October 20, 2011 To: Mizengo P. Pinda, Prime Minister, United Republic of Tanzania Bruce Rastetter, co-founder and Managing Director, AgriSol Energy Russell Stidolph, co-founder and Managing Director, AgriSol Energy Blake Franklin, co-founder and Managing Director, AgriSol Energy Iddi Mohammed Simba, Chairman, AgriSol Energy Tanzania??? Bertram Eyakuze, co-founder, Serengeti Advisers Peter Halloran, Managing Director, Pharos Ag Fund Subject: We Urge You: Do Not Displace 162,000 People in Tanzania Dear Sirs: Sierra Club has recently become aware of plans by AgriSol Energy to acquire 1250 square miles (3250 square kilometers, 800,000 acres) of land in Tanzania, with plans to introduce biofuel production and large-scale industrial agriculture, including introduction of genetically modified crops. We believe that the people most directly affected, including those living on this land, have not been sufficiently apprised or involved in this project which involves relocation of populations, mechanized agriculture, radically restructured economic relationships and genetically engineered crops. Partners such as AgriSol Energy Tanzania / Tanzania Advisors may put a local face on foreign interests but this will not work to the long-term benefit of Tanzania or Tanzanian peoples' livelihoods. Our concerns include that this will be a 99 year lease on unfavorable terms, a step back towards Tanzania's colonial past; that, reportedly, disputes are to be arbitrated under International Chamber of Commerce rules in London, which will further disempower local peoples; that AgriSol has demanded a change from the current prohibition of genetically engineered crops which threaten the local biodiversity and contaminate local crop species; and that biofuel production will subtract from the production of local food calories in favor of an export-oriented product. On behalf of Sierra Club's more than one million supporters in the U.S. and Canada, we urge you to step away from this ill-advised project. Sincerely, Richard A. Cellarius, International Vice President 85 Second Street, Second Floor San Francisco, CA 94105-3441, U.S.A. 1 Rue Nicholas Street, Suite 412, Ottawa ON K1N 7B7, Canada Background of the problem Iowa-based investor Bruce Rastetter and fellow investors in the industrial agricultural corporation AgriSol Energy have their sights on 800,000 acres (325,000 hectares) of land in Tanzania that is home to 162,000 people. The proposed site is inhabited by former refugees from neighboring Burundi. Most of the residents, several generations of families who have successfully re-established their lives by developing and farming the land over the last 40 years, will be displaced against their will. They will lose their livelihoods and their community. Once they are gone, Agrisol Energy will move in. Despite rising international criticism of the proposed plan to evict the residents in the proposed lease areas for foreign investors, the Tanzanian government plans to move forward with the project. AgriSol has promoted this large-scale land acquisition as a project to transform Tanzania into a "regional agricultural powerhouse" by combining the country's abundant agricultural natural resources with "modern" farming practices, including the use of genetically modified crops. Unfortunately, AgriSol's plans--which include seeking Strategic Investor Status from the Tanzanian government that would grant them tax holidays and other critical investment incentives (including waiver of duties on agricultural and industrial equipment supplies, export guarantees, and certainty for use of GMO and Biotech and production of biofuels), while generating tremendous profit for the investors will do little, if anything, for Tanzanians. On the contrary, it is likely that if this land deal goes ahead it will set a precedent for future land rights abuses. More details can be found in the Oakland Institute Brief, AgriSol Energy and Pharos Global Agriculture Fund's Land Deal in Tanzania. There is fear that this project could move quickly forward unless the Tanzanian government and the US investors realize that the world is watching. In short, it is argued that this investment is not "socially responsible agricultural investment."