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End intimidation around Sierra Leone oil palm project

Green Scenery, Oakland Institute, GRAIN and others | 03 June 2013 | Other publications

Groups around the world accuse European business magnates Vincent Bolloré and Hubert Fabri of using intimidation to silence local opposition to an African land grab.

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A broad mobilisation of students, peasants, indigenous networks, scientists and both national and international organisations has succeeded in blocking the release of GM maize in Mexico, the centre of origin for one of humanity's four most important crops.

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Myths and outright lies about the alleged benefits of genetically engineered crops (GE crops or GMOs) persist only because the multinationals that profit from them have put so much effort into spreading them around. They want you to believe that GMOs will feed the world; that they are more productive; that they will eliminate the use of agrichemicals; that they can coexist with other crops, and that they are perfectly safe for humans and the environment. False in every case.

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Leaked ProSAVANA Master Plan confirms worst fears

Justiça Ambiental! et al | 30 April 2013 | Other publications

Civil society groups have finally seen a leaked copy of the most recent version of the Master Plan for the ProSAVANA programme, dated March 2013. The copy confirms that the governments of Japan, Brazil and Mozambique are secretly paving the way for a massive land grab in Northern Mozambique.

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Ochen Solomon is one of four Ugandan schoolboys who wrote essays about the effects of land grabbing on the lives of their families and community as part of the annual Essay Contest for Children and Young People of African Descent 2013. This London-originated initiative encourages and supports educational development in children aged 7 to 16 years in Africa and across the African diaspora.

Ochen and his schoolmates chose to read GRAIN's report, "Squeezing Africa Dry" from a list of documents on contemporary issues.

The questions they had to address were: What are your views on the topic of land grabbing? What are your solutions to these challenges? What is your family, or people you know, doing about it?

They then conducted their own independent research on their chosen topic, and then provided their perspective on it.

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Karuturi guilty of tax evasion

Tax Justice Network et al | 22 April 2013 | Other publications

The Kenyan government has found Karuturi Global Ltd, the world's biggest producer of cut roses, guilty of tax evasion. This is the first time an African government has brought a large multinational company to court for transfer mispricing through a fully public process.

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The G8 countries are implementing a New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in six African countries that will facilitate the transfer of control over African agriculture from peasants to foreign agribusiness.

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Governments in a number of countries are trying to address concerns about land grabbing by closing their borders to foreign investors. Are these restrictions effective?

Not really, says GRAIN. They give the impression that something is being done at the highest level and appeal to nationalist or pro-sovereignty sentiments. But they are very narrow approaches to a complex problem and often full of back doors and loopholes.

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Biofuels production has pushed farming and forest communities off their land from Colombia to Sierra Leone to Indonesia, threatening livelihoods and food security. Meanwhile, biofuels are failing to achieve promised reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, with some found to have a worse carbon footprint than conventional fossil fuel.

Diverting precious farmland to the production of fuel for cars is plainly irresponsible. All the more so since these lands are often home to the very rural communities whose food systems provide the world with the models needed to reverse the environmental crisis that fossil fuels have provoked.

EU biofuels mandates have already prompted companies to grab 17 million hectares of land around the world, a figure that could rise to over 40 million hectares by 2020.

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Imagine 14 million hectares – bigger than Switzerland and Austria combined – home to millions of Mozambican farming families practicing shifting cultivation. Now imagine a foreign consultant saying that all of this is empty land. A foreign company saying it will come to farm all of it. Yet another foreign company saying it will ship everything produced out of there. And the country's president agreeing to all of this, selling all 14 million hectares for a dollar per hectare.

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