Several agribusiness initiatives have stalled due to a combination of administrative logjams and a hostile political environment that increasingly questions the real motives behind the sudden interest by foreigners in African agriculture.
A recent visit to the district of Salima uncovered how a senior chief displaced poor families when she made shabby land deals with the Dutch company Malawi Mangoes Limited, which is backed by the World Bank and the FMO of the Netherlands.
The financing from the UK's development finance institution will help Jacoma expand its farming operations at its Tropha Estates in Northern Malawi, where it produces high value macadamia nuts, chilli and paprika.
Petition calls for Malawi government to withdraw court case against the People's Land Organisation, which is claiming reparations from the tea estates in Thyolo and Mulanje for the forced labour that their fore parents were subjected to in the estates by the colonial settlers.
The Peoples Land Organisation seeks the local people’s occupation of all idle tea estates land, as well as reparations for the years since 1914 that estates owners occupied the lands and engaged in bonded labour practices.
The organisation has also been demanding from the estates owners a wage rate of £6.13 per hour (about K5 000) per individual for those who were involved in Thangata (bonded labour) between 1914 and 1963.
"Imagine, they started demarcating the land earmarked for selling without our knowledge. Our chiefs jumped the gun because we were supposed to be consulted from the word go other than seeing our land being demarcated"