Saturday, December 05, 2009

Land grabbing in Mali

Another story about the great African land grab , this time from Mali .

Mali has approved long-term leases for outside investors to help develop more than 160,000 hectares of land. The region, 300km northeast of Bamako, contains some of the most fertile rain-fed land in Mali.

Rice producer Siaka Daou is among those farmers concerned that they will be reduced to being day labourers for foreign-owned concerns.
"The way the government is parcelling out land from Office of Niger [region] is worrisome. This will stamp out small producers. We will no longer have land to cultivate and will be forced to work for industrial agriculture producers."

Mali's land code protects local land rights, but only as far as the land is used for "productive use". But "productive use" is not clearly defined and this may open the door to abuse .

"Most of the sample contracts are silent on the issue," said the FAO report.
For example concerning a Libyan-funded irrigation project, Mali's National Association of Farmers issued a communiqué demanding more information about the contract signed between Libya and Mali.
"The contract signed remains invisible...there are no guarantees in the contract that the [local] population would benefit from it," the association said

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