Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hey Presto!

Statistics are the magic, and the manna, of the economist. They are less reliable than weather forecasts; the meteorologist has a better chance of forecasting rainfall than an economist of forecasting economic growth.Things get even more testy over the issue of Gross Domestic Product, that great calculator of a nation’s economic output. The proof, in this case, lies outside the pudding, rather than in it. Things get even more testy over the issue of Gross Domestic Product, that great calculator of a nation’s economic output. The proof, in this case, lies outside the pudding, rather than in it....

...A suitable illustration of this statistical gazing comes in the form of assessing Nigerian economic performance. For one, the recent rebasing of its performance seemed to take other countries in the region by surprise. Nigeria is now Africa’s largest economy. This hardly seemed to make sense, given that South Africa, with a GDP of $354 billion in 2013, was streets ahead. Nigeria’s statistician-general would have none of that. Figures showed a jump from 4.2 trillion naira to 80.2 trillian naira, the equivalent of $509 billion. Astonishingly, the economy had grown by 90 per cent, effortlessly surpassing their rivals....

...The problem, as ever, is that GDP is one of the greatest tricks in the economist’s manual. In itself, it says nothing. Roy H. Webb of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond offers a definition: “the market value of current, final, domestic production during a specific interval of time.” Already we have our first problem – value includes prices for goods and services actually paid in market transactions. Defense costs may not be available because market prices are not available. What is left out can prove as vital as what is included.

States, on paper, can appear rich yet still have a good portion of its citizens living on less than a dollar a day. The GDP measurement had its origins in concepts of sound and sober management – monitoring the economy the way a doctor monitor’s a patient’s health. That management, as with other systems of accounting, went awry. It has been said that John Maynard Keynes’s The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money was a true catalyst, given its emphasis on matters of national investment and product. The retiring Bureau of Economic Analysis chief Steven Landefeld has issued an appropriate warning: figures like GDP “are eminently useful in macroeconomic analysis if they are not regarded as a precision instrument.” The line between precision and lethality is a fine one...

... economic improvement should never be a race. It should be a matter of genuine growth and poverty alleviation. Economic growth serves as both warning and promise. As well as it might suggest that some things are going well, it gives little indication about distribution. GDP remains a trick.

Full article by Binoy Kampmark on the Dissident Voice website 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Reclaiming the unions

 The South African general election will take place on May 7. In 2009 the ANC won 65.9% support - just short of the two-thirds majority needed to change the constitution. The 76% turnout was seemingly relatively high, but not so good when you consider that around seven million adults (23% of those entitled to vote) did not register in the first place.

A campaign calling for no vote to the ANC, which was launched last week by over 100 former ANC stalwarts, of varying prominence. Amongst them is Ronnie Kasrils, for 20 years a member of both the ANC national executive and the South African Communist Party (SACP) central committee,  who was minister for the intelligence services for four years until 2008  and has now jumped ship, much to the chagrin of the SACP.

The campaign is entitled ‘Sidikiwe! Vukani! Vote no!’ - the first two words being translated as ‘We are fed up! Wake up!’ As for ‘Vote no!’, that has been interpreted as a call to abstain, to spoil your vote, or to vote for anyone but the ANC. This movement is typical of the widespread, but largely passive, disillusionment with the ruling party. Disgruntled residents in a small South African town booed President Jacob Zuma. Rally-goers reacted angrily at Zuma,  left early and pelted stones at cars. In March, the crowd booed him again at a friendly soccer match between South Africa and Brazil in Johannesburg. 

 It is absurd to claim that the current period of neoliberal privatisation and capitalist stabilisation represents a “national democratic revolution” that is the “most direct route to socialism” in South Africa as the SACP desperately argues.  “The ANC has had 20 years to prove itself,” says Kasrils, but has failed to do so. He makes the obvious equation of Marikana, where 34 miners were shot dead by police in August 2012, and Sharpeville, when 69 peaceful protestors were mowed down by the apartheid police in 1960.

the SACP ‘communist’-led National Union of Mineworkers defends its members who are scabbing against strikers led by the breakaway Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union in the platinum belt: “we urge the law enforcement agencies to crack down on the sponsors and the perpetrators of butchery”: ie, strikers, who have attacked NUM scabs.

 National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa), and its general secretary, Irvin Jim, voted unanimously to break from the ANC and not to support it in the general election, making it clear that  the ANC is an agent of the bourgeoisie and that the SACP has betrayed the working class. Although their own politics remain those of left reformists such as former Brasilian president Lula.

While, of course, it would be highly desirable for trade unions to be “socialist”, first and foremost,  we need a united union movement that includes all workers, irrespective of their political affiliation.

Adapted from a Weekly Worker article

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Activists Banned From Student Union Elections- Nigeria

Recently, the Obafemi Awolowo University management, through the Division of Students Affairs, sent a blacklist to the electoral commission and expressly ordered that those whose names are on the list must not be allowed to vote, be voted for, or act as agents in the forthcoming union elections. Five students are affected by this vicious list, and the only offence they have committed is their participation in the genuine struggles of students for unbanning of their union. For OAU administration, dissenting opinions over unlawful proscription is not allowed, and hence criminal. For us in the DSM, this blacklist is only a witch-hunt aimed at preventing student activists from holding union offices. It is also a calculated scheme to weaken the OAU students’ union and establish it under the direct manipulation of the university administration. We condemn this undemocratic, unlawful and vicious interference of OAU management in the internal affairs of a students’ union. We call for the conduct of elections in line with the provisions of the union constitution and decisions of the congress of students.

First, that OAU administration is establishing this disenfranchisement through a kangaroo indictment is unintellectual. In the opinion of the administration, indictment is not to make a formal accusation against someone, but to presume that the alleged is guilty before the charges are substantiated. This is the height of intellectual contradiction in an institution of learning, where regards for democratic laws and dissenting views should have been entrenched. However, we in the DSM are not surprised that the OAU management is wielding another instrument of jackboot absolutism to prevent questions and checks on its oppressive activities.

This was the same management that constructed a N500 million swimming pool when the university water supply system remains unclean and diseased, amid wide condemnation. Prevention of student activists, who have boldly condemned such impropriety of spending and policies, from holding union offices is meant to further sustain arbitrary and corrupt policies of the university administration. This will also ensure that the union itself is tied to the apron string of the university management, while the right to protest obnoxious policies of the university administration will be criminalized.

For us in the DSM, a union that cannot advance the interests of its members is irresponsible. And this is the reason why the affairs of such a union should be determined by members of the union, and not forced down its throat by a self-serving university authority. The OAU students’ union has a constitution which has articulated procedures for election, and a legislative organ which is the congress. Hence the right of members to vote or to be voted for is a subject for determination by the students, and not the university administration. If Nigerians do not condemn and resist this arbitrary imposition, then the OAU management – and other university managements – will see student unionism as a system of secondary school prefecture. This fact is observable in the current National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), whose leaders have turned into cronies and sycophants of corrupt politicians. While Ife student unionism still jealously guides the philosophy of students as an instrument against oppression and anti-people policies, the current effort of the university administration threatens the further existence of this tradition.

The DSM calls on peace-loving Nigerians, alumni of OAU and ex-students’ leaders to call the OAU administration to order and stop its excessive interference in the forthcoming students’ union elections. Witch-hunting students for taking dissenting opinion over an unlawful proscription of the union is inimical to intellectual growth and damaging to the future of Nigeria.

Adabale Olamide
General Secretary

From here with links

We Have The Vote But No One To Vote For - South Africa Elections

Elections should be a season of hope. Steve Biko declared that our fight was for an open society, a society where the colour of a person's skin will not be a point of reference or departure; a society in which each person has one vote.

We have the vote but the political parties do not represent the aspirations of the people. Millions of black people remain poor and oppressed. When we organise outside of the ANC we are violently repressed.

This election is not the season of hope. It is the season of deception, slander, gutter politics and lies. There are campaigns to encourage our people, and in particular young people to vote. We are being told every day that voting is the way to express our hopes and to build a better society. Politicians are leaving the comfort of their fortresses and frequenting our townships. They all say that they are disgusted that we are still living below the poverty line in squalid conditions, with no water and electricity. They all say that voting is the way to restore the dignity of our people.

Those who claim to be so disgusted with how the people are living include the same ones that have been stealing from the people. There is the Nkandla Chief who has made his own family rich while the rest of us remain poor. There is also Malema who dismantled a house of R4m to build a mansion of R16m.

Another feature of our politics is that it has become about messiahs. John Block tells us that walking with Zuma is like walking next to God. According to Andile Mngxitama Julius Malema has become Maolema. Helen Zille has been given the name Nobantu (people's person).

In the black consciousness movement we read a lot. Some of us started as teenagers. At a young age we read Frantz Fanon's warning about leaders that send the oppressed to their caves and tell them to leave politics to the professionals or the messiahs. We understood clearly that a radical politics is a democratic politics and that a democratic politics is a politics in which the oppressed control their own organisations and participate in all decision making.

The media also reduce us to spectators of politics rather than participants in politics. We are reduced to those who must clap hands and cheer for our 'leaders'. At times the noise is so high that you hardly hear your leader.

We are in the struggle to kill the idea that one kind of person is superior to another kind of person. We want to abolish racism. But we also want to abolish the idea that politics is about choosing between Zuma, Zille and Malema.

The formation of the Black Consciousness Movement in this country was a realisation by black people that we could no longer stand and be spectators of the game we are supposed to be playing. This election season continues to demonstrate the relevance of Biko's teachings. We are expected to cheer the politicians as they play the game. We are expected to cheer the BEE millionaires as they play the game. If we want to play the game ourselves we end up like Andries Tatane, the Marikana martyrs or Nkululeko Gwala and Nqobile Nzuza.

Today our generation has to encourage people not to accept the hardships that they are facing. We have to find a way, even in the environments we are forced to live in, to have hope for ourselves and our country and to organise to confront oppression. That is what black consciousness is all about. It is not about supporting one corrupt messiah against another corrupt one. It is about taking a side with the people.

After the murders of Tatane, the Marikana miners, Gwala and Nzuza it is immoral to vote for Zuma. After Nkandla it is immoral to vote for Zuma. After Blikkiesdorp and Hangberg it is immoral to vote for Zille. After Malema forced his way into the leadership of the ANC Youth League and he and his friends plundered the organisation, as well as Limpopo government and the National Youth Development Agency it is immoral to vote for him too. Zuma must go on trial for Marikana and Nkandla. Zille must go on trial for Hangberg. Malema must go on trial for his plunder and unpaid taxes.

But corruption and repression are not our only problems. There is no doubt that the ANC is rotten but it is a grave mistake to divorce corruption from the rotten form of crony capitalism that we have in South Africa. Both the ANC and the DA are proponents of the kind of capitalism that always makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. They are both proponents of the Youth Wage Subsidy which is a false solution to unemployment. We need a subsidy for the people, not for capital.

The EFF say that they will nationalise the mines and run them for the people. But no one in their right mind can trust Malema to run the mines for the people.

We have to ask ourselves why it is that we now have the vote but there is no one to vote for. Maybe the reason is that the political parties are all funded by elites and so they all work for elites. We need to change the system in which the parties are funded. All parties should receive the same funding from the state and there should be no secret and private funding.

Elections should be an opportunity for the people to choose their representatives from amongst themselves. What we have today is a system whereby we can only choose which group of rich people, working for the big capitalists, we want to rule us.

From here

Monday, April 14, 2014

Accumulation By Dispossession - BRICS and AFRICA

The centuries-old looting of Africa, followed by the conference in Berlin that from 1885 began the ‘Scramble for Africa’, is being repeated now in a predatory attack by BRICS countries on the continent’s resources. Large corporations from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa are not committed to development for ordinary people – whether in the homeland or the victim countries. As BRICS penetrate further into Africa, the winners consist of multinational and parastatal corporations, including some based in the industrialised countries – e.g. the Walmart retail empire – which purchase semi-processed inputs or finished goods from BRICS, along with local elites who lubricate the looting through corruption, cost overruns, and access to our cheapest electricity supplies.

Many African countries, if not all, are located at the extreme end of what Immanuel Wallerstein thirty years ago termed the core-periphery relationship, a position which impoverishes them to the advantage of rich and industrialised countries in the core. BRICS countries represent sub-imperialists trying to improve their relative location in the world system, perhaps moving toward imperialist power and thereafter even to imperialist superpower status, as the USSR once enjoyed. These countries have different levels of economic development and political influence, vested interests in the African continent and the DRC in particular, and geopolitical positions in world politics.

But they all share four characteristics. First, BRICS countries present important opportunities for foreign direct investment (FDI) which, drawn towards mega developments like the Congo River Inga Hydropower Project or towards minerals and petroleum extraction, impoverish the same people that they should empower. Impoverishment occurs through dispossession of natural resources with little or no compensation, unequal shares of the costs and benefits of mega development projects, repayments of debts incurred to build these projects, and structural exclusion from accessing the outcomes of these initiatives.

Second, BRICS countries share the same modus operandi at their different stages of imperialism, either as countries which have been active in Africa for a very long time (Russia and China); newly arrived (India); or playing their traditional sub-imperialist countries (Brazil and South Africa). The pattern is similar: accumulation by dispossession is taking place through abuse of local politics, national elites, warlords, and war economies, as in the eastern side of the DRC, where between BRICS and the West as consumers of the resulting mineral outflows, six million or more deaths have been the result.

Third, BRICS countries share the same interests in natural resources including but not limited to mining, gas, oil and mega-dam projects for water and for electricity to meet their increasing demands for cheap and abundant electricity. They are also actively involved in the search for new markets, and hence they promote construction of roads, railways, bridges, ports and other infrastructure. But this infrastructure is often indistinguishable from colonial-era projects, meant to more quickly extract primary products for the world market.

Fourth, BRICS countries have poor records of environmental regulation. There is virtually no commitment to mitigate climate change and invest in truly renewable energy, to take environmental impact assessments seriously, and to consult with and compensate adversely affected communities.

There is desperation in the air as a result of the following: three BRICS countries having crashed in 2013 (South Africa, Brazil and India) to join the ‘fragile five’ (Brazil, India, Indonesia, South Africa and Turkey); Russia crashing in March 2014 thanks to the implications of its Ukranian political and Crimean land grab, following China’s surprising trade deficit in February 2014 as many of its major industrial companies lowered their production. The prices of important commodities such as copper and iron are falling, as a result. The BRICS appear to need new market niches for trade, along with cheap energy through oil, coal and hydroelectricity, which can assist in lower-cost extraction and transportation. But each BRICS country is different.


For details of each BRICS' countries dealings in Africa GO HERE



Uganda and Israeli Racism

 A century ago, Theodor Herzl - the father of modern political Zionism - proposed Uganda as a temporary refuge for persecuted Jews. Uganda is now on the receiving end of other persecuted peoples, this time African refugees who have sought asylum in Israel only to be imprisoned in detention facilities and then returned to the Africa.

 The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported in a February 2014 article titled "Israel secretly flying asylum seekers to Uganda", harsh conditions in the detention centres plus nominal financial compensation have facilitated the deportation of many migrants under the guise of "voluntary departure". Uganda's denial of the existence of any deportation agreement with Israel renders accountability for human life even less of an option

The Israeli director of the Hotline for Refugees and Migrants on this non-solution to refugee plight: "It is known that Uganda deports asylum seekers to their countries of origin." The organisation also said that " 'voluntary departure' is the result of heavy and illegal psychological pressure on detained, isolated and desperate asylum seekers, which more than once has included threats and lies....the position of the UN High Commissioner on Refugees is that people cannot be considered to be acting of their own free will if the choice they have is between detention and being sent back to their country".

One  reason for the disingenuous rendering of a "voluntary" exodus of refugees is, of course, to prevent an already precarious demographic balance in Israel from tipping in favour of non-Jewish non-whites. There has been political incitement to anti-African violence and the forcible injection of Ethiopian women with contraceptives.  The Israeli regime insists on referring to African asylum seekers as "infiltrators", which connotes criminality and facilitates the illusion of a steady stream of enemies that must be combated. Between November 2012 and May 2013 the Jewish state had approved only one asylum application from a population of approximately 60,000 non-Jewish African asylum seekers in Israel. The applicant happened to be an albino.

"When Israel rounds up and deports African refugees, it makes a mockery of the millions of Jews who died during World War II because no one would grant them shelter,"  Israeli-Canadian journalist David Sheen noted.

Apparently so indistinguishable from one another in their blackness that they can be repatriated to any old place in Africa.

 What does Uganda stand to gain from participating in outsourced inhumanity? A 2013 Vice magazine report details the perks of the arrangement: Weapons discounts and military training for African countries willing to take on Israel's dirty work.  Uganda's interest in Israeli weapons is perhaps less than surprising given the behaviour of its own army and security forces, often characterised by torture and other human rights violations. In 2003, Haaretz ran a story on Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's visit to Israel for the purpose of "arms shopping", an excursion that was said to have been "arranged by an arms merchant, Amos Golan of the Silver Shadow company, who represents IAI [Israel Aircraft Industries] and other Israeli defence industries in Uganda".

 A Vice magazine article notes that, as of September of last year, approximately 40,000 of the African "infiltrators" were from Eritrea, "a country with one of the worst human rights records on Earth". The author goes on to comment, with well-directed sarcasm, that "these people aren't coming to Israel because they fancy upping their matzah intake or living on Palestinian land illegally; they're genuinely trying to escape persecution and find a way to survive".

From Al Jazeera

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Doing Business" - World Bank Rules

The World Bank measures the "ease of doing business" in different countries and produces a ranking list. Many foreign investors, lenders, and aid donors decide where to deploy their money according to this league table. So if developing countries are to attract foreign investment, they follow the bank's dictates. That creates a "race to the bottom," with countries competing to out-deregulate one another.

Liberia, for instance, implemented 39 recommended reforms between 2008 and 2011, including a reduction in corporate taxes and relaxed rules on environmental impact assessments. Within this period, foreign direct investment increased four-fold. But what the World Bank considers good for business is disastrous for the developing world's residents.

Again, consider Liberia. Following the reforms, British, Malaysian, and Indonesian palm-oil giants secured long-term land leases, which, according to Friends of Earth International, have reached over 1.5 million acres of land formerly held by local communities. Should the World Bank really help foreign investors seize locals' resources - and build plantations instead?

Thanks to reforms guided by the Bank, Sierra Leone has taken 20 percent  of its arable land from rural populations and leased it to foreign sugar cane and oil palm producers. Across the world, land is turning from an ancestral asset with cultural significance into a commodity available to those with the most money and lawyers. The terms of many of these leases - which can run as low as $1 a hectare for 99 years - amount to contractual robbery.

The World Bank last year actually praised land grabs by foreign companies, saying in a report, "while a smallholder model has a proven track record in promoting equitable development, in some situations access to significant tracts of land must accompany agribusiness investments." So property rights matter - as long as they're exercised by corporate interests.

 Land deals struck with foreigners have disastrous consequences. According to the International Land Coalition some large land deals between 2000 and 2010 amounted to 203 million hectares (500 million acres). This number is expected to be much higher by now. That's a problem, given that family farmers account for 80 percent of all land holdings in Africa and Asia and provide about 80 percent of the developing world's food. If they become dispossessed because their governments are trying to curry favour with the World Bank, they may lose their livelihoods and their ability to provide food for the globe.

The rich are buying up Africa the banks will insist on mono-culture to be the most profitable (Enter Monsanto). Capitalism operating. Arabs will have land to farm and cheap labour to do it, heaven forbid the oil sheiks pick up a hoe themselves. The Chinese are moving in and the Dutch have been growing flowers in Africa for ages. The poor are simply getting poorer and the IMF and the World Bank make sure it happens. Profits instead of people is their motto .

With support from rich countries and NGOs like the Gates Foundation, the Bank is introducing a new programme called "Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture" (BBA). The BBA's goal is to promote "the emergence of a stronger commercial agriculture sector". Its rankings will prize deregulation of agriculture.

For small-scale farmers, such an "emergence" is tantamount to more foreign land grabs.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

African dawn?

For centuries, colonial merchants tussled for access to Africa's raw materials, and huge swathes of Africa's geography became synonymous with the main commodity they exported: Gold Coast, Ivory Coast, the Spice Island of Zanzibar.

Management consultancy McKinsey estimates that African consumer spending will be $1.4 trillion by 2020 and forecasts a more than doubling of the working age population to 1.1 billion people by 2040.

 The continent's booming economic growth and swelling population gives capitalists an opportunity to shift away from the traditional raw material export model towards consuming and transforming its own commodities and selling them to its own expanding local markets.

Hasnen Varawalla, managing director of Investment Banking at Barclays Capital, said "This is not about taking resources out of Africa to the rest of the world, they are seeing the opportunities within the continent and developing them."

Poor land infrastructure is a factor limiting the internal trade in commodities across the continent. A U.N. study last year found that intra-Africa trade represents just 11 percent of the total, compared with around 70 percent within Europe, partly due to insufficient infrastructure.

Another important factor limiting their ability to process locally is power supply, as many African countries struggle to increase generation capacity in pace with demand.  Currently power prices meant production costs were more expensive than China and that this would limit Africa's potential to process raw materials locally.

"For the continent to really make that huge step forward and step up in terms of development, electricity supply is one or two of the basic infrastructure that needs to be in place."  said Mzilane Mthenjane, executive head of strategy and corporate affairs at South Africa-based mining company Exxaro.

Nigeria's False Boom

 One in five people in sub-Saharan Africa is Nigerian. Come 2050, Nigerians, will be far outnumbering Americans.

Nigeria has declared itself the biggest economy in Africa. Overnight, with the wave of a statistical wand, it has added 89% to its GDP, now worth $510 billion, and soared past the previous leader, South Africa, worth $370 billion. Nothing has changed in Nigeria’s real economy, except the way it is measured. The GDP revision is not mere trickery. It provides a truer picture of Nigeria’s size by giving due weight to the bits of the economy, such as telecoms, banking and the Nollywood film industry, that have been growing fast in recent years. Other countries perform similar statistical magic—Ghana, for example, added 60% to its economy in 2010—though few wait two decades, as Nigeria inexcusably did, to update the national accounts. In Nigeria’s case, the new numbers confirm that it really is the colossus of the continent.

 It is rich in resources, especially oil. It has aspirations to be the tech hub of Africa, boasting startups such as Konga and Jumia, budding Nigerian Alibabas. In other industries it has giants such as Dangote Cement, which plans to list in London—as a big oil firm, Seplat, did this week—and is likely to become part of the portfolio of many pension funds. Growing numbers of foreigners wanting to invest in Africa’s rise will buy Nigerian stocks; after Johannesburg, Lagos has the biggest, most liquid market in the region.

The country may be a giant, but it is still poor: Nigeria ranks 153rd out of 187 countries in the UN’s Human Development Index. Despite the rapid growth of recent years, unemployment remains high and the number of people in poverty has actually increased. Even with the revised figures, GDP per head is only $2,700.  South Africans are more than twice as rich. Large parts of South Africa have a rich country’s infrastructure, Nigeria suffers from clogged traffic and chronic power cuts.

Nigeria’s growth rate is slipping—to perhaps 6.5% this year. To absorb the millions of young people pouring into the labour market, Nigeria requires sustained double-digit growth.  Tax-collection is woefully inadequate; the bigger GDP number shows tax revenues to be even smaller as a share of the economy than previously thought. Corruption and the barriers to doing business are formidable, from bureaucracy and graft to port delays and murky land rights.

From here 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Nigeria: Land, Farms and Outside Interests

Two articles regarding land acquisition in Nigeria. One on a very large scale, disenfranchising thousands of local inhabitants; the other small scale - a trial for greater involvement and supposedly as aid (USAID). Both are examples of why it is wise to 'follow the money' or look into the background of the donor if it is so-called aid. 
 
The first is in Edo State: 
Stop corporate land bazaar in Edo State, ERA/FoEN cautions

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has cautioned the Edo State Government from going ahead with plans to allocate 410,000 hectares of forest land belonging to community people to corporations without the consent of locals who depend on the lands for their livelihoods.

Companies that are to benefit from the land largesse include Okomu Oil Palm Plc (a member of the Socfin Group) which was previously allocated 30,000 hectares for oil palm expansion, the Dangote Group which is getting 50,000 hectares for rice production, and United Food Industries Ltd representing Indonesia's Salim Group, got 60,000 hectares.  The Salim Group has track record of conflicts with community people in their various areas of operations especially in Indonesia and some parts of Africa.

In a widely publicized interview, The Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abdul Oroh, disclosed that the state government had acquired 410,000 hectares of land in the state, for investments in agriculture by the private sector.

Oroh also revealed that 300,000 hectares had been set aside for other investors interested in farming activities.

With this development of an estimated 410,000 hectares, only 30,000 will be left for the over 170,000 local farmers in the communities who earn their livelihood from farmlands and forest resources. 



The second is from Ogun State and can be read here

 
The agricultural transformation policy of the Ogun State government will soon get a major boost as the state governor, Ibikunle Amosun launches a 10-hectare cassava pilot farm promoted by Caterina de’ Medici Africa Projects Ltd (CDMA) at Ikenne. 
The pilot farm, which will serve as a prelude to a bigger 4,000 hectares cassava farm to be supported by Thai Farms International Ltd and other investors, is supported by the USAID-Nigeria Expanded Trade and Transport Program (NEXTT) and several local banks. 
Foluke Michael, principal partner of CDMA, said the project will adopt modern farming methods, conduct training for local farmers, supply the farmers with agro-chemical to improve farm yield, and provide other extension services to all its partners. “The partnership with the state will also help to build public infrastructure changes in agricultural policy,” she said. 

The Ogun State government is supporting the programme with a total of 4,000 hectares of land, which it has allocated to CDMA, in the belief that the large population of smallholder farmers and entrepreneurs in the state will benefit directly from the programme. The governor is presently encouraging wide participation of farmers to ensure continuous engagement of youths in the host communities.
 Michael said the programme, tagged “CDMA-NEXTT Initiative (CNI),” will contribute to food security and poverty reduction in Nigeria. The project seeks to generate massive employment, especially of youth in the immediate community, creates wealth though investment facilitation and opportunity for export of farm produce. The initiative will also support regional trade and transportation objectives, by facilitating trade flows and complements agricultural productivity improvement efforts under the United States’ government’s food security initiative Feed-the-Future. 
The US initiative has three programme activities, which NEXTT is implementing on behalf of the USAID. These include improvement along the Lagos – Kano –J ibiya (LAKAJI) agro-investment corridor, and reform of government policy to aid investment and trade.


Stop corporate land bazaar in Edo State, ERA/FoEN cautions

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has cautioned the Edo State Government from going ahead with plans to allocate 410,000 hectares of forest land belonging to community people to corporations without the consent of locals who depend on the lands for their livelihoods.

Companies that are to benefit from the land largesse include Okomu Oil Palm Plc (a member of the Socfin Group) which was previously allocated 30,000 hectares for oil palm expansion, the Dangote Group which is getting 50,000 hectares for rice production, and United Food Industries Ltd representing Indonesia's Salim Group, got 60,000 hectares.  The Salim Group has track record of conflicts with community people in their various areas of operations especially in Indonesia and some parts of Africa.

In a widely publicized interview, The Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abdul Oroh, disclosed that the state government had acquired 410,000 hectares of land in the state, for investments in agriculture by the private sector.

Oroh also revealed that 300,000 hectares had been set aside for other investors interested in farming activities.

With this development of an estimated 410,000 hectares, only 30,000 will be left for the over 170,000 local farmers in the communities who earn their livelihood from farmlands and forest resources. - See more at: http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/23364#sthash.IFSpHyaG.dpuf
Stop corporate land bazaar in Edo State, ERA/FoEN cautions

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has cautioned the Edo State Government from going ahead with plans to allocate 410,000 hectares of forest land belonging to community people to corporations without the consent of locals who depend on the lands for their livelihoods.

Companies that are to benefit from the land largesse include Okomu Oil Palm Plc (a member of the Socfin Group) which was previously allocated 30,000 hectares for oil palm expansion, the Dangote Group which is getting 50,000 hectares for rice production, and United Food Industries Ltd representing Indonesia's Salim Group, got 60,000 hectares.  The Salim Group has track record of conflicts with community people in their various areas of operations especially in Indonesia and some parts of Africa.

In a widely publicized interview, The Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abdul Oroh, disclosed that the state government had acquired 410,000 hectares of land in the state, for investments in agriculture by the private sector.

Oroh also revealed that 300,000 hectares had been set aside for other investors interested in farming activities.

With this development of an estimated 410,000 hectares, only 30,000 will be left for the over 170,000 local farmers in the communities who earn their livelihood from farmlands and forest resources. - See more at: http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/23364#sthash.IFSpHyaG.dpuf
 
Stop corporate land bazaar in Edo State, ERA/FoEN cautions

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has cautioned the Edo State Government from going ahead with plans to allocate 410,000 hectares of forest land belonging to community people to corporations without the consent of locals who depend on the lands for their livelihoods.

Companies that are to benefit from the land largesse include Okomu Oil Palm Plc (a member of the Socfin Group) which was previously allocated 30,000 hectares for oil palm expansion, the Dangote Group which is getting 50,000 hectares for rice production, and United Food Industries Ltd representing Indonesia's Salim Group, got 60,000 hectares.  The Salim Group has track record of conflicts with community people in their various areas of operations especially in Indonesia and some parts of Africa.

In a widely publicized interview, The Edo State Commissioner for Agriculture, Abdul Oroh, disclosed that the state government had acquired 410,000 hectares of land in the state, for investments in agriculture by the private sector.

Oroh also revealed that 300,000 hectares had been set aside for other investors interested in farming activities.

With this development of an estimated 410,000 hectares, only 30,000 will be left for the over 170,000 local farmers in the communities who earn their livelihood from farmlands and forest resources. - See more at: http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/23364#sthash.IFSpHyaG.dpuf