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Royal Agricultural University Publication IRD & SAFS 2016
IRD MATTERS Internaonal Rural Development Spring 2016
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International Rural Development Spring 2016

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The provision of a secure and accessible food supply is fundamental to human existence, and to the security of populations and countries. It remains one of the basic responsibilities of governments, but one which becomes ever more complex as populations expand and competition for land becomes ever more intense. Societies require more from a finite, indeed in some instances shrinking, amount of land available for food production. For those countries with many more mouths to feed and limited land will inevitably look to invest in the land of others. This can be of mutual benefit, bringing new technologies and employment to areas where such progress can bring rich rewards. But mishandled it can be lead to short term exploitation of natural resources, with little regard for the wider contribution that land and culture bring to societies. There is a real danger in all parts of the world that a focus simply on food production ignores the other essential ‘harvests’ that we get and need from our land. Such a focus is in many senses understandable; if you are unsure how you are going to feed your family, or in the case of government, your population, tomorrow, other longer term issues slip down the list of priorities. It can be difficult to make the argument that land should also be managed for its contribution to water supply and quality, for the maintenance of the environment and vulnerable ecosystems, for social wellbeing and increasingly, and for other resources such as energy. And if the motivation for land use is simply short term financial return, the argument can be even more strident But these issues need to be discussed openly; while their impact may be local, they have implications across the global food supply chain and in broader policies of governments. It requires international cooperation and a proper recognition, probably overtly financial, of the different contributions that our global society needs from land, whether that land is owned privately or collectively, locally or at a distance. Difficult issues, but solutions are essential.

Professor C J Gaskell CBE


The Royal Agricultural University


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Team Members Isabelle Bateman Kirstin Engel Chloe French Joao Junior Wael Leheta Emily Mason

Kara Minto-Simpson Tristan Morton Clark Pedzisai Nemadziba Akindele Ogunleye Michael Ololade Dale Webb

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Royal Agricultural University. Dr R. N. Baines, IRD & SAFS Tutor

04 Foreign Direct Investment Across the


05 Land Grab: The Debate

06 Land Grab in Zambia

07 Land Grab: A New Paradigm for


09 Land Grab in the Sinai Peninsula

10 Land Grab: A Defensive Strategy

12 The Hidden Water Grab

15 UK Housing Development: A Level Playing


16 UK Green Belt Development: A Personal


18 Roles of Biofuels in Land Grabs in

Developing Economies

20 Land Politics & Marginalisation

22 Land Grab: A Personal Perspective

25 Contract Farming as an Alternative


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Foreign Direct Investment Across the World

A ccording to The World Bank Data Bank the definition of foreign direct investment is

“the net inflow of investment to acquire a lasting management interest (10 percent or more of voting stock) in an enterprise operating in an economy other than that of the investor. It is the sum of equity capital, reinvestment of earnings, other long-term capital, and short term capital”1 FDI (foreign direct investment) is a major monetary source for developing economies, and even developed economies. For example, both The US and China are in the top global destinations for foreign direct investment. Within the frame of FDI there are two types of investment, Green Field Investment where an investor starts a new venture in a foreign country and will proceed to build new facilities from the ground up, a fresh start. In addition to creating new facilities, these ‘parent’ companies create long-term jobs in the new country, hiring locals into the business. On the other side of the coin there is what is called Brown Field Investment where a company or corporation, maybe even a governmental body might purchase a previously existing lease or existing buildings and production facilities. This is to begin new commercial activity or production. With either of these two types of FDI there are going to be pros and cons. FDI is always about a corporation investing time and money into a community with hopes of making a return on their investment. Unfortunately, fairly often brown field investment is

labelled as property acquisition or “land grab”. This unfortunate association leaves a sour taste in the publics mouth, and tarnishes the idea of FDI for future possible investments. Foreign Direct Investment, as stated previously, is a major monetary source for all economies, developing or not. In 2015 India overtook the United States and China as the most desirable destination for FDI1. As a burgeoning economy, with huge economic potential, it is clear to see why investors would be drawn towards India. India also has had huge economic success because they have had the opportunity to have had foreign direct investment.

There is a vast amount of evidence that suggests “FDI is responsive to improvement in the macroeconomic environment through economic and institutional reform”2 When there is institutional reform, there tends to be a better system for land acquisition and stronger governance, providing security for investors. Quinn found that capital inflows into a country vary hugely depending on the state of the country and its governmental development. For example, a new democracy is more likely to be in receipt of overseas development assistance (ODA) and loans from international financial institutions (IFIs) rather than any form of foreign

direct investment. More established democracies and even authoritarian governments are much more likely to be party to FDI.3 The reason is simple, because FDI is an investment and a business owner wants to see returns and require stability and predictability when making a business decision. FDI in other parts of the world has not proved so successful. For example, Africa is seeing a Second Scramble at the moment, with a lot of MNC’s and other governments looking to invest in Africa, but there are issues with land tenure and land use in Africa. After the 2008 World Food Crisis the Gulf States have been investing in mass farming for food export, aimed at providing their own homes with food security. Traditionally the land tenure and land rights on the African continent are not secure, making it easy for corporations to abuse power and seize land. Gyasi wrote that in Africa “constraints on development have been associated with lack of clarity about the land allocating associations, authorities and about boundaries; disputes; trespassing; inequitable tenancies; capitalist exploitation; lack of security for peasants” because land tenure is not official or clear, claiming land from small scale and subsistence farmers is, unfortunately, incredibly easy.1 FDI is typically driven by resources, and understandably, resource rich countries tend to be the biggest recipients of FDI. So why has Africa, a natural suitor for FDI not received much in the way of FDI? Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General explained it. “For many people in other parts of the world, the mention of Africa evokes images of civil unrest, war, poverty, disease and mounting social problems.”5 In 2006, FDI totalling US$200billion was accrued in only 10 newly emerging economies. These were, in descending order; China, Russia, Turkey, Mexico, Brazil, India, Romania, Egypt,

Kirstin Engel

Current RAU MSc Student, International Rural Development Nationality: South African

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Thailand and Chile. None of these top ten are in Sub-Saharan Africa. Why is this the case? This is because “doing business in Africa is a nightmare”5 The World Banks ‘Doing Business’ survey provides data about the ease of difficulty of conducting business around the world, and its information on Africa was all too bleak. China, however, has been investing, continually, in Africa. China has invested in a multitude of different sectors across Sub-Saharan Africa. There has been huge investment in the textiles industry in Lesotho, mines throughout Zambia, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo to name a tiny proportion of projects. China has also

spent years and years and plenty money of improving the infrastructure around their investments. Road building across Africa has been developed hugely by the Chinese in the past 15 years, and driving on incredibly well-tarred roads, you see plenty of signs that the project was undertaken by the Sino-African Cooperation Forum. FDI is a fantastic tool to help

developing economies perform

successfully. We need to see FDI,

using greenfield investment as a

development tool, not as unfair land

grab, marginalising local businesses

and farmers. When foreign direct

investment is implemented correctly,

the benefits are incredible.

Increasing FDI opportunities in

developing countries means we will

have better food security, better

levels of free and fair trade, stronger

governments and a more equitable

world all together.

Map showing the scale of international land acquisitions in Africa

T his is one of the topical debates that generate a different outlook among

people, states, and countries. This issue has been gaining momentum and dividing opinions as well as creating conflict in certain part of the globe. Land grab has no boundary and knows no territory simply because those involved in land acquisition seek opportunities wherever they find it. Although, there are challenges, the international communities need to understand the fundamental principles behind land grab. Likewise, corporate organisations seeking land to expand their business empires should not neglect their corporate responsibility. This is because their investment opportunities could develop a negative impact to the livelihood of the host region, state or country.1 Moreover, land acquisition

can either be beneficial or a hindrance to business opportunities. However, some organisations have teamed up with the host country by using their financial power to influence business gains. In fact, it is not only limited to business powers but developed countries have also been known to seek extension in their territory. As a result, this led to territorial war between two nations; an example is that of Russia /Ukraine whereby mother Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine due to ongoing conflict. A similar situation has happened in some developing African countries; however the United Nations has been able to arbitrate before it got out of hand; for instance the situation between Nigeria and Cameroun on Bakassi peninsula2. These two Nations have been struggling for decades and one can understand why with the importance of crude oil production in this area. Which will be beneficial to either country control if the land is ceded to either part. Nonetheless, a logical understanding is that it is possible that state involvement contributes to private enterprise’s interest in

seeking land either by buying, leasing or acquiring land by other means. Meaning, acquiring land could be subjected to the use of force or through legal means. This might be lawful but not ethical. Partnership with the respective governments allows the ease of access to land swiftly. On the contrary, multi-national companies and corporations need to consider the issues surrounding land grab carefully before pushing ahead in acquiring land. Their attention should focus on social, economic, and environmental factors that could impact food sovereignty, biodiversity, and the livelihood of the people living on the land they have acquired. They should also consider the sentiments and feelings around Neo-colonialism that may be present and the resentment of the people without their participatory involvement during land processing which could

Michael Ololade

Current RAU MSc Student, International Rural Development Nationality: British

Land Grab The Debate

1World Bank Data Bank http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BN.KLT.DINV.CD 2http://profit.ndtv.com/news/economy/article-india-pips-china-us-to-emerge-as-favourite-

foreign-investment-destination-report-1224530 3Ndikuma-na, L. (2003) Financial Markets and Economic Development. In: Nnadozie, E. (ed) African Economic Development. California: Academic Press, pp. 386 4Quinn, J. (2003) Democracy and Development. In: Nnadozie, E. (ed) African Economic Develop-ment. California: Academic Press, pp. 231-255 5Gyasi, E.A. (1994) “The Adaptability of African Communal Land Tenure to Economic Opportunity: The Example of Land Acquisition for


1Lester R. Brown. (2013). Food, Fuel, and the Global Land Grab.Available: http://www.wfs.org/futurist/january-february-2013-vol-47-no-1/food-fuel-and-global-land-grab. Last accessed 12th February 2016. 2United Nations. (2012). Nigeria, Cameroon Sign Agreement Ending Decades-Old Border Disute; Sets

Procedures For Nigerian Withdrawal From Bakassi Peninsula. Available: http://www.un.org/press/en/2006/afr1397.doc.htm. Last accessed 12th February


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I n Zambia it is mostly poor farmers that have considered land grabbing, it is almost a

custom activity as a normal way of relocation, but in truth this is the result of land grabbing being instituted by authorities. It is either the headmen or the chiefs selling land to foreign investors or local investors from the cities. The chiefs or headmen will ask their subjects to relocate to the suggested location to give space to any development instituted by the investor. The local government authorities are also frequently selling land being farmed by the local poor farmers to housing development projects and other infrastructure development. In recent years in Zambia we have experienced farmer displacements just to pave way for infrastructure development by both local and foreign investors. Farmers have experienced situations where they are regularly asked to relocate from their ancestral land. The land which is being acquired at the fastest rate is that land which exists along the line of rail and main roads the land, it is land that was farmed in in the early 80’s and 90’s. Today, as far as the eye can see is a land now full of construction forcing farmers to relocate and walk the long distances to main markets to sell their products. These cases are very common and happening all over the country where we have many Chinese and other investors buying land for these sorts of developmental facilities. Many Chinese have come to invest in livestock in particular poultry farming which sounds good but only that these investors target already occupied land by the natives.

The natives, whom are village farmers, are subjected to relocation to under developed areas far from the main roads and markets. In many cases these cause conflicts and we have seen on many occasions natives fight with authorities when refusing to relocate and not wanting to give up on the land they have cared for and worked on their entire lives. There are two most recent occasions that I can recall. In the Coperbelt region where residents land was grabbed by the chief and allocated to an investor who has since set up one of the largest cement manufacturing plants in the north west. Another case was when the government persuaded a chief to allocate land to an investor to set-up of a copper mining industry while relocating the farmers to other underdeveloped land. In both situations the land has since ceased to belong to the farmers neither do they get any land tribute from the investors. There is little in the form of compensation for the farmers, only low cost housing facilities and the offer of work mines that stole their land. This has meant a severe decline in the farming industry and as a direct result agricultural production has reduced causing increasing risks of hunger due to increased population while the land for

agricultural production is diminishing. Many hectares of previously agricultural farmed land have been subjected to what the government has been calling ‘land development’. The reality is that many small holder and subsistence farmers are losing their land and the country is losing agricultural output for the sake of the construction of housing and other forms of development - development that doesn’t seem to care for the local people. Evidence of this can be seen in thousands of places across the country. The photo I took while driving to my farm shows land that used to belong to a female farmer, who farmed the land for over 40 years. Now this land has been sold, worse still that land was sold by the government while she had crops growing intended for harvest. All of her hard work is now lost and the developer has seen fit to start building a wall, that will go through the crop destroying the last bit of evidence that she ever existed.

Land Grab in Zambia

Christopher Pannet Kapembwa

Tropical Agriculture Association Organizer for Zambia/ Southern Africa

Land about to be developed

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Land Grab A New Paradigm For Development

I n recent years, land acquisitions whether by purchase or lease have been

growing significantly. Increasing concerns about food supply from developed net food importer countries, a growing need for an alternative source of energy and instability of agricultural commodities prices in the international market1 coupled with private investment for potential high returns2 are pointed out as the main drivers for the acquisition of large areas of land in foreign countries1. In addition, the vulnerability of the world’s food and agricultural systems caused by climate change and economic integration are also driving recent increasing and unprecedented foreign direct investment in land3. The phenomenon of land grabbing although not new became more evident after the 2007-2008 food crises. According to the World Bank, globally nearly 47 million ha of

arable land were acquired between October 2008 and August 20094. From an average of 4.1 million ha annually, land deals grew to almost 57 million ha in 2009 only5. As an example, from 2002 to 2009 two big food importers, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates, purchased nearly 360 000 ha of land in Africa and Southeast Asia for production of mainly corn, wheat and oils in order to guarantee their long-term food supply2. Land grab is a term widely used today by the media to describe the acquisition of large areas of land by governments or multinational companies for crop production, forest or mining. According to Murphy3 “Land grabbing is the purchase or lease through the foreign direct investment of large areas of agricultural or forest land on terms that do not serve those already living on the land”3. In developing regions, much of the arable land is becoming scarcer as a result of degradation and urbanization4. However, much of the foreign direct investment on land is concentrated in the poorest and hungriest countries that are highly dependent on agriculture for food and income particularly for smallholder’s farmers in Africa, Central Southeast Asia, and Latin

America3. In Africa, it is estimated that nearly 40 million hectares of land were contracted in 20095. Although investment on large agricultural projects in developing economies through foreign direct investment may bring opportunities for development it also raises some concerns. For instance, in Africa, the lack of skills, poor infrastructure, reduced capital and technological expertise2 coupled with low public spending in agricultural sector5, many governments see land deals as an opportunity for increased employment, improved infrastructures, and access to agricultural technology2. This vision is shared by some international organizations, with IFC, World Bank, IFAD and IFPRI all arguing that poor countries could benefit from land deals by technology transfers for increase productivity, economies of scale, new production methods, and knowledge and skills exchange4. However, land deals impose great risks and challenges for many countries with weak land laws, poor institutional capacity and high levels of corruption3. Concerns around land grab in developing countries is related to the impact of large-scale

Joao Junior

Current RAU MSc Student, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security Nationality: Mozambican

Target countries

Size of the land

South Sudan 4,091,453 ha

Papua New* 3,733,653 ha

Indonesia 3,367,412 ha

Sudan 2,778,847 ha

DRC* 2,762,026 ha

Ukraine 2,385,459 ha

Mozambique 2,155,706 ha

Congo 2,148,000 ha

Brazil 2,137,974 ha

Russian Fed* 1,654,012 ha

Table: 1 Major target countries of land grab 8

Photo credits: Luca Manes

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agricultural projects on the livelihood of small farmers, long-term environmental sustainability and a potential increase in corruption5. Acquisition of vast land areas may result in local people losing access to the resources1 because the process of land grab is characterized by displacement and dispossession3 and, therefore, resulting in the marginalization of local communities. The most vulnerable groups to be affected by dispossession are small scale farmers without formal land tenure, women, indigenous people, pastoralists and fisher-folks (Fig.1) Another concern over land grab is the direct conflict with land reforms in many of the recipient’s countries mainly between the rural communities and commercial interests2. According to the IMF, secure properties rights,

transparency and legitimacy and a legal framework are vital for an inclusive and broad-based development. However, the increasing demand for land pushes rural areas into integration with market economies leading to pressure on land reform in order to protect the land rights of the most poor2. Furthermore, land grab threatens local food supply by shifting from domestic to foreign control over food resources and food producing land. Land grab threatens the possibility of achieving food self-sufficiency because most of the host countries are themselves net food importers or emergency food aid recipients. On the other hand, land grab increases the competition for land potentially leading to increases in land prices and, therefore,

affecting the food prices. As a result, of an increase in food prices, local communities may not be able to afford them even though it is grown in their own countries4. Finally, the global population is expected to increase by over 2 billion between 2009 and 2050 reaching a total of 9 billion. Most of the growth is predicted to take place in developing regions, sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia, which means increase the production of agricultural commodities6. As a result, more land will be needed to increase the production in order to supply the demand and the changing in diet requirements linked to the increase in the middle-classes. The land which is today being sold or leased may have a significant impact on food security of small farmers in the long term. To conclude, land grab is certainly increasing at an unprecedented and irreversible pace. The impact of this large-scale agricultural projects on both sides, the target countries, and the investor may not be clear, however, in order to take the most of it and benefit the most directly affected communities, governments and investors must consider the rights and long-term sustainability of the local communities and include them in the decision-making process. A legal framework and policies are needed to regulate and minimize the risk.

Map showing the scale of international land acquisitions in Africa

Fig 1. Potential impact of land grabbing on rural livelihoods7

Source: IMF

1Cotula, L., Vermeulen, S. Leonardo, R.2009. Land grab or development opportunity? International land deals in Africa Land grab or development opportunity? IFAD. 2Daniel, S.2011. Land grabbing: potential implication for world food security. Sustainable Development. In: M. Behnassi et al. (eds.). Sustainable Agricultural development 3Murphy, S.2013. Land Grab and Fragile Food Systems: The Role of Globalization. Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy 4Gester, C., Kaphengst, T., Knoblauch, D .2011. An assess-ment of the effects of land ownership and land grab on development, with a particular focus on small holdings and rural areas. 5Arezki, R., Deininger, K., Selod,H. 2012. Global Land Rush [Online] Available at: http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2012/03/arezki.htm [Accessed: 20 February 2016] 6FAO.2009. Global agriculture towards 2050. High level Expert Forum. Rome 7Davis, K. F., D’Odorico, P., Rulli, M.C. 2014. Land grabbing: a preliminary quantification of economic impacts on rural livelihoods 8LandMatrix (2016) Web of transnational deals [online] Available: at http://www.landmatrix.org/en/get-the-idea/web-transnational-deals/ [Accessed: 20 February 2016] 9Global Risks Insights. 2015. Is food security prompting a new race for Africa? Available at: http://globalriskinsights.com/2015/04/is-food-security-prompting-a-new-race-for-africa/ [Accessed 12.02.2016]


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Map showing the scale of international land acquisitions in Africa

T he Sinai Peninsula is one of the most divided places in all of Egypt. It's on the

border of Israel, Palestine and Jordan. Sinai has been home to its native Bedouin people for countless generations. They have quite serious grievances with the Egyptian government and have on several occasions become rebellious and violent about it. The Egyptian government has

further aggrieved the Bedouin population by outlawing land ownership in the Sinai Region. Only businesses may own land in the region which has incentivized large manufacturing complexes to buy land while completely neglecting the local people.

The Egyptian government maintains its position saying that it has only done this to maintain security on the Israeli border. This is for fear of weapons and extremist groups coming in and also to maintain Israeli security which is part of the agreement of the Camp David peace accord. Whether their actions have succeeded in achieving security or further exacerbated the situation

is debatable.

The Bedouin people regard themselves as self-governing and have showed little interest in cooperating with the Egyptian government. The Egyptian government has gone as far as building housing complexes for the Bedouins; but many of the Bedouin tribes have refused the government's help suspecting it as a way to coerce them out of their land.

Both parties lay claim to the land with legitimate concerns. Is this an instance of land grab and if so, who is the perpetrator?

Land Grab in the Sinai Peninsula

Wael Leheta

Current RAU MSc Student, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security Nationality: Egyptian

Photo credit: Global Risk7

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F oreign direct investment can take many shapes and forms; agriculture, mining, urban

development etc. One factor that stays the same however, is the fact that whoever owns the land prior to investment is likely to be stripped of all rights once big money business is involved with government decisions.

Without media attention the corporations with money are getting away with theft on a very grand scale, with very few people paying attention, and those that do are doing so without being able to connect the dots of organised opposition.

War can one of the major results of foreign direct investment, as people are displaced from their land they go to others and social unrest is the result - those that grab land have little regard for tribal boundaries.

Poverty creation is another effect of FDI, as people are displaced from rural areas more often than not they seek refuge in urban centres looking for work, food and shelter. Without the infrastructure to support such mass migration, slum creation on the edges of urban centres is often the result.

Slums themselves, as pointed out by the WHO are one of the greatest threats to human health, as such dense populations living without clean water are breeding ground for disease. Currently approx. 863 million people are living in slums compared with approx. 650 million in 19901.

What is needed is institutional help in the form of governments, NGO’s or charities. People with the right education who can combat investors using the legal language the investors understand. Cue ‘Socio Bosque’ and the forest preservation programme in Ecuador.

Ecuador is home to 9.5million hectares of native forest and is one of the world’s 17 megadiverse countries with less than 0.2% of the planet’s surface the country harbours:

18% of bird species

18% of orchids

10% of amphibians

8% of mammals4

Prior to the programme approximately 60,000 hectares of the forest were being lost every year, one of the world’s highest deforestation rates. The major drivers behind the deforestation are logging, colonization and agroindustry – namely banana, cocoa, coffee and African palm. Coastal habitats have also been largely destroyed with 70% of mangroves being cut down for the shrimp industry.6

The knock on effects of such environmental destruction is disastrous; not only are human actions creating what is thought to be one of the greatest species extinction events in history but also watershed degradation, desertification, flooding and as a result of the floods the spread of human disease.

Reducing deforestation in Ecuador has become a national priority and the National Development Plan (known as the

Land Grab

A Defensive Strategy

Tristan Morton Clark

Current RAU MSc Student, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security Nationality: British

Phosphate mining in Togo Photo credits: Alexandra Pugachevsky

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Plan for Good Living, 2009-2013) aims to reduce deforestation in Ecuador by 30% by 2013. To help achieve this goal, the Ministry of the Environment’s Socio Bosque Program (SBP) began in 2008 to help conserve natural forests by providing financial incentives to private and community forest owners to keep their forests standing.2

From the outset Socio Bosque’s design was guided by a number of principles: it should be fair and equitable, not prohibitive for participants, simple and transparent, and legally enforceable. It was clear that there was no perfect design for such a scheme and that trade-offs would need to be made between:

Speed versus thoroughness in the design process. Lengthy consultations and generating up-to-date data might have to be postponed in favour of getting started quickly.

Flexibility to adapt the rules to future situations versus legal fairness and rigour. Flexibility should not be at participants’ expense or leave the programme vulnerable to legal challenges.

Enforceability of the agreements versus the social acceptability of restrictive clauses and of potential sanctions in case of non-

compliance. These factors should be balanced such that outcomes are positive for all parties involved.

Environmental ‘additionality’ versus social equity. The goal of engaging the poorest forest landholders may mean that many areas are included that otherwise would not have been deforested or degraded during the term of the agreement.6

On the ground the programme works with local people by offering transfer of a direct monetary incentive per hectare to individual and communal landowners. The beneficiaries are required to protect and conserve the area as outlined by the contract. These requirements include the prohibition of: (1) logging, (2) changing the existing land-use, (3) burning, (4) activities which disturb the natural behaviour or threaten the territories capacity to harbour biodiversity, alter hydrological conditions or reduce carbon storage, and (5) commercial or sport hunting and fishing activities in the SBP area; as well as reporting to the Ministry of the Environment title transfers of the land benefiting from the incentive, preventing fires in areas under conservation and reporting changes to the vegetation cover within five days to the Ministry of the Environment and

other authorities.3

Though not a fool proof solution the programme has made some major contributions to reducing deforestation and to date approx. 3million ha of land are now under protection.6 Due to its transparent nature and attention to the fundamentals of sustainable development, the programme provides an excellent framework for others to build upon. To ensure sustainable development it is the feeling of this reporter that the economic benefits must follow behind both social and environmental benefits, financial reward is much more finite in nature than the social and environmental rewards.

1Who.int, (2016). WHO [online] Available at: http://www.who.int/gho/urban_health/en/ [Accessed 3 Feb. 2016]. Theredddesk.org (2011). 2Ecuador | The REDD Desk. [online] Available at: http://theredddesk.org/countries/ecuador [Accessed 4 Feb. 2016]. 3Raes, L. and Mohebalian, P. (2014). The Socio Bosque Program for rainforest and páramo conservation, Ecuador. 1st ed. [ebook] Available at: http://www.teebweb.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/The-Socio-Bosque-Programme-for-rainforest-and-Paramo-Conservation-Ecuador-.pdf [Accessed 8 Feb. 2016] 4SOCIO BOSQUE PROGRAM Ministry of the Environment Government of the Republic of Ecuador. (2012). 1st ed. [ebook] Ministerio del 5Ambiente, p.3,. Available at: https://www.cbd.int/doc/meetings/im/rwim-sa-01/other/rwim-sa-01-socio-bosque-en.pdf [Accessed 12 Feb. 2016] 6Climate and Development Knowledge Network (2016). INSIDE STORY: Ecuador's Socio Bosque Programme - Climate and Development Knowledge Network. [online] Available at: http://cdkn.org/resource/private-conservation-agreements-support-climate-action-ecuadors-socio-bosque-programme/ [Accessed 12 Feb2016]


Slums in Nairobi - Credit Website: Karl Mueller (link in references)

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W ater; Essential for life on earth and covering approximately 70% of it’s

surface. Water is an invaluable natural resource integral for agricultural production. Who owns the water? ‘Land grab’ is generally perceived as large scale land acquisitions, by foreign investors in a country that is not their own. This land is either purchased, or leased for the purpose of agricultural production, this is as defined by GRAIN in 20081. What is worrying is that a large portion of land grab is happening in developing countries where large quantities of the population are living in poverty on $1.90 a day or less2. People who cannot make enough money or food to feed themselves are having fertile agricultural land taken in order to support developed populations elsewhere.3 However, there is another side of the land grab story and that’s

‘water grab’, ‘Behind every land grab is a water grab3’ as quoted by GRAIN in 2012. Hidden behind the purchase and lease of land is the associated access to water that comes with it, water which itself is an invaluable resource. Developed countries, which are responsible for the land grab seek to grow crops that are as high yielding as possible and the highest yielding varieties of crops have large water demands.4 The easiest way to ensure that crops grown have the water requirement that they need is to irrigate them. This itself seems quite harmless, but how do foreign

investors irrigate their crops? The answer is either diverting portions of rivers and lakes to feed the crops or digging bore holes and accessing ground water, both of these options having associated problems for the already existing community. Depending on bore hole placement and how the diversion of naturally occurring water courses is done, depends on the effect that this use of water has on surrounding populations and even neighbouring countries. The unregulated use of water has the potential to demolish a countries water table at alarming rates that can never be considered as sustainable4. Another crucial factor associated with water grab is the fact that the foreign countries that are invested in the host country are far surpassing the water needs which are known to be required for a balance diet. This is evidence of how the affluent diets of the developed world are disrupting water distribution on a global scale (Figure 2). Unfortunately, the associated grabbing of water with land is not just a happy coincidence as some may believe. In 2008 Saudi Arabia announced that they would be cutting its domestic wheat output by 12.5%, with the sole purpose of

The Hidden Water Grab Kara Minto-Simpson

[email protected]

Current RAU MSc Student, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security Nationality: British

Figure 1: Showing the distribution of land (A) and water (B) across the continents. Rulli et al (2013)

Figure 2: http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/21622

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striving to save its fast diminishing water supplies. After this time Saudi Arabia began to subsidies traders to acquire land in Africa with aspiration to achieve its own food security by ensuring there would be enough wheat reserves to satisfy demand for a year6. If this is not obvious water grabbing I don’t know what is. Saudi Arabia is only one of many middle eastern countries that are acquiring land in other countries as a means of a food secure future and as a way of decreasing the water stress in their own countries of origin. How can a system which depletes one country of its natural resources to feed its population be sustainable? Are such

practices taking into the consideration ability of the host country to feed its own people? Surely this suggests that foreign countries are only looking to be sustainable on a level that suits themselves and not on a global scale. As it stands agricultural production puts huge demands on land and water wherever it takes place and there are critical issues already affecting current agricultural practices as it stands:

Soil nutrient losses

Changes in land ecology

Monoculture agricultural practices leading to soil degradation

Examples of how heavy irrigation has destroyed the landscape already exist, for example the Aral Sea, which used to be one of the largest lakes in the world but now is only a tiny portion of it remains due to the development of agricultural cultivation of wheat and cotton in semi arid climatic conditions.4

Water sources such as the Aral Sea are often shared by more than one country and the over use of water by one country can often have negative effects on the others that surround the same water source. Many more land deals are set to go ahead in different African countries over the coming years which have the potential to have huge implications of water availability.8

Mozambique – Limpopo River

Tanzania – Wami River

Kenya – Yala Swamp (Lake Victoria)

Ethiopia/Kenya – Omo River and Turkana Lake

Ethiopia – Nile River3 Furthermore, new changes in policy across the globe is pushing for increased production of crops that can be used to generate biofuel, no longer is the land and water grab just about food it is about energy too.

Source: http://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/201505/reviving.the.north.aral.sea.htm

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Biofuels have a large water demand in relation to their petroleum counterpart9 seen in Table 1, which uses data from Sandia National Laboratories to look at the usage of water for biofuel production from a unusual perspective. There is no denial that natural resources such as coal, oil and gas are running out and the use of them is not sustainable. Additionally, there is no denying that the current use of these fuel sources is having a negative impact on the global environment through pollution and the production of green house gases. However, the production of biofuel as an alternative and so called ‘sustainable’ alternative needs to take into consideration the water demand of the cultivation of such crops and the wider effect of that. Is

the cultivation of water hungry crops for biofuel truly sustainable with limited water resources? Are we solving a problem or are we just moving it to a different sector? And are we truly aware of the potential repercussions of our chosen course? Depleting natural fresh water sources will change the flow of water in ways that could possibly take millennia to reverse, that is time that the growing human population does not have. Salinity issues already exist and are occurring with greater frequency due to over exploitation of water resources causing detrimental impacts for agricultural production and rendering land infertile.10,11 Water grab is happening. Land grab is happening. Some may call it foreign direct investment but I argue that unless the systems developed

are truly sustainable and beneficial to an already inhabited country then it can not be called that name. Movement to exploit another natural resource in an unsustainable fashion will only provide a temporary fix. We know the problems associated with the use of fossil fuels and we are paying the price. We have seen the problems created through large monoculture agricultural systems, yet we still continue and we pay the price. We have begun to see the destruction of lakes due to water grabbing. How high will the price go? And will we be able to pay it when the time comes? And if not…then what?

Water Use by Mile for Various Fuels

Fuel Source Gallons of Water per Mile (Car) Gallons of Water per Mile (Truck)

Corn 283 444

Grain 0.17 0.28

Cellulosic Biofuel 0.26 0.42

Petroleum 0.04 0.07

Oil Shale 0.08 0.21

Table 1: Data from Sandia National Laboratories, U.S. Department of Energy and Energy Information Administration

1Graham, A., Aubry, S., Künnemann, R., Suárez, S.M. and Suárez-Fian, S.M. (2011) The role of the EU in land grabbing in Africa -CSO ‘ ad-vancing African agriculture ’ (AAA): The impact of Europe’s policies and practices on African agriculture and food security ‘ advancing Afri-can agriculture ’ (AAA): The impact of Europe’s policies and. Available at: http://www.iss.nl/fileadmin/ASSETS/iss/Documents/Conference_papers/LDPI/25_Alison_Graham__Sylvain_Aubry__Rolf_Kuennemann_and_Sofia_Monsalve_Suarez.pdf (Accessed: 1 March 2016). 2WorldBank (2011) Poverty.[Online] Available at: http://data.worldbank.org/topic/poverty (Accessed: 1 March 2016). 3Grain (2012) Squeezing Africa dry. Available at: https://www.globalpolicy.org/images/pdfs/grain-4516-squeezing-africa-dry-behind-every-land-grab-is-a-water-grab.pdf (Accessed: 1 March 2016). 3Rulli, M.C., Saviori, A. and Odorico, P. D’ (2013) ‘Global land and water grabbing’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110(3), pp. 892–897. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1213163110. 4World Bank. and Wallace, S. (2016) Charts: The top 5 land-grabbing countries. Available at: http://www.farmlandgrab.org/post/view/21622 (Accessed: 1 March 2016). 5BBC (2012) Analysis: Land grab or development opportunity?. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-17099348 (Accessed: 1 March 2016). 5Company, A.S. (2015) AramcoWorld: Reviving the north Aral sea. Available at: http://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/201505/reviving.the.north.aral.sea.htm (Accessed: 1 March 2016). 6Vidal, J. (2016) What does the Arab world do when its water runs out?. Available at: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/feb/20/arab-nations-water-running-out (Accessed: 1 March 2016). 7Biofuel (2010) Water and Biofuels. Available at: http://biofuel.org.uk/water.html (Accessed: 1 March 2016).] Franco, J., Kishimoto, S., Kay, S., Feodoroff, T. and Pracucci, G. (2014) The global water grab A primer Acknowledgements.[Online]. Availa-ble at: https://www.tni.org/files/download/the_global_water_grab.pdf (Accessed: 1 March 2016). 8Hoekstra, A.Y. and Mekonnen, M.M. (2012) ‘The water footprint of humanity’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 109(9), pp. 3232–3237. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1109936109.


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UK Housing Development A Level Playing Field?

J ake from South Worcestershire is trying to make his way in today’s world

at the ripe old age of 22. He worked hard at school and achieved reasonable results, but he was discouraged by the prospect of a £30,000 student debt. Jake opted to dismiss university and earn a living doing something he loved; fixing cars. Also living at home with her parents is Jessica; Jake’s fiancé and now a primary school teacher. Life at home is becoming soul-destroying and their lack of tolerance toward their parents is reciprocated. Jake and Jess happen to be one of 54% of newly forming households in this part of the world (which is by no means unique to the rest of the country) who cannot afford to buy or rent on the open market; one in two of the next generation who may never have the financial means to live independently and who could be forced to live at home their entire lives with their parents. There are other options. Part of what we do at Rooftop as a social landlord is to provide affordable

housing for people on low incomes and one of our key challenges is to consider where such housing should be built. The focus is often on towns where need is high and the possibility of selecting redundant and derelict sites is typically seen as a more palatable option to that of greenfield development; the ability to remediate and bring such brownfield sites back into use, which are often heavily contaminated, is a topic for another day.

So where does this fondness for urban gentrification leave Jack and Jessica? What choices do they have available to them other than migrating to their nearest town? One would hope that the local community might recognise their peril and support the concept of sustainable development in the form of new affordable housing. Frustratingly there is all too often an imbalance in favour of the singular perspective to that of the

common good. At a recent public consultation event for a scheme of less than 15 homes I was asked ‘We don’t need any new housing here, but if it happens, can we at least have a shop again’? When asked why the shop had closed the reason given was that all the young people had left the village as there were no suitable, affordable properties available to them. The temptation to drop the head into the hands was overwhelming. The social and economic sustainability of many of our villages is failing and whilst Jack and Jessica are fictitious, their predicament is representative of real-life stories we encounter everyday at Rooftop. Resentment toward large scale residential development in rural areas may, on occasion, be credible. However, it is objectionable to deny those the opportunity to live in their own home through unwarranted aversion to sustainable development that is arguably for the benefit of the community as a whole. “No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.” – Adam Smith

Craig MacDonald MRICS

MRTPI is a Planning and

Development Surveyor for

Rooftop Housing Group in

Evesham, South


The term ‘low income’

still conjures up

perceptions of low-skilled

factory jobs despite

decades of unsustainable

house price inflation that

has led to those in skilled

employment increasingly

becoming in need of

affordable housing.

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UK Green Belt Development A Personal Landowner Account

A high demand of housing is needed across the whole of England, with emphasis on

certain areas around major cities. Areas within the midlands have been particularly affected as councils develop on brown site land and remove green belt land to link up towns, making facilities more accessible to communities, however destroying the natural surroundings.

Teresa Bateman and her family have been affected by Solihull Metropolitan Council’s obligation to increase housing development throughout the area. Below is a personal account from Teresa Bateman, expressing her feelings and the communities feelings towards a large development taking place across the fields from her family home.

My husband and I, purchased Winterton Farm some 30 years ago for its rural position, surrounded by

in excess of 300 acres, but within easy reach of Solihull 6 miles away and Junction 4 of the M42 only 2 miles. The M40 did not exist. Unfortunately our adjoining neighbour at Sidden Hall Farm died and Solihull MBC bought the 200 plus acres surreptitiously. That is when our problems began.

Blythe Valley Park (BVP) as it was renamed was eventually conceived in the early 1990s as a hi-tech business park, the Grade 2 listed moated farm house was burnt down, obviously it was in the way and now Virgin Active stands in its place! However we are told the park offers “the highest quality landmark buildings set within the highest quality landscape and public realm. A key asset of the Park is the landscape which surroundings it and threads through it. This includes the Blythe Valley Country Park through the river corridor. This high quality landscape setting conveys the sense of a tranquil, green oasis: a welcoming, attractive and valued business retreat.” Access to the site

was created directly off J4 of the M42 as the original entrance to the farm is along a country lane and deemed not fit for purpose.

But with the economic downturn BVP never really took off and over the years the land has been sold to different developers, Blythe Valley Park still has 1.2 million square feet of industrial space to be developed; Solihull MBC has always kept an interest. Then in 2013 SMBC gave the land a “mixed use allocation.

The land was purchased by IM Properties in late 2014; one of the UK’s largest privately owned property groups, with an investment and development portfolio across the UK, Europe and the USA. Part of the IM Properties Group is Spitfire Property Group “a forward thinking, modern, privately-owned property development company specialising in the construction of sustainable, high-quality bespoke residential dwellings.”

Unfortunately BVP has now become the largest allocated site

Teresa Bateman

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within the Solihull Local Plan (2013). It now forms an important part of the SMBC’s five year supply of housing. As it benefits from a mixed use allocation and to meet identified housing need in the Borough it will become a substantial residential development.

The current proposal which IMP is submitting with the agreement of SMBC is the size of a small town. Currently it is 750 homes, including houses and 3 storey apartment blocks, a 200 roomed hotel and a 250 roomed retirement village, plus eateries and shops. This entire scheme over looks our home and we will have gone from our rural position to one of living in a town. The depreciation in the value of our quality of life or the value of our home has never even been considered.

The problem doesn’t end there as the site falls within the

boundary for Cheswick Green Village. The Parish Council and SMBC will not agree for the building of a school or doctors surgery at BVP. IMP are now proposing a separate entrance to the residential development along the lane deemed not fit for purpose, not lit and has no pavements to join Cheswick Green Village and BVP for the use of amenities. They are also proposing a new bus route to aid connectivity; this link is directly along the lane that passes our Farm.

We all know that houses have to be built but surely as there are so many brown field sites available we should be looking at using them first. Research carried out in June 2015 on behalf of BBC Radio 4's File on 4 programme by Glenigan, a leading provider of construction data, found a sharp increase in the number of houses securing full planning approval in

the Green Belt. In 2009/10, 2,258 homes were approved. In 2013/2014, the number had risen to 5,607. By the following year, 2014/2015, it had more than doubled to 11,977. These figures do not include any Local Authority Housing Plans. Attacking Green Belt at this rate is not sustainable and in the face of climate change, the Green Belt is also likely to have an increasingly significant role in storing carbon and preventing flooding. It is disingenuous to argue that agricultural land has no positive environmental value.

The sad part is we have little hope to change things in most cases the deal is already done, as one of the Directors of IMP said to me “The likes of a small residents association taking on the might of IMP and SMBC is laughable”.

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Roles of Biofuels in Land Grabs in Developing Economies

I n recent times, the issue of land grabbing for biofuels is becoming a threat to the

developing economy. Thousands of subsistence farmers, who depend on Agriculture for their family sustenance have been evicted or denied access to their land. ‘The African people face an existential threat. According to (Stop Africa Land Grab, 2015), ‘Foreign countries and companies and wealthy foreigners are taking over the productive lands in Africa and turning Africans into refugees and slave laborers in their homeland with full support of African leaders.’ What is land grab and what makes a land acquisition land grabs? Borras et al. (2010) state that the starting point for understanding land grabs is ‘who owns what? Who does what? Who gets what? And what do they do with the surplus wealth?’ While Anuradha Mittal (2010) adds: ‘What is grown on such land? For whom was it grown? And how was it grown?’ According to (International Land Coalition (ILC), 2011), Land acquisitions become land grabs when they do one or more of the following:

Violate human rights, particularly the equal rights of women;

Flout the principle of free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) – under which affected communities were informed about and can give or refuse

consent to a project;

Are not based on a thorough assessment of, or disregard, social, economic and environmental impacts, including the way they are gendered;

Avoid direct contracts with clear and binding commitments to employment and benefit-sharing;

Circumvent democratic planning, independent oversight and meaningful participation (International Land Coalition (ILC), 2011).

Land grabbing describes the large-scale acquisition of agricultural land for commercial purposes like food and biofuel production. The soaring prices of food staples in 2007/2008 attracted widespread attention and led to speculative investment in agriculture by foreign nations in developing countries. Land grabbing can be broken down into three general types: food-driven investments, biofuel production and straight agricultural speculation. However, this paper centers on land grabbing for biofuel production. Globally, there are three principal markets for biofuels. These are the US, Europe Union (EU) and Brazil. Of these three the EU is the only one that relies heavily on imports of crops used for biofuel. For instance, a proposal by the European Commission sets a 2020 target for the consumption of biofuels equivalent to more than 40 million metric tons oil equivalent. Efforts directed at meeting this supply led to a massive displacement of people in the South of their lands. The US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) also mandated land-intensive biofuels from corn, sugar, and soy. The Global land use for the production of biofuel from

food crops according to (United Nations Environment Programme, 2009) is growing. In 2004, biofuels covered about 0.9% of global cropland. It increased to 1.7% in 2007, and 2.3% in 2008 (United Nations Environment Programme, 2009). There is a prediction that biofuel production would hit 172 billion liters by 2020 (Grain, 2013). The implication is that biofuel will occupy over 40 million hectares of land by 2020. Several cases of land grabbing for biofuel were reported in Africa, a few of them are reported in this article. In Sierra Leone over 10,000 hectares of lands has been taken over by the Swiss company Addax Bioenergy for sugar cane production to produce ethanol for export to Europe (Grain, 2013). In Ghana, the UNDP is helping India’s Abellon Clean Energy to grow biomass on 10,000 hectares of derelict land (Biofuels Digest, 2015). In a village in Burkina Faso, a lot of land investments are driven by global food prices and market opportunities in Biofuel. Grain4 also reported that700,000 ha of their lands were signed off by the government of Guinea to an Italian company to grow jatropha for biodiesel. In Benin, 93, 488 hectares of land were grabbed for the production of Jatropha between 2002-2012. According to (Biofuels Digest, 2015) there were over 130 land grabs for jatropha production registered around the world In the jungles of Gabon, Singapore-based Olam plans to spend US$236 million clearing 50,000 ha of forest for an oil palm plantation within a 300,000 ha concession (OLAM, PDF). In Liberia, about 10,000 hectares of land were grabbed for the production of oil palm, thus displacing over 15,000 inhabitants of their lands (farmland grab.org,

Grace Modupe Adebo

[email protected]

A Senior Lecturer and the current Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics and Extension Services at Ekiti State University, Nigeria

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2012). Over 150, community representatives from four counties in Liberia gathered in Bopolu City, Gbarpolu County on November 27th – 29th, 2012 to discuss their experiences and concerns regarding the impact of palm oil plantations on their livelihoods and communities. Participants traveled from across the country to attend the three-day conference, which ended with the formal signing and adoption of a “Statement and Declaration by Affected Community members from Sime Darby and Golden Veroleum Concessions In Nigeria over 105,000 ha of land were acquired by eight different companies for the production of cassava, maize, oil palm and Jatropha for biofuels.4 In 2011 and 2012, Wilmar International purchased several plantation sites in Cross River State in Southeastern Nigeria. These land purchases were part of the state's efforts to court 'high capacity' foreign investors to revive its flagging plantation economy. The plantation was a joint venture between Wilmar and the British food commodity firm PZ Cussons. Over 26,000 hectares were cleared, and the company was proposing to develop 240,000 hectares of farmland for palm oil production. In Madagascar and Senegal government were taking away lands

they deem to be customary, traditional and unproductive, and assigning same to investors by means of all-powerful injunctions, without ever engaging with residents To (or “intending to”) compensating them adequately thereby promoting poverty, unemployment and hunger amongst their people.3 What are the implications of land grabbing for biofuels to the economy of the developing nations? Access to land according to Action Aid International1 does not only mean wealth to the rural poor, it is their means of survival, identity and belonging. The organization stressed that most of the 1.4 billion people earning less than US$1.25 a day live in rural areas and depend mainly on agriculture for their livelihoods while an estimated 2.5 billion people are involved in full- or part-time smallholder agriculture. Smallholder farmers, pastoral societies, forest dwellers and fishermen and women all rely directly on land and natural resources for their livelihoods, as a primary source of food for their families, and for the innate value their environment often holds as the centre of their cultural identity. Land grabbing is seriously threatening the existence of the marginalized groups such as small-scale farmers, women and pastoralist.in many rural

communities in Africa. Land conversion for biofuel crops can lead to adverse environmental impacts such as reduced biodiversity and increased GHG emissions. The consequences of the land grabbing would have a significant effect on the people and the environment. It will negatively affect agricultural production for meeting the food needs of the developing nations. It could lead to forest degradation, displacement of local populations, increasing local food insecurity and increasing poverty. Thus, Biofuel production is a fundamental challenge to the achievement of the poverty-related Millennium Development Goals How could the incidence be overcome? There is the need to revise some sectorial land laws and the appropriate development policies on land in each country in Africa. Investment opportunities on food security should be directed at improving the farmers rather than the farm-lands. There is the need for Public policies and infrastructure to support farming families. The civil society should rise to the challenge of stripping the poor of their land by foreign investors.

1Action Aid (2014). How the world is paving the way for corporate land grabs - See more at: http://www.actionaidusa.org/shared/great-land-heist#sthash.H62ryzJw.dpuf 2Anne van Schaik & Godwin Ojo (2015). Deforestation, exploitation, hypocrisy: no end to Wilmar's palm oil land grabs 3Earth rights Institute (2012). Land Grab: A Violation of Human Rights and Disregard for the Basic Essence of Governance. Retrieved from http://course.earthrights.net/?q=node/317 4GRAIN — Land grabbing for biofuels must stop. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.grain.org/article/entries/4653-land-grabbing-for-biofuels-must-stop 5LIBERIAN COMMUNITIES AFFECTED BY OIL PALM LAND DEALS GATHER (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.sdiliberia.org/node/79 6Oxfam Briefing Notes (2013). Sugar Rush: Land rights and the supply chains of the biggest .., http://www.oxfamamerica.org/static/media/files/sugar-rush-land-supply-chains-foo (accessed February 13, 2016). 7www.worldcat.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from http: www.worldcat.org/oclc/659750743.nt



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Land Politics & Marginalisation

W e pause in a Marma village to escape the heat of the midday sun.

After bathing in the cool waters of a nearby gorge, the karbari – or village head – invites us into his home for rice and frog curry. It is a village like any other in this region. Small. Remote. Isolated. I am the first non-indigenous person to visit here but I am not surprised. Guerrilla gangs rule this land and if you are not an indigenous person, you run the risk of kidnap, or worse. I am deep in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) on the Bangladesh/Burma border. It is home to eleven indigenous peoples, such as the Marma, Chakma and Khyang. Collectively they are known as the Jummas. Over lunch, the karbari tells us about his family and their history of displacement and marginalisation. In his father’s time, they had lived in a less remote region, within easy walking distance of the local markets. The land had been plenty, the soil, fertile. In the 60’s the creation of a giant dam flooded much of the lowland and as pressure on land increased, his family moved up further into the hills. Here they found themselves

dislocated from their ancestral lands, their families and their friends. Time made this new place their home, and the land was still sufficient for their needs. In the late 70’s, conflict came to the Hill Tracts. In an attempt to assimilate these minorities, the government settled half-a-million landless Bengali people in the region, accompanied by 120,000 soldiers (IWGIA, 2012:12). Again, he was displaced, as fear and land grabbing drove his family, and others, deeper into the hills. Now he lives in one of the most remote regions in South Asia – two days walk from the nearest road. His children have no education, medical care is non-existent and his land is fast becoming infertile. He has no right of tenure and lives ‘illegally’ on ‘government’ land. Not only is he politically, socially and economically marginalised, but he is also ecologically marginalised. In these remote hills, jhum or slash-and-burn is the main method of cultivation. It provides a livelihood for around 30,000 indigenous people (Tripura, 2008:85). 30 years ago a household in this region could produce 70kg of rice per unit of land. Today, the same land yields only 30kg, as fallow periods have shrunk from twelve to five years (Ali and Tsuchiya, 2003:52). The soil erosion ‘crisis’ in CHT is common knowledge for government agencies, NGOs and international organisations. However, all too often it is translated into narratives which are epistemologically realist and positivist, and which disembed it from its social, cultural and political dimensions. For instance, the ADB (2011:1) explains it as an “overuse of land and forest resources due to [a] rapid increase in population and adoption of improper agricultural practices”. They, like most others, portray degradation as a neutral process resulting from local causes, where the main agent is the land-

user. Such narratives typically follow a neo-Malthusian pattern of ‘overexploitation’ by ‘backward’ ‘improper’ communities. In a sense, causes and effects have become conflated – land-use and population are represented as causal, while the structures and relationships which engender them are ignored (Harriss, 2007:5). Simply blaming their ecological marginality on their farming practices is self-defeatingly reductionist and borderline tautological. It is wholly insufficient to explain their plight. When we finish our lunch, the karbari guides us down into the valley, a cleft in hills. Long rows of tobacco plants snake their way along it. Tobacco cultivation is one of the fastest growing industries in CHT (WHO, 2007:2), and it is intimately linked to the marginalisation of communities here. Their remote location makes marketing produce difficult; often it perishes en-route or by the time it gets to market inflation makes the whole venture futile, as their turnover struggles to cover their input costs. On the face of it, many perceive tobacco as a reliable cash crop. (WHO, 2007) However, behind tobacco cultivation is a system of exploitation. Underdevelopment, poverty, and lack of access to financial services allows multinational tobacco companies to lure these communities into cycles of debt bondage. Companies such as British American Tobacco, Bangladesh (BAT-B) offer loans to cover the high input costs associated with tobacco growing. For many growers the money they receive barely lasts them until the next season, forcing them to borrow again and drawing them into an inescapable vortex of indebtedness (WHO, 2007). Moreover, 90% of the tobacco growers in CHT are ‘unregistered’ with companies such as BAT, even though the companies end up buying their produce.

M. Rix

Volunteer for VSO Bangladesh

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Unregistered growers have to borrow from local moneylenders or mahajans, often at exorbitant rates of over 100%. They are unable to access formal financial services because of their remote location, their illiteracy, and their lack of land title (WHO, 2007). These growers have to rely on beparis – middlemen – in order to sell their tobacco. These beparis have arrangements with the tobacco companies and operate like a cartel to lower the prices (WHO, 2007). Large debts to service and minimal returns, drive these growers further into debt-bondage, and force them to cultivate evermore land, with shorter fallow periods. All the tobacco farmers in this valley will be unregistered. Tobacco curing is also one of the main drivers of deforestation, responsible for 30% of forest loss in the Hill Tracts (WHO, 2007:11). While they trumpet generous CSR programmes, companies such as

British American Tobacco, are in fact fuelling the degradation of the CHT, and the exploitation of these communities. Numerous other big business industries such as rubber and teak plantations are also responsible. Interestingly, the Bangladesh military and government are one of the largest shareholders of BAT Bangladesh (BRAC, 2013:13), and UK councils have over £1.8b invested in BAT (Independent, 2014). But it is all too easy to blame these companies for the marginality of these communities. Corporate exploitation is as much a symptom and an effect of marginality, as it is the cause. Government demographic engineering and military persecution drove these communities into marginal and remote regions. Here they live a precarious life, extorted by moneylenders, the military and criminal gangs on the one hand, and facing environmental degradation on the other. Land grabbing by the military, government, businesses and state-sponsored settlers has ‘alleviated’ the indigenous people of around 100,000 hectares of land (Rasul, 2007). Much of the land they do own is through customary tenure that the Government of Bangladesh refuses to recognise. As an atomised peasantry, socially and politically discriminated against, the Jummas face an uncertain destiny. Before we leave the village and continue into the hills, I ask the karbari what hope he has for the future. He points up the valley. ‘Here is not a good life for us. Many people are going up the river. They say that in Burma things are better for us Jummas’.

M Ali, T Tsuchiya, ‘Changes in Land Use Practices of Indigenous People in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh - An Analysis of Political-Economy Perspective’, Japan Socie-ty of Forest Planning, 9:47-58, 2003 Asian Development Bank, ‘Watershed Man-agement Implementation Arrangements’, 2011, http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/linked-documents/42248-013-ban-oth-05.pdf (Accessed 31-01-2016) SA Dooty, ‘The evaluation of the CSR Activi-ties of British American Tobacco Bangla-desh’, BRAC University, Dhaka, 2013 (Accessed 26-02-2016) Goodey et al, ‘Councils paid to cut smoking, but have £2bn of tobacco shares’, The Inde-pendent Online, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/councils-paid-to-cut-smoking-but-have-2bn-of-tobacco-shares-9849300.html (accessed 26-02-2016) J Harriss, ‘Bringing Politics Back in to Poverty Analysis: Why Understanding of Social Rela-tions Matters More for Policy on Chronic Poverty than Measurement’, Chronic Pov-erty Research Centre, 2007, https://www.trentu.ca/ids/documents/Q2_WP34_Harriss.pdf (Accessed 05-02-2016) IWGIA, ‘Militarization in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: The Slow Demise of the Region’s Indigenous Peoples’, Copenhagen, 2012 G Rasul, ‘Political ecology of the degrada-tion of forest commons in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh’, Environmental Conservation, Vol:34:2, 2007 SB Tripura, ‘Blaming Jhum, Denying Jhumia’, TromsØ: University of, 2008 World Health Organisation, ‘Tobacco culti-vation and poverty in Bangladesh’, 2007, http://www.who.int/tobacco/framework/cop/events/2007/bangladesh_study.pdf accessed 31-01-2016 (Accessed 03-02-2016)


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Land Grab A Personal Perspective

W hen I first saw the term ‘land grab’ three or four years ago, I was

confused. How can land be grabbed, I thought, it’s in the place it’s in as a result of tectonic forces such as continental drift and volcanic activities, previous rises and falls in the level of the sea, or post glacial depositions. It can’t be taken away, it can’t be moved, so what was this all about? And colonialism was over, wasn’t it? Around the same time I picked up a copy of Time magazine and read that a man from Texas had just ‘bought up’ 40,000 hectares of land in southern Sudan, just about the time the new state of Southern Sudan was emerging. Asked why, the Texan said something along the lines of ‘the land was empty, much better to grow crops and export the produce than let it stand idle’. Clearly the land ‘belonged to no-one’ I want to interrogate the concept of land grab from two directions, what might be called ‘hard challenges’ and ‘soft challenges’. Historically ‘hard challenges’ might have been seen as increasing population and decreasing space, but today climate change is a third hard challenge. When I was born in 1941 there were around 2.3 billion people alive, now that number has more than trebled, with a UN estimate of 7.35 billion for 2015 (Figure 1). By 2050 this number is

expected to exceed 9 billion, and 11 billion by 2100 (Table 1). Yet the amount of land is not increasing commensurate with population growth; deltas grow, but only slowly. The term ‘frontier settlement’ in the past two centuries described the forward outposts of the march of civilization, (Young 2000); the frontier was always being moved back, the areas of civilization, and agriculture, increasing. Yet in the twenty first century this outward march gradually ground to a halt, the supply of easy lands to cultivate dried up, only more hostile areas of jungle, scrubland, desert, mountain, and cold places remained. Human attempts to improve the environment, for example cutting down forests and jungles to make way for crops often resulted in soil erosion, and irrigating low yielding, drought frequented lands, often lead to soil salinity and soil sodicity. One of the most notable, maybe even notorious, attempts to turn semi arid dry lands to agriculture was the United Kingdom’s project to increase vegetable oil supply in the late 1940s by growing groundnuts in northern Tanganyika. Brooke (1967) describes the harsh conditions for agriculture

and people over much of the country, while Esselborn (2013) recounts in detail this ill-fated project. It was initiated in 1946, when the managing director of United Africa Company was flying over Africa, looking for areas with potential to meet Britain and Europe’s post-war food needs, and spotted this ‘empty’ area in Tanganyika Territory, as the country was then named. The British plan was to convert 160,000 hectares of scrubland into productive arable land and work to fell the existing vegetation began the following year. Problems with machinery, a failure to understand the soil, and lack of water followed, and very few groundnuts were produced, fewer even than the seeds imported to grow the crop. The project was abandoned in 1951, by which time nearly £50 million pounds had been spent, a loss of nearly £1 billion at today’s prices. Despite this disaster, the need for food production to rise in line with population increases remains a challenge. Climate change is further changing this equation in ways that are hard to predict with reasonable accuracy (IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (2014), Chapter 11,

Dr Charles Howie

[email protected] Studied Sustainable Agricultural Systems at the Royal Agricultural College 1998 - 2000. After graduation Charles worked with An Giang University, in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Currently Charles is a visiting fellow at the RAU, Adviser to the Faculty of Agriculture and Natural Resources at An Giang University, and Adviser to the Trustees of Malawi Fruits.

1941: Population around 2.3bln 1941-2013 >times 3 increase

Charles Howie born Scotland 1941

World population 1700-2048

2012: 7bln

Figure 1. Population growth 1700-2012. (United Nations Population Prospects, 2012)

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Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use). For example, using historical data on crop yields and meteorological records, scientists at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), have calculated that for each 1° centigrade rise in the mean nighttime temperature, there will be a reduction of 10% in rice yield (Shaobing Peng, et al. 2004). Conversely, rising temperatures may permit some plants to grow at higher altitudes than before. This offers possibilities for cross pollination, not previously possible, giving rise to hybridization and eventually new species. One important consequence of rising atmospheric temperatures

and rising sea levels has been a realization by some states, particularly those dry hot climates, that prospects for future food production on their own lands are endangered so, with increasing populations, and rising consumer expectations due to increased wealth, the need to find land elsewhere (‘pushing back the frontier’) has become urgent. Countries experiencing land grabs are not confined to Africa, see figure, but one recurring theme has been the involvement of the World Bank in funding these actions (OXFAM). The soft challenge, as I see it, is to the integrity of those countries

that appear to have ‘free land’. History is littered with examples of how land grabs by external countries have led to unrest, war and sometimes revolution, as the French experience in Asia illustrates. In 1865 French forces entered Vietnam, and in 1867 the south of the country, including the Mekong Delta, an area of four million hectare, and Cambodia, were declared to be the French colony of Cochinchina. Vietnamese had only been firmly established in the delta in the eighteenth century (Li, 1998), and one way in which these settlers wanted the south to be different to the Vietnam of the Red River basin in the north of the country was to be free of the mandarin system, under which the village owned land and the mandarin allocated land to households for different types and lengths of use. For this reason, settlers in the south had no written records of their ownership, and owing to this lack of written titles, the French colonial government dispossessed them: ‘Control of land was a key part of the French mission civilisatrice in colonial

Figure 2. Countries experiencing land grabs, and extent of grabs. (Circle of Blue , 2016)

Table 1. Projections of population growth by continent to 2100 (United Nations Population Prospects, 2015)

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Indochina’ (Cleary 2005, p.356). Vietnamese households were told they had three months to produce written deeds to their lands, failing which French settlers could ask a French court to declare the land to be ‘unoccupied’, and allocate the land to colonists. Large numbers of Vietnamese people in the delta became landless, consigned to work for French settlers, to pay taxation—in rice—on an individual rather than village basis, and undertake curvee labour. By 1929‑1930, according to Brocheux (1995), the Inspector General for Agriculture, Y. Henry, reported nearly 59% of land in Long Xuyen Province [today’s An Giang Province] was owned by less than 5% of the province’s landowners, each holding more than 50 hectares. The purpose of French agriculture in the Mekong Delta was to grow rice for export to France; this led to landlessness, with hunger and taxation as additional drivers of unrest. From the beginning of the twentieth century unrest built up leading eventually to conflict, a war in the late 1940s-early 1950s, and finally

to eviction of the French from the country in 1954. Land grabbing does not have a good history because it ignores the human and social dimension. Africa is a continent with a large land area, as large as China, the USA, India and the whole continent of Australia combined. Currently it is experiencing pressure to grant land concessions to international companies and other states, yet Africa is also the continent expected to show the highest rate of population growth for the rest of this century, from a projected 1.18 billion in 2015 to 4.38 by 2100 (Table 1). Thus the demand in Africa for food will rise exponentially, and the countries of Africa will need to use that land if they are to maintain food security. Delivering a lecture in London at the beginning of February, 2016, Richard Dowden, Director of the Royal Africa Society, identified four important factors in Africa’s present circumstances: a growing middle class, unwilling to tolerate misrule; the impact of China; climate change; and the growth in ownership

of mobile phones (Figure 3), mobile phone ownership is proving a key component tool for development. Dowden commented that the worldwide slowdown in economic activity had reduced the demand for raw materials and commodities from African countries, but he believed the way to get growth going again was through agriculture, and particularly through processing agricultural products. Can the countries of Africa resist pressures to concede land to other nations for food security, can African states feed populations of their own, nearly four times larger than now? I’m not a futurologist, I can’t foresee the next big global event that might bring chaos, though climate change will be a big driver throughout this century. However, if African countries can up-skill themselves, particularly in agriculture and enterprise, they have a good chance of feeding themselves and perhaps begin to export food in significant quantities, while avoiding incursions by other states, and all the resentment and resistance these incursions will likely bring.

Figure 2. Cell Phone Ownership growth in Africa 2002—2014 (Pew Research Center, 2014)

Asian Development Bank, ‘Watershed Management Implementation Arrangements’, 2011, http://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/linked-documents/42248-013-ban-oth-05.pdf (Accessed 31-01-2016); G Rasul, ‘Political ecology of the degradation of forest commons in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh’, Environmental Conservation, Vol:34:2, 2007; Goodey et al, ‘Councils paid to cut smoking, but have £2bn of tobacco shares’, The Independent Online, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/councils-paid-to-cut-smoking-but-have-2bn-of-tobacco-shares-9849300.html (accessed 26-02-2016); IWGIA, ‘Militarization in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh: The Slow Demise of the Region’s Indigenous Peoples’, Copenhagen, 2012 ; J Harriss, ‘Bringing Politics Back in to Poverty Analysis: Why Understanding of Social Relations Matters More for Policy on Chronic Poverty than Measurement’, Chronic Poverty Research Centre, 2007, https://www.trentu.ca/ids/documents/Q2_WP34_Harriss.pdf (Accessed 05-02-2016); M Ali, T Tsuchiya, ‘Changes in Land Use Practices of Indigenous People in Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh - An Analysis of Political-Economy Perspective’, Japan Society of Forest Planning, 9:47-58, 2003; SA Dooty, ‘The evaluation of the CSR Activities of British American Tobacco Bangladesh’, BRAC University, Dhaka, 2013 (Accessed 26-02-2016); SB Tripura, ‘Blaming Jhum, Denying Jhumia’, TromsØ: University of, 2008; World Health Organisation, ‘Tobacco cultivation and poverty in Bangladesh’, 2007, http://www.who.int/tobacco/framework/cop/events/2007/bangladesh_study.pdf accessed 31-01-2016 (Accessed 03-02-2016)


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Contract Farming: My Land, Your Crop

A s the light of dawn seeps into her hut, Theresa Muchemenyi goes through

the ritual of waking up by first rubbing her eyes, looking at the dilapidated makeshift door she yawns deeply and stretches her limp arms as if hugging the wind in slow motion. She grabs two pieces of floral cloth, the larger one she wraps around her waist and the smaller piece of cloth around her head. A minute later she is heading out and peering at the emerging golden sun, for a moment, she stands transfixed in its direction-imbibing its beauty that seemed to defy description. Every day it seems to speak to her in a language she could not yet grasp. She inhales deeply and fills her lungs with the sweet September morning

air. Suddenly a crow caws sharply snapping her out of her daydream as if reminding her that it's time to work. Its 0600 in the morning, the Kaite Field Officer will be coming to buy her Bird’s Eye Chillies at 1100 and she has to make sure she has finalised grading by sorting different colours and removing foreign matter. Grabbing a reed mat and two large dishes; she spreads the mat on the ground and starts going through the ordeal of grading and sorting by identifying blackened chillies and putting them into another dish. Like many other women in her province, Esnath is one of the people to have embraced farming as a means of survival. The scarcity of jobs and abject poverty has led many to rely on farming as a means of livelihood. However, barriers in access to markets, lack of capital and infrastructure has been largely debilitating to earning a decent income through farming. The answer to their problems seem to lie in contract farming which has been

introduced in their area in 2009. Contract farming (CF) is defined as forward agreements specifying the obligations of farmers and buyers as partners in business. In legal terms, farming contracts outline the farmers’ obligation to supply the volumes and qualities as specified and the buyers’ obligation to collect the goods and effect payment through stipulated terms. Normally, in the case of dealing with small-scale farmers in communal areas, the buyer may provide embedded services which may include:

Inputs (dryers, seeds, packaging material, chemicals and fertilisers)

Services (extension, transport, training etc.)

Pre-financing of input delivery on credit

Contract Farming Business Models According to Shepherd and Eaton1, there are about five popular contract farming models in use in sub-Saharan Africa theu are described as follows:

Pedzisai Nemadziba

Current RAU MSc Student, Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security Nationality: Zimbabwean

Picture by Pedzisai Nemadziba all rights reserved.

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Nucleus estate model

In this model, the buyer sources both from own estates/ plantations and from contracted farmers. The estate system involves significant investments by the buyer into land, machines, staff and management. This CF model can be characterised as follows:

The nucleus estate usually guarantees supplies to assure cost-efficient utilisation of installed

processing capacities and to satisfy firm sales obligations respectively.

In some cases, the nucleus estate is used for research, breeding or piloting and demonstration purposes and/ or as collection point.

The farmers are at times called ‘satellite farmers’ illustrating their link to the nucleus farm.

This model was in the past often used for state-owned farms that re-allocated land to former workers. It is nowadays also used by the private sector as one type of CF.

This model is often referred to as “outgrower model”.

Typical products: perennials

Informal model “This model is the most transient and speculative of all contract farming models, with a risk of default by both the promoter and the farmer”2. However, this depends on the situation: interdependence of contract parties or long-term trustful relationships may reduce the risk of opportunistic behaviour. Special features of this CF model are:

Small firms conclude simple, informal seasonal production contracts with smallholders.

The success often depends on the availability and quality of external extension services.

Embedded services, if at all provided, are limited to the delivery of basic inputs, occasionally on credit; advice is usually limited to grading and quality control.

Typical products: requiring minimal processing/ packaging, vertical coordination; e.g. fresh fruit/vegetables for local markets, sometimes also staple crops.

Contract farming of Zinnia California mix flowers in Domboshava, Goromonzi District in Zimbabwe. Picture by Pedzisai Nemadziba © 2014

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Intermediary model

In this model, the buyer subcontracts an intermediary (collector, aggregator or farmer organisation) who formally or informally contracts farmers (combination of the centralised/ informal models). Special characteristics of this CF model are:

The intermediary provides embedded services (usually passing through services provided by buyers against service charges) and purchases the crop.

This model can work, if well-designed and if incentive structures are adequate and control mechanisms are in place.

This model can bear disadvantages for vertical coordination and for providing incentives to farmers (buyers may lose control of production processes, quality assurance and regularity of supplies; farmers may not benefit from technology transfer; there is also a risk of price distortion and reduced incomes for farmers).

Multipartite model

This model can develop from the centralised or nucleus estate models, e.g. following the

privatisation of parastatals. It involves various organisations such as governmental statutory bodies alongside private companies and sometimes financial institutions. Special features:

This model may feature as joint ventures of parastatals/ community companies with domestic/foreign investors for processing.

The vertical coordination depends on the discretion of the firm. Due attention has to be paid to possible political interferences.

This model may also feature as farm-firm arrangement complemented by agreements with

3rd party service providers (e.g. extension, training, credits, inputs, logistics).

Separate organisations (e.g. cooperatives) may organise farmers and provide embedded services (e.g. credits, extension, marketing, sometimes also processing).

This model may involve equity share schemes for producers.

Centralized model

In this model, the buyers’ involvement may vary from minimal input provision (e.g. specific varieties) to control of most production aspects (e.g. from land preparation to harvesting). This is the most common CF model, which can be characterised as follows:

The buyer sources products from and provides services to large numbers of small, medium or large farmers.

The relation/ coordination between farmers and contractor is strictly vertically organised.

The quantities (quota), qualities and delivery conditions are determined at the beginning of the season. The production and harvesting processes and qualities are tightly controlled, sometimes directly implemented by the buyer’s staff.

Typical products: large volumes of uniform quality usually for processing; e.g. sugar cane, tobacco, tea, coffee, cotton, tree crops, vegetables, dairy, poultry.

Contract farming plays a pivotal role in community mobilisation in fostering agricultural development. According to Hazell et al2, numerous studies have indicated that small multi-crop farms are much more efficient than large monocrop farms. Within the same vein, it was reported that smallholder farms can produce between 2-10 more per unit area than large estates. Hence, it can be argued that a win-win situation (with incentives and comprehensive stakeholder participation) could exist within contract farming arrangements.

Eaton, C and Shepherd A, W.(2001) Contract farming partnerships for growth. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin [Online] Available from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/y0937e/y0937e00.pdf [Date accessed 12/02/2016] Hazell, P., C. Poulton, S. Wiggins, and A. Dorward. (2007). The Future of small farms for poverty reduction and growth. International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) 2020 Discussion Paper 42, May 2007. Washington D.C.: IFPRI.


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Land Grab

The San People of Botswana

C ontroversy with the San peoples of Southern Africa begins with their identity -

San, Basarwa, Bushmen? I will use the first of the three labels. What is not in doubt is that the San are the first peoples of Southern Africa, probably extending far beyond the Kalahari Desert, but now with the greatest number in what is now the Republic of Botswana. Into this region, perhaps a thousand years ago, came Bantu peoples from the north: pastoralists and agriculturists who also hunted and gathered and lived along the border rivers. From the south and east came Bantu tribes escaping from the Europeans (the latter being land-grabbers indeed). Those Black Africans acknowledged the Batswana as their senior tribe as they entered a safe haven, but

found land barely suitable for any agriculture. The Batswana allocated land rights for Bantu, but felt that the San had no such need, or rights, despite the fact that the San had a very keen sense of boundaries for each extended family group, with permission needed from neighbouring San in times of drought to have temporary hunting and gathering. But right up to the middle of the 20th Century, before the introduction of borehole technology allowed water points and hence cattle to much of the country, the exceptionally sparse population accommodated resident peoples with the San managing to hold on in the ‘undeveloped’ areas, without land title. Elsewhere the San became landless labourers and herders for the more privileged, although like the Aboriginal Australians would periodically venture back to the hinterland to try and replenish their spiritual roots. Botswana has received praise in “The West” for its rule of democracy, its care for the vulnerable through food aid, its lack of corruption and violence, and its care for the environment. Starting as early as 1932 land began to be designated as ‘non-hunting’ - a process that affected all Batswana

and visitors. By the 1960s and ‘70s controls were increased in the Chobe to achieve full national park status. Other important protected areas, such as Moremi Game Reserve, situated in the Okavango, allow for people, notably San, to remain as residents, and from facing extinction in Botswana at the end of the 19th Century, the elephant population in northern Botswana is now the largest in the world. With the revenue resulting from being the biggest producer of gem diamonds, and a more transparent distribution of the income than most countries have for mineral exploitation, Botswana’s reputation seemed okay. Starting in 1977, supposedly unused and un-occupied land within the Kalahari was allocated for cattle ranches in an effort to stem overgrazing of communal land but unaware (or ignoring?) the admittedly light and unregistered use by San people. Again, this was only possible with an extensive development of boreholes, tapping into ‘fossil water’ deep into the mantle of sand. This was meant to be for the benefit of all Batswana cattle owners, although mostly it was taken by the wealthier Botswana. The strong political voice of the cattle owners and their prized export market to West Germany also resulted in a crisscrossing much of the ‘unused’ State Land of Botswana with cordon fences to prevent wild animals from spreading foot and mouth disease. At this time Botswana had the largest population of game animals in the world, but the unintended outcome of these fences was huge wildlife death for these animals that depend on mass migrations to find both grass and water. All of this has begun to tarnish Botswana’s image. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve (CKGR) had been established in 1961: the second-largest game reserve in the world. It

Ian Martin

A member of the Tropical Agricultural Association based in Cornwall but previously working in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America. He lived in Botswana for 17 years

Jwaneng Diamond Mine by Cretep

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had no restrictions on the resident population remaining, with the San as the most noticeable occupants. However, gun licences have become increasing difficult to obtain in Botswana, to the consternation of many Batswana and there is now a total ban on killing game nationally except where rogue animals cause danger to life or crops. The creation of additional boreholes and associated water points, some job creation at camps, and opportunities to make and sell crafts to tourists - all this has no doubt speeded up the changes to their way of life forever, but predominately at very low and insecure incomes. Then, almost as an afterthought, in 1997 the Government decided to move the residents from the CKGR. Rumours circulated that it was to create a ‘pristine’ game park without potentially squalid settlements, or to

allow Batswana cattle owners to infiltrate with their cattle, or for the opening up for new diamond mining. All of this has turned out to be true. On top of all this a huge fire destroyed some 80% of the Reserve, which is only now beginning to recover. Bush fires are not a typical feature of Botswana as the semi-arid climate and grazing by cattle and/or game limits the combustible material. The data used by the supporters of the San are not in agreement with the Government, but an unknown percentage of residents objected to being relocated. The Botswana Government claims that as a proportion of the 60,000 San living in Botswana, the 3,000 in the CKGR are a very small number and many of those are of mixed ethnic origin (Bakgalagadi have long integrated with San and their dialect of the

national Setswana language dominates). As organisations such as Survival International became aware of the tensions, film was secretly made of the heavy-handed methods adopted by some of the police more reminiscent of township destruction in the days of Apartheid South Africa. Democracy indeed! The human rights cause of the San was then taken up by a British lawyer, Gordon Bennett. He took their case to the Botswana courts and won his case in 2011 for the San to remain in the CKGR, with the judge commenting that the “for the Bushmen it had been a harrowing experience” and that they should have their boreholes reinstated. The Botswana Government has accepted this verdict. Sadly, the ruling by the Judiciary has not currently been effectively implemented by the law enforcers (police and civil service officials) who feel piqued that they have to allow the ‘lowly’ inhabitants back into the CKGR unimpeded. In defence of its actions, the Botswana Government has issued a statement to explain that its Constitution is written to ensure that all its citizens, of whatever colour or creed, shall be treated in all respects equally. In setting practical lower limits in respect to population catchments, it is therefore not able to provide services (health clinics, schools etc) to smaller settlements of San any more than to other citizens. What conclusions can we draw from this?

The history of Botswana is an example of those with concepts of land rights associated with agriculture being more powerful than that of hunter-gatherer societies. (The European colonisation of the Americas with agriculture seems to have succeeded ‘thanks to’ the First Peoples’ vulnerability to diseases new to them.)

The admirable egalitarian component of the Constitution does not accommodate peoples who retain a world view at odds Giraffe in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve

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with a formerly agricultural, and now urban, basis to their world.

Incidents of violence within and between groups in Botswana goes against the very function of the country as a refuge from warring factions in neighbouring (and more fertile) regions; therefore, the police violence referred to above is probably isolated. As a UK citizen I was always struck by the concern Batswana friends had regarding safety in the UK, although sadly Botswana has imported violence as a by-product of strife in the region along with a huge influx of refugees.

Wealth creation from mining in Botswana maybe more equitable than in most other countries, but it has not

prevented an economic and social split between urban and rural communities. The wealthy had been cattle owners who both lived with and depended on their poorer brethren including San and Bakgalagadi, but that situation no longer obtains. Even amongst the ethnic Batswana for whom there is the right to be allocated a house plot and lands for cultivation for free by the Government (both on Tribal land), shortage of money leads the poor to sell these rights, especially in peri-urban situations. (The same in countries like Mexico after the formation of ejidos).

For all the shortcomings exemplified by the ‘land grab’ of the CKGR, I would claim that the degree of democracy in

Botswana and the independence of the judicial system compares well with many other countries - not the same as arriving at Utopia

Technological advances, in this case the opening up of the otherwise waterless Kalahari to cattle, destroy most of the ground vegetation and game animals, and therefore the basis for hunter-gatherer life. If restraint is not exercised, the future for what has been a remarkably lush vegetation for a ‘desert’ is in doubt, along with the Indigenous Knowledge of the people who had developed the wisdom of sustainable existence.

Meet the Team

Left to right: Dale Webb, Isabelle Bateman, Kara Minto-Simpson, Michael Ololade, Chloe French, Tristan Morton

Clark, Emily Mason, Wael Leheta, Pedzisai Nemadziba, Akindele Ogunleye, Kirstin Engel, Joao Junior

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