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Activists raise red flag over Tanzania land deal;The deal could see the eviction of 160,000 h'sehold

Discussion in 'Jukwaa la Sheria (The Law Forum)' started by nngu007, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

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    A Tanzanian farmer. Picture: File By MIKE MANDE

    Posted Saturday, June 30 2012 at 12:40

    An independent watchdog is piling pressure on the United States government to intervene in a deal whereby by US agribusiness corporation AgriSol Energy LLC is taking over 800,000 acres of land in Tanzania's western Rukwa region.

    The deal could see the eviction of 160,000 households who have been living on the land for over 40 years.

    The US-based Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) say they want senior government officials involved in the deal investigated and prosecuted for accepting a deal that will be detrimental to the welfare of Tanzanians.

    On Saturday last week, CCI started a campaign to have the largest land deal in Tanzania's history revoked. The watchdog group has already written to US President Barack Obama expressing their opposition to the deal.

    They pointing out that the Tanzania government is leasing more than 325,000 hectares of land for 99 years without public debate or consent. They added that US tycoon Bruce Rastetter, through his energy firm AgriSol Energy, will invest over $100 million in the project.

    However, Raymond Mbilinyi, acting executive director of the Tanzania Investment Center (TIC) said the deal had not yet been concluded and that TIC will not be able to offer such large chunks of land at one go.

    Mr Mbilinyi said TIC will start by offering only 1,000 hectares after the head of state agrees to the proposed investment, and that no villagers will be evicted pending the project.

    "Currently, in conjunction with the other government organs, we are developing a policy of "land in equity" for the community to benefit from any big project by owning shares in all projects," he said.Under the new policy of land in equity, local communities in Tanzania will be able to own shares in large commercial farming enterprises through local firms to be established in the respective districts, while farmers in the surrounding area will be able to establish outgrowers' scheme.

    However, the memorandum of understanding signed in 2010, which has been seen by The EastAfrican,shows that more than 160,000 former refugees from Burundi who were residing at a camp in the area will be displaced to pave way for the project.

    Hugh Espey, executive director of CCI, maintains the deal will turn as much as 800,000 acres of land into a massive grain-and-livestock operation.

    The whole operation could net AgriSol "as much as $300 million a year from the forcible eviction of subsistence farmers from refugee camps in Tanzania, leasing the newly vacant land from the government at 25 cents an acre, and exporting the vertically integrated, industrial model of corporate agribusiness from Iowa to Tanzania, all duty and tax free."

    Mr Espey said that some Tanzanian public officials accepted trips to the United States sponsored by the Iowa-based AgriSol Energy. "A 2010 blueprint and memorandum of understanding with the Tanzanian government shows AgriSol's original intention to build large industrial farms on land occupied by more than 160,000 Burundian refugees who will be offered $200 for eviction," he said.

    According to emails seen by The EastAfrican last week, top administrators including Tanzania Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda and some government officials visited the Iowa-based firm between 2010 and2011 and were promised sponsorships for university students from Tanzania for programmes at Iowa State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

    In a letter to The EastAfrican last week, the executive director of the California-based policy think tank Oakland Institute, Anuradha Mittal, says that the institute had in June last year exposed the largest land deal in Tanzania, which had been hidden away from public scrutiny and discussion.

    "The project was portrayed as sustainable agriculture, all the while plans were being laid to develop large-scale monocrops, use high levels of chemicals, and even ask for changes in the national biosafety regulations so that genetically modified crops could be grown," she said.

  2. nngu007

    nngu007 JF-Expert Member

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    Kikwete is telling us not to sell our land we will become slaves of our own land; so who is selling those land now?

    Land is Freedom; and they are taking away our freedom; Soon Majority we will be Landless and we will end up being

    cheap labors for the land owners; it is a circle we go back to become the slave and them slave masters; We did hate

    Nyerere, he did not give us TV, Luxury cars, sexy lifestyle but we did own something...
  3. mtotowamjini

    mtotowamjini JF-Expert Member

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    ndio maana trip za US za hawa viongozi haziishi kumbe ndio wanaenda huko kutuuza vizuri
  4. Black Bat

    Black Bat JF-Expert Member

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    kikwete is useless
  5. Mzalendo80

    Mzalendo80 JF-Expert Member

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    He will always stay in our heart JK Nyerere, Nyerere alikuwa Kiongozi Mzalendo asiyependa kuona Mtanzania ananyanyasika kwenye nchi yake. Mpaka 2015 watanzania wengi watakuwa wameathirika na huyu Dhaifu wa Magogoni
  6. asigwa

    asigwa JF-Expert Member

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    tanzania tushauzwa..sijui tutabaki na nini sie........
  7. zungupori

    zungupori Member

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    [h=1]Basu: AgriSol still has a lot to prove[/h]
    Bruce Rastetter and his AgriSol Energy colleagues came to the newspaper recently to rebut criticisms that the corporation, of which he is 30 percent shareholder and managing director, is making a land grab in Tanzania. In spite of their PowerPoint presentation and talking points, the company has more to do to prove its intentions are honorable.
    It was reported that AgriSol officials stood to make $300 million from a deal that would have given it 99-year rights to cultivate land for as little as 25 cents an acre, while forcing the evacuation of refugees living there. AgriSol denies the profit amount, but acknowledges the cheap rent and says it wasn't responsible for the evictions. It claims to have pulled out of that project. Yet the company's website still talks about "discussions with the local and national government officials about developing farms at Katumba and Mishamo in the future."
    For now, the officials say, they are developing a model commercial farm in Kigoma in western Tanzania. They concede 25 cents an acre rent is low, but say the figure is set by statute, since all land is government owned.

    For context, I contacted Mwangi Kimenyi, director of the Brookings Institution's Africa Growth Initiative. "Just because the government says the price is 25 cents - to me, that is totally ridiculous," Kimenyi said. He said the government may be the custodian of that land, but Tanzanian people are considered its rightful owners, and it's not for government to give it away. "Some people will benefit, but the common people will not benefit," he said.
    AgriSol has paid Tanzanian government officials, including one who was in charge of the refugee camps, to be advisers on the project. Rastetter claims others there don't have the know-how. Kimenyi, however, says such payments can amount to outright corruption. He said "a few individuals in government who are not transparent" then negotiate terms that undermine people's rights.
    Rastetter further claims the company plans to invest $100 million over 10 years in infrastructure improvements in Tanzania, including water, power and storage. "That land was worthless without power, electricity, roads," said Henry Akona, AgriSol Tanzania's spokesman. "They need a company like AgriSol to come in and build that."
    But if the Oakland Institute, a California-based think tank that has had researchers in Tanzania investigate the previous AgriSol deal, is correct, AgriSol also demanded the Tanzanian government give it "strategic investor status," which would grant it tax exemptions and a waiver of duties. And they asked the government to commit to constructing a rail link.
    As to the promise of creating water supplies, Kimenyi said he has visited some large investor-owned farms in Africa, such as Del Monte's in Kenya, where water is diverted for the company's use. "They're not interested in what happens downstream," he said.

    Rastetter boasts AgriSol "can be the Iowa of Africa." Is that even feasible? Kimenyi knows Iowa's farms because his son went to Iowa State University. African farmers do need help with technology and increasing productivity, he said. So he sees a place for large farms producing high-yield crops.
    But as a model, he holds up the Clinton Foundation's work in Malawi, where it leases and operates a large, so-called "anchor" farm and uses proceeds to extend credit to small farms. The project helps small farmers aggregate their output, get access to markets for their crops, negotiate prices and buy high-quality seeds and pesticides.
    "It's a large lease but not a land grab, because there are clearly defined objectives," Kimenyi said.
    AgriSol officials speak of doing similar things to help small farmers with eduction and "outgrower" programs. They claimed, in response to the earlier fiasco, that they would build schools and a health clinic and bring jobs. But the Oakland Institute pointed out that the company's business plan and other documents do not mention such plans. "The tragedy," Kimenyi says of some companies coming in, "is that they're even entering agreements that the foods they grow do not have to enter the domestic market." They may not create jobs because they bring their own labor and advanced technologies.
    Up to 70 percent of Africa's population is rural and depends on eating what the land produces. While development is necessary, the traditional, varied crops must be maintained to provide balanced diets, Kimenyi said.
    The number of voices accusing AgriSol of being bad for Tanzania is growing. Whatever comes of the ethics issues involving Rastetter, what's really at stake is whether African lands will be developed to benefit Africa's people or be allowed to be a giant profit-making venture for foreign corporations.
    If one thing has become clear, it's the need to look at the fine print
  8. Chasha Poultry Farm

    Chasha Poultry Farm Verified User

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    Nyie mizania Net zilitolewa bure? Wazungu hata siku moja hawajawahi kutoa misaada Bure, na hiyo ni cha mtoto kuna Ile ya Waarabu wanayo itaka na nazania wanataka kujenga kanch kao huku kwetu
  9. M

    Mkandara Verified User

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    Ukoloni mamboleo una mambo kweli!

    MAMMAMIA JF-Expert Member

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    1. Huo ndo mwanzo tu, baadaye (w)atagawa ardhi ya Watanzania zaidi.
    2. Kila siku nilikuwa ninajiuliza ni nani huyu Chief Mangungu anayegawa ardhi yetu kwa wazungu, kumbe yote yanayoendelea nchini yanapata "go-ahead" ya Rais.

    Najisikia aibu kama raia wa nchi hii, kuwa raisi wangu anatoa ardhi kama yake, mpaka waje wageni (Wamarekani) wamuambie kuwa hivyo afanyavyo sivyo - Kwa mara ya kwanza nalitumia neno DHAIFU likinitoka ndani ya moyo wangu.

    Tanzania tunahitaji wanasiasa makini, hatutaki walafi. Wanasiasa walafi wanazingatia uamuzi wao utakuwa na athari gani katika uchaguzi ujao, wakati Wanasiasa wa makini wanazingatia uamuzi wao utakuwa na athari gani kwa kizazi kijacho. Wanasiasa wetu wanazingatia matumbo yao na uchaguzi ujao, hawazingatii kizazi kijachi kitaishije.

  11. Mwiba

    Mwiba JF-Expert Member

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    We wawache waje tu ,tutawafanyia kuliko WaZimbabwe ,kuliko. Ila tutawawacha mpaka wawe wamewekeza vitu vyenye faida kisha hapo ndio tuawaonyesha umoja ni nguvu.