum=1&topic=279   last accessed 7 March 2011)

cofyknsult (2006) Black Gold   forums: the film completely overlooks key factors. blackgoldmovie.com   24 October (http://blackgoldmovie.com/forum/index.php?action=vthread&forum=1&topic=65   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Cycon, D. (2007) Javatrekker:   dispatches from the world of fair trade coffee. White River   Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing

Doane, M. (2010)   Relationship coffees. Structure and agency in the fair trade system. in Lyon,   S. and Moberg, M. (eds) Fair trade and social justice: global ethnographies. New   York: New York University Press

Fellner, K. (2008) Starbucks   vs Ethiopia.   Foreign Policy in Focus 15 September (www.fpif.org/articles/starbucks_v_ethiopia   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Francis, M. & Francis,   N. (nda) Black Gold: filmmaker Q&A. PBS Independent Lens (www.pbs.org/independentlens/blackgold/qa.html   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Francis, M. & Francis,   N. (ndb) Directors’ statement. blackgoldmovie.com (www.blackgoldmovie.com/directors.php   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Francis, M. & Francis,   N. (2006) Black Gold – Fair Trade, Sundance, and Starbucks’ ‘Charm Offensive’   in Park City.   Huffington Post 2 February (www.huffingtonpost.com/marc-and-nick-francis/black-gold-fair-trade-sun_b_15036.html   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Francis, M. & Francis,   N. (2007) Starbucks issue press statement about Black Gold: filmmakers   respond. blackgoldmovie.com   16 January (www.blackgoldmovie.com/blog.php/?p=43   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Hornaday, A. (2006) A spike   in supply chain muckraking: films explore economy’s social costs. Washington   Post 10 December

Marshall (2006) Black Gold   forums: guilt & ridicule. blackgoldmovie.com 25 November (http://blackgoldmovie.com/forum/index.php?action=vthread&forum=1&topic=85   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Murray, N. (2006) Review of   Black Gold. The   Onion A.V. Club 5 October (www.avclub.com/articles/black-gold,3766/   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Parkinson, D. (2007) Review   of Black Gold. Empire (www.empireonline.com/reviews/ReviewComplete.asp?FID=135039   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Reed, N. (2008) Wal-mart   executives discuss future of ‘Black Gold’ at U. Arkansas. University Wire   (USA) 7 April

Scheck, F. (2006) Review of   Black Gold. Hollywood   Reporter 11 October

Seager, A (2007) Starbucks   stirred by fair trade film. The Guardian (UK) 29 January (www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/jan/29/development.filmnews   last accessed 7 March 2011)

Starbucks (2007) Starbucks   statement on Black Gold film. Business and Human Rights Resource Centre [download]

Tsui, C. (2007a) Film raises   hackles in the coffee shops of power. South China Morning Post 3 April, p.4

Tsui, C. (2007b) Using the   plot.   South China Morning Post 26 March, p.5

Source: From Tesfaye, B.   & Potter, J. (2011) Black gold: wake up and smell the coffee. followthethings.com   (www.followthethings.com/blackgold.shtml last accessed 6/4/13)

Links to other resources Oromia Coffee Union: Farmers cooperative union website (www.oromiacoffeeunion.org/ under   construction 12 March 2011)

New Internationalist shop: Oromia Coffee Union products (www.newint.com.au/mobile/shop/oromia-coffee-union-p68.htm   last accessed 12 March 2011)

‘Black Gold’   pages on Oxfam’s ‘Make trade fair’ campaign website (www.maketradefair.com/en/index.php?file=blackgoldmovie_main.html&cat=5&subcat=1&select=1   last accessed 12 March 2011)

‘Black Gold’   Movie website (www.blackgoldmovie.com/ last   accessed 12 March 2011)

‘Black Gold’   YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/blackgoldmoviedotcom   last accessed 12 March 2011)

‘Black Gold’   pages on US PBS TV ‘Independent lens’ series website (www.pbs.org/independentlens/blackgold/index.html   last accessed 12 March 2011)

Starbucks’   ‘Corporate social responsibility’ webpage (http://gr.starbucks.com/en-US/_Social+Responsibility/   last accessed 12 March 2011)

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

Seeds of freedom

 

Title Seeds of Freedom
Director(s)  
Date released (year) 2012
Production company The Gaia   Foundation and the African Biodiversity Network. In collaboration with GRAIN,   Navdanya International and MELCA Ethiopia .
Length 30mins
Location  
Keywords/tags Agriculture, food, food security, poverty
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZvgaMd6GBgQ
Synopsis The story of   seed has become one of loss, control, dependence and debt. It’s been written   by those who want to make vast profit from our food system, no matter what   the true cost. It’s time to change the story. Narrated by Jeremy Irons.

Seeds of Freedom charts the story of seed from its roots at the heart of   traditional, diversity rich farming systems across the world, to being   transformed into a powerful commodity, used to monopolise the global food   system.The film highlights the extent to which the industrial agricultural   system, and genetically modified (GM) seeds in particular, has impacted on   the enormous agro -biodiversity evolved by farmers and communities around the   world, since the beginning of agriculture.

Seeds of Freedom seeks to challenge the mantra that large-scale, industrial   agriculture is the only means by which we can feed the world, promoted by the   pro-GM lobby. In tracking the story of seed it becomes clear how corporate   agenda has driven the take over of seed in order to make vast profit and   control of the food global system.

Through interviews with leading international experts such as Dr Vandana Shiva   and Henk Hobbelink, and through the voices of a number of African farmers,   the film highlights how the loss of indigenous seed goes hand in hand with   loss of biodiversity and related knowledge; the loss of cultural traditions   and practices; the loss of livelihoods; and the loss of food sovereignty. The   pressure is growing to replace the diverse, nutritional, locally adapted and   resilient seed crops which have been bred by small-scale farmers for   millenia, by monocultures of GM seed.

Alongside speakers from indigenous farming communities, the film features   global experts and activists Dr Vandana Shiva of Navdanya, Henk Hobbelink of   GRAIN, Zac Goldsmith MP (UK Conservative party), Canadian farmer Percy   Schmeiser, Kumi Naidoo of Greenpeace International, Gathuru Mburu of the   African Biodiversity Network, Liz Hosken of The Gaia Foundation and Caroline   Lucas MP (UK Green party).

Reviews/discussion The Gaia Foundation (Gaia) has over 25 years experience working with   partners in Africa, South America, Asia and Europe to regenerate cultural and   biological diversity. In collaboration with partners on the ground,   particularly through the African Biodiversity Network, The Gaia Foundation   works with communities who are committed to regaining their seed, water and   food sovereignty. Together, Gaia and partners have pioneered the Climate, Seed & Knowledge (CSK) programme,   which supports the revival of indigenous seed diversity and related knowledge   through tools such as eco-cultural calendars. These were developed through   Gaia’s work in the Amazon in the 90’s with Gaia Amazonas. In the 90’s, when   the first GM crop was shipped from USA to Europe, without any public debate,   Gaia helped to initiate a broad-based coalition of civil society groups in   the UK calling for a moratorium on genetic engineering (GE) in food and   agriculture. This later became what is now known as the GM   Freeze campaign, the first of many to fight against GM across   Europe and beyond.

Visit   Website

The African Biodiversity Network

The   African Biodiversity Network (ABN) is a regional network of individuals and   organisations first conceived in 1996 in response to growing concerns over   threats to biodiversity in Africa. As the agendas of global agri-business   turned their attention to Africa, the need to develop strong African   positions, a united African voice and the legal instruments to oppose these   threats became increasingly important. This advocacy work is rooted in ABN’S   work to revive ecosystem and community resilience, by focusing on the   regeneration of indigenous knowledge and ecological agricultural practices.   The Climate, Seed & Knowledge (CSK) programme   emerged out of the work with communities, to recuperate their traditional   seed diversity and related knowledge. This is the foundation of climate   change resilience, and in turn food and seed sovereignty. ABN is one of the   founding partners of the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA),   which was initiated in 2009, bringing together a number of African regional   networks working on issues ranging from farming and agro-ecology, to   indigenous peoples’ rights and related advocacy.

Visit Website

Source: http://www.seedsoffreedom.info/

 

The African individuals and communities who feature in the film have   been working with partner organisations of the African Biodiversity Network   to revive their local seed varieties. In Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa in   particular, these communities are reclaiming their seed sovereignty. This   area of work, known as the Climate, Seed & Knowledge programme, has been   developed by the ABN and Gaia with communities over the last decade. Find out   more: http://www.seedsoffreedom.info/our-projects/climate-seed-knowledge/

Dr Hans R Herren, President Biovision Foundation and Millennium   Institute

“Yet another important piece of   the puzzle that we needed to get the full picture of what a sustainable   agriculture, food and nutrition security reality looks like. It is time for   our decision makers to protect the branch we are sitting on, them included,   and so they need to return the rights to the seeds to their legal owners, the   farmers”

Vandana Shiva, Founding Director, Navdanya, India

“Seeds of Freedom is a powerful film with an important message. There   is a new wave of cultural imperialism taking place right now in the field of   biodiversity and seed. We are losing our critical seed diversity to just a   handful of corporations in the western world. The genetic erosion taking   place here is tantamount to ecocide. The rate of farmer suicides because of   crop failure and debt is nothing short of genocide. We must decentralise our   food system.”

Henk Hobbelink, Co-ordinator, GRAIN

“It   is time for people to realise that diversity means survival. Diversity is   what gives us resilience, and resilience is exactly what we are going to need   as the climate changes alongside social, political and economic landscapes.   It’s very important for people to realise that we simply won’t be able to   produce the food that we need if we allow our natural biodiversity to be   further eroded. Watch Seeds of Freedom and then do something about it. It’s   time for us all to stop partaking in this aggressive food system and to   demand something different.”

Kumi Naidoo

“There’s a popular myth that Africa needs and wants GM, which needs   to be dispelled. Quite categorically, they don’t – farmers from the continent   have been successfully saving and selecting seeds for thousands of years.   Films like Seeds of Freedom are vital in highlighting the voices of these   people, a people who recognise the importance of maintaining seed ownership   and diversity for reasons of culture, climate resilience and food   sovereignty.”

Source: http://www.seedsoffreedom.info/about-the-film/endorsements/

Links to other resources United Nations University, Are transgenic crops safe? GM agriculture in Africa, at: http://unu.edu/publications/articles/are-transgenic-crops-safe-gm-agriculture-in-africa.html

 

Jennifer G. Cooke, Richard   Downie (2010) Assessing the Debate in Zambia, Kenya, and South   Africa: http://csis.org/publication/african-perspectives-genetically-modified-crops

 

GMO Watch: http://www.gmo-watch.com/

From the Mara Soil – a Film About Simple and Natural Solutions to Poverty, Hunger and Disease

 

Title From the Mara Soil – a Film About Simple and Natural Solutions to   Poverty, Hunger and Disease
Director(s) Steve Schrenzel
Date   released (year) 2011
Production   company Global   Resource Alliance
Length 39.33
Location Tanzania
Keywords/tags Global hunger,   natural resources
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AaYsZYz3VI
Synopsis What if global hunger, poverty and disease could be solved with resources   already at our disposal? From the Mara Soil transports you to a community in   rural Tanzania that is doing just that – solving humanity’s greatest   challenges with simple, natural and affordable solutions.

A small plot of sandy, dry land is being transformed into a nutrient-rich   food forest. Women are escaping the hazards of daily life by capturing the   energy of the sun. The community is discovering cures to deadly disease in   local plants and natural medicine. A local non-profit is tapping into clean,   pure water just below the bedrock….

This visually stunning film captures the daily pain and suffering caused by   poverty in Tanzania, and the creativity and courage of the Mara community in   finding practical solutions to their own problems.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5AaYsZYz3VI

Reviews/discussion Hilton Worldwide LightStay Sustainability Award &   Fund, 2012   Hilton Worldwide and Sundance Institute
Best Short Documentary Film, 2012 Peace on Earth Film Festival   Chicago, IL
Best Sustainable Practices Film, 2011 Green Screen Environmental Film   Festival Santa Monica, CA

GRA is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) organization   dedicated to bringing hope, joy and abundance in the Mara Region of Tanzania.   By sharing ideas, volunteers and financial resources with local, community   based organizations we seek to promote natural, holistic and sustainable   solutions to the challenges of poverty, malnutrition and disease. The   inspiration and leadership for our work comes from the communities we serve.   We believe that empowering local communities to address pressing social,   economic and environmental challenges according to their own vision and their   own creative potential is the key to lasting solutions.

Source: http://www.globalresourcealliance.org/

 

Links to   other resources Dryland Permaculture with Bill   Mollison: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JmdCIqNG5BI

See Hope in a Changing Climate: http://www.open.edu/openlearn/whats-on/ou-on-the-bbc-hope-changing-climate

http://permacultureglobal.com

http://permaculturevisions.com

Activists Challenge African ‘Land Grab’

 

Title Activists Challenge African ‘Land Grab’
Director(s)  
Date released (year) 2012

 

Production company TheRealNews
Length 5 mins
Location  
Keywords/tags Land grabs, activism, social   movements, neoliberalism, neocolonialism
Link to film http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-2bflkLT38
Synopsis The World   Bank and Wall Street firms targeted for African land deals displacing   hundreds of thousands.
Reviews/discussion From John   Vidal and Claire Provost,   www.guardian.co.uk,   Monday   23 April 2012:

Campaigners claim World Bank helps facilitate land grabs in Africa

Food shortages and   rural deprivation exacerbated by World Bank policy, says NGO ahead of land   and poverty conference

Forest clearing takes   place on a plot of land in Uganda that has fallen into the hands of a palm   tree plantation owner. Photograph: Jason Taylor/FOEI/ATI

The World   Bank is helping corporations and international investors snap up   cheap land in Africa   and developing countries worldwide at the expense of local communities,   environment and farm groups said in a statement released on Monday to   coincide with the bank’s annual land and poverty conference in Washington DC.

According to the groups, which include NGO Friends of the Earth   International (FOEI) and international peasants’ group La Via Campesina,   decades of World Bank policies have pushed African and other governments to   privatise land and focus on industrial farming. In addition, they say, the   bank is playing a “key role” in the global rush for farmland by   providing capital and guarantees to big multinational investors.

“The result has often been … people forced off land they have   traditionally farmed for generations, more rural poverty and greater risk of   food shortages”, said FOEI in a separate report launched   ahead of the World Bank conference.

The event, which promises to focus on “land governance in a rapidly   changing environment”, is billed as a forum to discuss “innovative   approaches” to land governance challenges including climate change, the   growing demand for key natural resources, and rapid urbanisation. But   campaigners say the conference mistakenly focuses on how to improve   large-scale land deals rather than on helping local communities to secure or   retain access to their land.

The FOEI report suggests land grabbing is intensifying and spreading,   especially in rural areas of Africa and Asia. “High levels of demand for   land have pushed up prices, bringing investment banks and speculators into   farming,” it says.

“The World Bank’s policies for land privatisation and concentration   have paved the way for corporations from Wall Street to Singapore to take   upwards of 80m hectares (197.6 acres) of land from rural communities across   the world in the past few years,” said the groups in a statement   accusing the bank of promoting “corporate-oriented rather than   people-centred” policies and laws.

In 2010, the World Bank spearheaded the development of new principles for   responsible agricultural investment to better ensure that land deals respect   local rights, livelihoods and resources; these guidelines have also been   criticised for legitimising, rather than challenging, the global rush for   land.

Allegations of land-grabbing have hit countries around the world and have   been accompanied by growing concern about whether large-scale land deals are   delivering promised income and employment for local people. This week, a   coalition of NGOs and research institutes is expected to release the latest   findings of the Land Matrix project, which has attempted to systematically   document recent land acquisitions.

Current estimates suggest that 80-230m hectares of land have been leased   or bought in recent years, largely to produce food, feed or fuel for the   international market.

World Bank money has been involved in many recent international land deals, says the FOEI   report. In Uganda, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the bank’s   private sector lending arm, contributed $10m for a project to clear 10,000   hectares of land for palm oil plantations on Bugala Island in Lake Victoria.

But FOEI research has shown that local people were prevented from   accessing water sources and grazing land, suggesting that – despite promises   of employment – many people have lost their means of livelihood.

Resistance to land grabs is growing: Harvard University has come under   intense pressure to ensure its investments do not contribute to land grabs in   Africa, while Iowa State University has withdrawn from a deal in Tanzania   that could have displaced an estimated 160,000 people. In South Sudan, the   government halted a land deal after local communities erupted in protest,   saying their lands had been secretly leased to an American company.

This month, farmers and land   rights activists from across Sierra Leone converged on the   country’s capital for a national assembly of communities   affected by large-scale land deals, where groups launched a new   civil-society watchdog to monitor agribusiness investments. The meeting   followed the first international farmers’ conference   to tackle land grabs, held in Selingue, southern Mali, in late 2011.

On Tuesday, food justice activists, environmental organisations, students   and Occupy Wall Street groups are set to gather in front of New York’s   Waldorf Astoria hotel to challenge the fourth annual Global AgInvesting (GAI)   conference, where institutional investors and fund managers are meeting to   discuss opportunities for agricultural investments overseas.

“Governments around the world need to stop land grabbing, not just   try to mitigate its worst impacts. Governments must abide by their human   rights obligations on land and drastically reduce demand for commodities such   as palm oil from the west,” said Kirtana Chandrasekaran, FOEI’s food   sovereignty co-ordinator.

David Kureeba, from the Ugandan national association of professional   environmentalists, said: “People’s rights to land [in Uganda] are being   demolished. Small-scale farming and forestry that protected unique wildlife,   heritage and food is being converted to palm oil wastelands that only profit   agribusinesses.”

Government officials, civil society, experts and the private sector will   gather at the World Bank conference, which ends on Thursday, to discuss   large-scale land aquisitions, land governance in the context of climate   change, and rapid urbanisation.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2012/apr/23/world-bank-land-grabs-africa

 

Future Agricultures Policy briefing, 2011: Land Grabbing in Africa (…)

 

Africa, a continent plagued by   chronic food insecurity, is now considered to be the future breadbasket of   the world, and is expected to help meet its rising food needs. In the process   of cashing in on the opportunities offered by cheap land and water,   large-scale investors are displacing land uses and land users in ways that could   aggravate the already severe challenges of rural poverty and hunger.

The rise of ‘land grabbing’ or   ‘responsibleagricultural investment’ in Africa is undoubtedly one of the   great challenges of our time for development in the continent. The deals   being made now are remaking the map of food production

and food distribution, in   Africa and globally. What happens over the next few years—acceleration or   reversal, regulation or laissez-faire, better governance or substantive   changes in agricultural policy—will determine to a great extent the future of   poverty and hunger in Africa.

 

Source: www.future-agricultures.org

 

Links to other resources 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