The new land grabbing phenomenon started in earnest in the year 2000, and began to spiral out of control from 2004. The deals that have been concluded so far, place no obligations on the land grabbers. Agreements concerning thousands of hectares of farm land are generally just two to four pages long, and lack transparency, oversight regulations and environmental safeguards. They do not protect the small holding native farmers who lose their customary rights to their land in the deals.
The size of the deals so far is mind boggling. Foreigners are buying off Africa for pittance from stupid, ill-informed, selfish African political leaders, looking for personal gains. They put the tokens they collect from the deals, in their private accounts in Switzerland. A 2008 study of the media reports on foreigners' recent land acquisitions in Africa by GRAIN, a non-governmental organization, and others, suggest that some 40mn hectares of farm land have been or are being grabbed by foreign interest groups. Some 10mn hectares of these have been given away for a variety of food crops and live stock farming in the Republic of Congo. Another 6mn hectares have been signed off in neighbouring countries. The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), a UK research outfit, estimates that at least 2.5mn hectares have been grabbed by foreign entities since 2004 in Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Mali and Sudan. The report claims that the scale of the leases is unprecedented and that they do not have complete data on the cases because of the secrecy surrounding the deals. Commercial enterprises, many of them European as well as Chinese companies have been in the lead in cultivating Jatropha, Sorghum, and other bio-fuels, in countries such as Madagascar, Mozambique and Tanzania.
In Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, for example, only some 12 per cent of arable land is actually cultivated, so the political leaders feel they can give the rest away cheaply and without safeguards, to foreign entities. The Chinese are at the moment negotiating to lease 2.8mn hectares in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to grow oil palm, and a further 2mn hectares in Zambia, to grow Jatropha (a crop used for bio-fuels). In Mozambique, local opposition to a Chinese project to develop 100,000 hectares was based on plans to import Chinese labour.
China sees Africa as virgin land to relocate some of her teaming population. Indians too are moving into Africa. Their companies, backed by their government, have invested $1.5bn in Ethiopia, to meet rising domestic food and animal feed demand in India.
A deal by South Korea's Daewoo Corporation to lease 1.3mn hectares of land was a key factor in building support for the overthrow of Madagascar's President, Marc Ravalomanana, in March 2009. Sudan has agreed to lease 690,000 hectares of land to South Korea to grow wheat.
In Kenya, the government leaders there are trying to bend the rules to overcome local opposition to a proposal to give Qatar, right over some 40,000 hectares of land, in the Tana River Valley, in return for building a deep-sea port. Saudi Arabia has not been left out of all these. Saudi has already grabbed 100,000 hectares to grow corn and wheat in Toshika, Southern Egypt, and yet unspecified size of land, (because of on-going pogrom), from the displaced or eliminated African owners of the land in Southern Sudan. They have moved their peasant farmers into all the land seized from the native Africans driven out of Darfur.
NAIWU OSAHON Hon. Khu Mkuu (Leader) World Pan-African Movement); Ameer Spiritual (Spiritual Prince) of the African race; MSc. (Salford); Dip.M.S; G.I.P.M; Dip.I.A (Liv.); D. Inst. M; G. Inst. M; G.I.W.M; A.M.N.I.M. Poet, Author of the magnum opus: 'The end of knowledge'. One of the world's leading authors of children's books; Awarded; key to the city of Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Honourary Councilmanship, Memphis City Council; Honourary Citizenship, County of Shelby; Honourary Commissionership, County of Shelby, Tennessee; and a silver shield trophy by Morehouse College, USA, for activities to unite and uplift the African race.
Naiwu Osahon: the Sage of the New World Order, renowned author, philosopher of science, mystique, leader of the world Pan-African Movement.
By Naiwu Osahon