Wednesday, October 12, 2011

land grab

What is ‘land grab’. Think of what you can buy with 40 cents if you walk into a grocery store in the U.S., or Europe? Will you be able to buy a piece of candy with 40 cents? Probably not! But if you go to Africa, you can buy an acre of land for money as small as 40 cents for a 99 years lease.

According to Oxfam ‘Land grab’ refers to land acquisitions done in one or more of the following ways:

Violate human rights/women’s rights;
Flout the principle of free, prior, and informed consent of the affected land users, particularly indigenous peoples;
Ignore the impacts on social, economic, and gender relations, and on the environment;
Avoid transparent contracts with clear and binding commitments on employment and benefit sharing;
Shun democratic planning, independent oversight, and meaningful participation.

The corporations grabbing land and governments of Africa refer to land grab in a more humanized terminology; they inaccurately call it “land investment deals.” They claim the goal of such deals is to increase food production and to make involved poor nations food secure. The victims characterize land-grab as ‘neo-colonialism’, ‘modern day slavery’, ‘ethnic-cleansing’, ‘the second scramble for Africa’

In southern Ethiopian regional states, over four million are in need of emergency food aid, while rice and corn produced on lands they were evicted from is shipped overseas to feed India or Saudi Arabia.

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