New Alliance, New Risk of Land Grabs: Evidence from Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania

New Alliance, New Risk of Land Grabs: Evidence from Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal and Tanzania

Report for ActionAid International (June 2015)

Ten African countries have signed up to the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition – the G8 countries’ main strategy for supporting agriculture in Africa that was launched in 2012. As the New Alliance has been under way for three years, some of its likely impacts are becoming clearer. This briefing – covering Nigeria, Malawi, Tanzania and Senegal – shows that some large companies involved in the New Alliance are already accused of taking part in land grabs in some countries. It also presents new research to argue that the initiative is further increasing the risk of rural communities losing their access to and control over land to large investors, largely through policy commitments on land titling and land reform. Implicated in these reforms and risks of land grabs are the G8 donor countries bankrolling the New Alliance and the European Union. These governments must stop all engagement in and support for the New Alliance and replace it with genuine initiatives to support small-scale food producers and advance sustainable agriculture.

French version here –  Nouvelle Alliance, Nouveaux Risques

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Fostering Economic Resilience: The Financial Benefits of Ecological Farming in Malawi and Kenya

Fostering Economic Resilience: The Financial Benefits of Ecological Farming in Malawi and Kenya

Report for Greenpeace-Africa (May 2015)

This report analyses ecological farming as compared to industrial farming, assessing how much African governments are currently allocating to each and comparing the relative benefits for small farmers. It is based on field research with the World Agro-Foresty Centre and ICIPE, comparing groups of farmers using chemical pesticides/fertilizers, with those not. It finds that the average profitability of maize (per acre, per year) for small farmers is three times greater for farmers promoting ‘push-pull’ technology (ie, no use of chemical pesticides) than for farmers using pesticides. In Malawi, average profitability of maize (per acre, per year) was $259 for agro-forestry farmers (ie, no use of chemical fertilizers) compared to $166 for chemical farmers. The income benefits are especially large for women farmers. The report calculates that African governments are spending at least $1 billion a year on chemical fertilizer subsidies. It calls for a shift away from chemical farming towards promoting Ecological Farming Strategies.

Click on the link above to read the summary or read the full report here.

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Profiting from Poverty, Again: DFID’s Support for Privatising Education and Health

Profiting from Poverty, Again: DFID’s Support for Privatising Education and Health

Report for Global Justice Now (April 2015)

Britain’s overseas aid programme is being reconfigured to promote the privatisation of education and health in developing countries. The Department for International Development (DFID) has become the world’s leading donor in spearheading a push for profit making companies to manage and deliver schooling and health care in Africa and Asia. British taxpayers’ money is increasingly being used to pave the way for private companies to access new markets in basic services and thus to profit from the current gaps in the public provision of these services. This briefing exposes DFID’s strategy and warns of the dangers to the real need – which is to ensure better public education and health services that genuinely serve poor people.

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Contract Farming and Outgrower Schemes: Appropriate Development Models to Tackle Poverty and Hunger?

Contract Farming and Outgrower Schemes: Appropriate Development Models to Tackle Poverty and Hunger?

Report for ActionAid-International (March 2015)

Out-grower schemes (often referred to as contract farming) are an important component of many current public-private partnerships in developing countries, including the G8’s New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. Such schemes can benefit farmers because the company often provides inputs and production services, incomes can rise, and such schemes often open up new markets. But they can also exclude the poorest people and women and give companies access to land that would not otherwise be available, thus being a disguised form of land grab. Farmers can often become little more than a form of cheap labour and carry most of the project risk. Many schemes are geared towards (often non-food) crops for export or large urban markets and tend to consolidate the role of large corporations in global agriculture supply chains whether smallholders benefit or not. This report argues that evidence suggests that most existing contract farming and out-grower schemes are not appropriate models to tackle poverty and hunger.

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Take Action: Stop EcoEnergy’s Land Grab in Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Take Action: Stop EcoEnergy’s Land Grab in Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Report for ActionAid International (March 2015)

Rural communities in the Bagamoyo district of Tanzania are opposing a much-lauded sugar cane plantation project planned by EcoEnergy, a Swedish-owned company that has secured a lease of over 20,000 hectares of land for the next 99 years and which is about to push smallholder producers off their land. Although the company has conducted consultations with affected villagers, this research found the majority have not been offered the choice of whether to be resettled or not, and have not been given crucial information about the irreversible effects the project may have on their livelihoods and their rights to food and land. By failing to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of the communities in the area affected by the project, EcoEnergy is grabbing the land of these communities, or risks doing so. EcoEnergy’s plan to develop a sugar cane plantation is a flagship project of the increasingly controversial New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, the G8’s African agriculture initiative.

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Why Wait Until the Next Food Crisis? Improving Food Reserves Strategies in East Africa

Why Wait Until the Next Food Crisis? Improving Food Reserves Strategies in East Africa

Report for Acord International (January 2015)

This report highlights the importance of African countries holding food reserves for promoting food security and price stability. It analyses the food reserves policies of three countries in East Africa – Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda – showing how these can, indeed must, be improved to address hunger. National food reserves, when designed and implemented effectively, can play a vital role in promoting food security and price stability. However, although most African countries currently hold food reserves, many are poorly managed, and some hold no stocks at all. Both Kenya and Tanzania hold sizeable grain reserves but Uganda holds none and has explicitly rejected doing so, stating that they are expensive and require careful management. Our analysis is that all three countries need to re-examine their policy on food reserves to improve food security for the most vulnerable. Policy towards food reserves should be seen as a complement to other social protection policies.

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Three Lessons from the Ebola Crisis for Sierra Leone’s Government and Investors

Three Lessons from the Ebola Crisis for Sierra Leone’s Government and Investors

Report for Budget Advocacy Network, Sierra Leone (January 2015)

The current Ebola crisis has killed or infected thousands of people and caused massive disruptions to peoples’ lives and Sierra Leone’s economy. This briefing argues that the crisis offers three main lessons to the government and companies working in Sierra Leone. The first is that insufficient spending on health has left the country vulnerable to the spread of Ebola. The second is that the government is giving away too much revenue in tax incentives to foreign investors that should be spent on promoting the health of the country’s people. The third is that companies in Sierra Leone receiving those generous tax incentives should now recognise that these are short-sighted, and that their own self-interest lies in contributing greater tax revenues and championing better public services.

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Sierra Leone: Policy Briefs on Health, Education, Water/Sanitation and Social Protection

Sierra Leone: Policy Briefs on Health, Education, Water/Sanitation and Social Protection

Briefings for Budget Advocacy Network Sierra Leone (December 2014)

These briefings highlight the government of Sierra Leone’s commitments in the health, education, water/sanitation and social protection sectors, the challenges facing these sectors and the government’s budgetary spending. They end by making policy recommendations to improve government spending and policy.

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Health Spending, Illicit Financial Flows and Tax Incentives in Malawi

Health Spending, Illicit Financial Flows and Tax Incentives in Malawi

Joint article in Malawi Medical Journal with Bernadette O’Hare (University of St Andrews, Scotland / College of Medicine, University of Malawi) (November 2014)

Malawi suffers from a high disease burden, with one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world and with more than 1 in 9 children dying before their fifth birthday. This article examines Malawi’s health spending in light of the the revenues it loses through providing tax incentives and through illicit financial flows. Malawi needs to spend around $530 million each year to provide a minimal health package for all its citizens, yet government and donors are spending only around $400 million. At the same time, Malawi is losing nearly $400 million a year from the provision of tax incentives and lost tax income from illicit financial flows out of the country. If these lost revenues were recovered, Malawi could pay for a minimal health package from its own resources. (The weblink to this article is here)

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Moving Backwards or Forwards? Norway’s Approach to Responsible Investment

Moving Backwards or Forwards? Norway’s Approach to Responsible Investment

Report for Forum for Environment and Development (Norway) (October 2014)

In 2013, the Norwegian government began to lobby for certain ‘clarifications’ to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises – the main principles that encourage companies from OECD states to behave responsibly. This lobbying followed an investigation into Norway’s giant Pension Fund related to its investment in South Korean steel manufacturer Posco, which concluded that the Fund had violated the OECD Guidelines. Posco’s project in Odisha, India, is threatening to displace 22,000 people and has been condemned by no less than eight UN special rapporteurs. This report analyses Norway’s stance towards the Guidelines and recommends how the Pension Fund should improve its human rights due diligence.

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