Open Letter from Mozambican civil society organisations and movements to the presidents of Mozambique and Brazil and the Prime Minister of Japan

Maputo, May 28, 2013 | Português
Opposition to the ProSavana project in Northen Mozambique is intensifying.

His Excellency the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza
Her Excellency the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff
His Excellency the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe

Subject: Open Letter to Urgently Stop and Reflect on the ProSavana Programme


The Government of the Republic of Mozambique, in partnership with the Governments of the Federative Republic of Brazil and Japan, officially launched the ProSavana Programme in April 2011. The programme is the result of a trilateral partnership of the three governments with the purpose of, purportedly, promoting the development of agriculture in the tropical savannas of the Nacala Corridor in northern Mozambique.

The entry and implementation strategy of ProSavana is based on, justifiably, the urgent need to fight poverty and the national and human imperative of promoting the economic, social and cultural development of our country. Or at least, these have been the main arguments used by the Government of Mozambique to justify its option to pursue a policy of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the subsequent deployment of large investments in mining, hydrocarbons, monoculture tree plantations and agribusiness for the production of commodities.

We, the rural populations, families from the communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and Mozambican civil society, recognising the importance and urgency of combating poverty and promoting sustainable and sovereign development, believe it is timely and crucial to voice our concerns and proposals in relation to the ProSavana Programme.

The ProSavana Programme is already being implemented through its 'Quick Impact Projects' component, without the Environmental Impact Assessment Study ever having been carried out, publicly discussed and approved, one of the main and essential requirements of Mozambican legislation for the implementation of projects of this size, normally classified as Category A.

The breadth and grandeur of the ProSavana Programme contrast with the failure of the law and the total absence of a deep, broad, transparent and democratic public debate, preventing us, (small-scale farmers, families and the population), in this way, from exercising our constitutional right of access to information, consultation, participation and informed consent on a matter of great social, economic and environmental relevance with direct impact on our lives.

However, since September 2012, we have been conducting an extensive debate and wide-reaching meetings with various sectors of Mozambican society. According to the latest documents we had access to, the ProSavana Programme is a mega partnership between the Governments of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan, which will cover an estimated area of ​​14.5 million hectares of land in 19 districts of the provinces of Niassa, Nampula and Zambézia, allegedly intended for the development of large-scale agriculture in tropical savannas, located along the Nacala Development Corridor.

After several discussions at community level in the districts covered by this programme, with Mozambican Government authorities, diplomatic missions of Brazil and Japan and their international cooperation agencies (Brazilian Cooperation Agency-ABC, and the International Cooperation Agency of Japan-JICA), we find that there are many discrepancies and contradictions in the sparse information and documents available, which are indications and evidence to confirm the existence of defects in the programme design; irregularities in the alleged process of public consultation and participation; serious and imminent threat of usurpation of rural populations' lands and forced removal of communities from areas that they currently occupy.

President of Mozambique, President of Brazil and Prime Minister of Japan, international cooperation must be anchored on the basis of the interests and aspirations of people to build a world of greater justice and solidarity. However, the ProSavana Programme does not abide by these principles and those driving it do not propose, much less show themselves to be available to discuss in an open manner, the substantive issues associated with the development of agriculture in our country.

President Armando Guebuza, we would like to recall that Your Excellency, along with millions of Mozambicans, men and women, sacrificed much of your youth, fighting to liberate the people and the land from colonial oppression. Since those hard times, rural populations, with their feet firmly on the ground, took it upon themselves to produce food for the Mozambican nation, raising the country from the rubble of war to building an independent and just society characterised by solidarity, where everyone could feel that they are the children of this liberated land.

President Guebuza, more than 80% of the Mozambican population depends on family farming for its livelihood, accounting for the production of more than 90% of the country's food. ProSavana is a tool for creating optimal conditions for multinational corporations to enter the country, which will inevitably rob rural families of their autonomy and disrupt the small-scale food production systems, which could cause the emergence of landless families and increased food insecurity, i.e., the loss of the greatest achievements of our National Independence.

President Dilma Rousseff, solidarity between the peoples of Mozambique and Brazil comes from the difficult times of the national liberation struggle, through national reconstruction during and after the 16 years of war that Mozambique went through. More than anyone, President Dilma you suffered oppression and were a victim of the military dictatorship in Brazil and knows the price of freedom. Currently, two-thirds of the food consumed in Brazil is produced by rural populations and not by the corporations that the Brazilian Government is exporting to Mozambique through ProSavana.

President Dilma Rousseff, how is it justified that the Brazilian Government does not give priority to the Food Acquisition Programme in Mozambique, which we rural populations support and encourage? Paradoxically, all financial, material and human resources at various levels are allocated to agribusiness development promoted by ProSavana. How is it that international cooperation between Brazil, Mozambique and Japan, which should promote solidarity among peoples, is converted into an instrument to facilitate obscure commercial transactions and promote the grabbing of community land, which we use in the age-old manner to produce food for the Mozambican nation and beyond?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan, through JICA, for decades contributed to the development of agriculture and other sectors in our country. We repudiate the current policy of the Japanese Government's cooperation with Mozambique in the agrarian sector. More than the investment in mega infrastructure in the Nacala Corridor to allow the outflow of agricultural commodities through the port of Nacala, as well as financial and human support to ProSavana, it is our understanding that the Japanese venture should focus on small-scale agriculture, the only one capable of producing adequate food in the quantities needed for the Mozambican population, as well as promoting sustainable and inclusive development.

Esteemed representatives of the people of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan, we live a phase in history marked by growing demand by and expansion of large financial groups and multinational corporations through appropriation and control of natural resources globally, transforming these into commodities and claiming these as a business opportunities.

Excellencies, on the strength of the facts presented, we rural populations of Mozambique, families from the rural communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and civil society, denounce and repudiate as a matter of urgency:
  • The manipulation of information and intimidation of communities and civil society organisations who oppose ProSavana by presenting sustainable alternatives for the agricultural sector;
  • The imminent process of usurpation of the land of local communities by Brazilian, Japanese and local corporations, as well as those of other nations;
  • ProSavana is based on increasing production and productivity based on export monocultures (maize, soybean, cassava, cotton, sugar cane, etc.), which aims to integrate rural populations in the production process exclusively controlled by multinational corporations and multilateral financial institutions, destroying family farming systems;
  • The importation into Mozambique of the built-in contradictions of the development model of Brazilian agriculture.

Despite the accusations presented above, we rural populations of Mozambique, families from the rural communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and civil society, request and demand urgent intervention of Your Excellencies, President of Mozambique, President of Brazil and Prime Minister of Japan, as the legitimate representatives of your people, in order to urgently halt the intervention logic of the ProSavana Programme, which will have irreversible negative impacts for rural households such as:
  •     The emergence of landless families and communities in Mozambique as a result of the processes of land expropriations and consequent resettlement;
  •     Frequent upheavals and socio-environmental conflicts in communities along the Nacala Corridor, and beyond;
  •     Worsening and deepening poverty among families of rural communities and reduced alternatives for livelihoods and existence;
  •     Destruction of the production systems of rural families and consequently food insecurity;
  •     Increased corruption and conflicts of interest;
  •     Pollution of ecosystems, soil and water resources as a result of excessive and uncontrolled use of pesticides, chemical fertilisers and other toxic substances;
  •     Ecological imbalance as a result of extensive clearing of forests to make way for agribusiness mega projects.

Thus, we small-scale farmers, families from the communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and national civil society signatories to this Open Letter, publicly express our indignation and outrage at the way the ProSavana Programme has been designed and is being implemented on our lands and the communities of our country.

We advocate for the development of agriculture based on production systems, rather than products, i.e., the non-destruction of the family method of production, which over and above economic issues also incorporates specifically the way of occupation of geographic spaces, the social and anthropological dimension that has proved very sustainable throughout the history of mankind.

The social movements and organisations signatories to this Open Letter turn to Your Excellencies, President Armando Guebuza, President Dilma Rousseff and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in your capacity as Heads of Government and State and legitimate representatives of the peoples of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan to see to it:
  •     That all necessary measures are taken to immediately suspend all activities and projects under way in the tropical savannas of the Nacala Development Corridor within the scope of the implementation of the ProSavana Programme;
  •     That the Government of Mozambique see to it that an inclusive and democratic mechanism is set up for the creation of an official broad dialogue with all sectors of Mozambican society, particularly small-scale farmers, rural people, Corridor communities, religious organisations and civil society with the aim of defining their real needs, aspirations and priorities in the national development matrix and agenda;
  •     That all human, material and financial resources allocated to the ProSavana Programme be reallocated to efforts to define and implement a National Plan for the Support of Sustainable Family Farming (the family system), advocated for more than two decades by rural families throughout the Republic of Mozambique with the aim of supporting and guaranteeing food sovereignty for the more than 16 million Mozambicans for whom agriculture is the main means of livelihood;
  •     That the Mozambican Government prioritise food sovereignty, conservation agriculture and agro-ecology as the only sustainable solutions for reducing hunger and promoting proper nutrition;
  •     That the Mozambican Government adopt policies for the agricultural sector focused on support for small-scale agriculture, whose priorities are based on access to rural credit, farming extension services, irrigation, giving value to native seeds that are resistant to climate change, rural infrastructure linked to the creation of productive capacity and policies that support and promote the commercialisation of rural production.
Finally and according to the statement above, we Mozambican small-scale farmers, families from the rural communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and civil society, demand cooperation among countries based on the genuine interests and aspirations of the people, a cooperation that serves the promotion of a more just and caring society. We dream of a better and viable Mozambique, where all Mozambicans men and women can feel that they are the children of this land, united and engaged in the construction of a state whose sovereignty comes from and resides in the people.

Maputo, on this, the 28th day of May, 2013

Media Contacts:

Jeremias Filipe Vunjanhe:
Mob: +258-823911238
email: [email protected]

Alexandre Silva Dunduro:
Mob: +258-828686690
Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

A. Muagerere:
Mob:+258/)-82606426 / Fax:262863
email: [email protected]

Signatory Mozambican organisations/ social movements:

1. Acção Académica para o Desenvolvimento das Comunidades Rurais (ADECRU)
2. Associação de Apoio e Assistência Jurídica as Comunidades (AAAJC) -Tete
3. Associação Nacional de Extensão Rural (AENA)
4. Associação de Cooperação para o Desenvolvimento (ACOORD)
6. Caritas Diocesana de Lichinga-Niassa
7. Conselho Cristão de Moçambique (CCM)- Niassa
8. ESTAMOS - Organização Comunitária
10. Justiça Ambiental/Friends of The Earth Mozambique
11. Fórum Mulher
12. Fórum das Organizações Não Governamentais do Niassa (FONAGNI)
13. Fórum Terra-Nampula
14. Fórum das Organizações Não Governamentais de Gaza (FONG)
15. Kulima
16. Liga Moçambicana de Direitos Humanos-LDH
17. Livaningo
18. Organização para Desenvolvimento Sustentável (OLIPA-ODES)
19. Organização Rural de Ajuda Mútua (ORAM)-Delegação de Nampula
20. Organização Rural de Ajuda Mútua (ORAM)- Delegação de Lichinga-Niassa
21. Plataforma Provincial da Sociedade Civil de Nampula
22. Rede de Organizações para o Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável (ROADS) Niassa
23. União Nacional de Camponeses-UNAC

Signatory international organisations/social movements:

1. Alter Trade Japan Inc.- Japan
2. Amigos da Terra Brasil
3. Articulação Nacional de Agroecologia (ANA) -Brasil
4. Associação Brasileira de ONGs (Abong )
5. Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens (ATTAC) -Japan  
6. Africa Japan Forum (AJF) -Japan
7. Alternative People's Linkage in Asia (APLA) -Japan
8. Association of Support for People in West Africa (SUPA) -Japan
9. Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT) -Brasil
10. Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT) -Brasil
11. Comissão Pastoral da Terra (MT) -Brasil
12. Confederação Nacional de Trabalhadores de Agricultura (CONTAG) -Brasil
13. FASE - Solidariedade e Educação -Brasil
14. Federação dos Trabalhadores da Agricultura Familiar (FETRAF) - Brasil
15. Federação dos Estudantes de Agronomia do Brasil (FEAB)
16. Fórum Mato-grossense de Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento (FORMAD) -Brasil
17.  Fórum de Direitos Humanos e da Terra do Mato Grosso (FDHT-MT) -Brasil
18. Fórum Brasileiro de Soberania e Segurança alimentar e Nutricional (FBSSAN) -Brasil
19. Fórum Mudanças Climáticas e Justiça Social do Brasil
20. Fórum de Lutas de Cáceres - MT-Brasil
21. GRAIN International
22. Grupo Pesquisador em Educação Ambiental, Comunicação e Arte (GPEA/UFMT) -Brasil
23. Grupo raízes -Brasil
24. Instituto Políticas Alternativas para o Cone Sul (PACS) -Brasil
25. Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Económicas (Ibase) - Brasil
26. Instituto Caracol (iC) -Brasil
27. Instituto de Estudos Socioeconómicos do Brasil (Inesc)
28. Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) -Japan
29. Justiça Global-Brasil
30. La Via Campesina- Região África 1
31. Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra-Brasil
32. Movimento Mundial pelas Florestas Tropicais (WRM) -Uruguai
33. Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas (MMC) – Brasil
34. Movimentos dos Pequenos Agricultores (MPA) -Brasil
35. Mozambique Kaihatsu wo Kangaeru Shiminno Kai - Japan
36. Network for Rural-Urban Cooperation  -Japan
37. No-Pesticides Action Network in Tokyo(NPANT)- Japan
38. ODA Reform Network (ODA-Net) - Japan
39. Rede Brasileira Pela Integração dos Povos (REBRIP)
40. Rede Axé Dudu-Brasil
41. Rede Mato-Grossense de Educação Ambiental (REMTEA) -Brasil
42. Sociedade fé e vida-Brasil
43. Vida Brasil

Individual signatories:

1. Aya Yaehata - Nippon University-Japan
2. Ayako Koike - WE21 Japan
3. Aki Miyanishi - Japan International Volunteer Center
4. Ayako Fujii - WE21 Japan
5. Bunjiro Hara - Japan
6. Daisuke Tsubouchi - Japan
7. Dr. Makiko Sakai - Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Senior Lecturer-Japan
8. Dr. Sayaka FUNADA-CLASSEN, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies-Japan
9. Dr. Tatsuo Hayashi - AJF, President-Japan
10. Eri Sakuma - Japan
11. Emi Yahiro - Japan
12. Fumiko Hakoyama - Japan
13. Hirano Masahito - Japan International Volunteer Center-Japan
14. Hiroaki Nagaoka - Community Action Organisation Development, Chairperson - Japan
15. Hiroshi Taniyama - Japan International Volunteer Center-Japan
16. Igor Fuser: Professor da Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC), São Bernardo do Campo - Brasil
17. Izumi Koide - Tokyo University of Foreign Studies-Japan
18. Jacques Depelchi
19. Kanako Hishizaki -Japan
20. Kazuhito Suga - Research & Action for Community Governance -Japan
21. Kazuo Tsurumi - Japan
22. Kazushi Matsumoto - Japan  
23. Keito Fukaya - Tokyo University of Foreign Studies-Japan
24. Kumiko Makino-Yamashita - Japan
25. Kyoko Matsui - Keio University-Japan
26. Madoka Kami - Tokyo University of Foreign Studies-Japan
27. Mamiko Yoshizawa - APLA-Japan
28. Mamoru Mozumi - Africa Japan Forum-Japan
29. Maria de Lourdes Torcato - Maputo - Moçambique
30. Mariko Hayashi - Japan
31. Masako Yonekawa - Rikkyo University, specially  appointed associate professor -Japan
32. Masato Aso-Japan
33. Miki Tetsuka - Utsunomiya University-Japan
34. Misa Kanegae - Meijigakuin University-Japan
35. Mitsutaka Hirano - SJF-Japan
36. Miyuki Otomo - Yokohama de TICAD wo Kangaeru Kai-Japan
37. Miyuki Tomari - Biomass Industrial Society Network-Japan
38. Mizuki Sano - Tsuda College-Japan
39. Nahoko Inada -Japan
40. Naoko Tsuyama - Africa Japan Forum / G-CAP Japan, President-Japan
41. Naoko Watanabe - JVC, South Africa Program Officer-Japan
42. Naomi Kumazawa -Japan
43. Noriko Hirose - Japan International Volunteer Center-Japan
44. Osamu Tsuchida -Japan 
45. Prof. Dr. Masao Yoshida - Japan
46. Prof. Masamichi Chiyoura – Dokkyo University, Emeritus Professor - Japan
47. Prof. Dr. Syuji Hisano - Kyoto University-Japan
48. Prof. Dr. Yoshiaki Nishikawa - Ryukoku University -Japan
49. Prof. Makoto Katsumata - Meijigakuin Univercity, Professor-Japan
50. Prof. Minoru Obayashi-Japan
51. Rina Hirano - Tokyo University of Foreign Studies-Japan
52. Ryota Takahashi - University of Tsukuba-Japan
53. Saito Ryoichiro - Africa Japan Forum, Secretary General -Japan
54. Saki Yamauchi - Tsuda College-Japan
55. Sayaka Arimatsu-Japan
56. Shigeta Yuko - WE21 Japan
57. Sumiko Yamanobe -Japan
58. Susumu Sunaoshi - ATTAC Japan
59. Syunsuke Imaizumi-Japan
60. Takaharu Miyashita - Consultant-Japan
61. Takahiro Utsumi - Development consultant-Japan
62. Takatoshi Hasebe - Japan International Volunteer Center-Japan
63. Takeshi Fujii - Japan International Volunteer Center, member-Japan
64. Tomaso Fernando-Italy
65. Tomonori Shimoda – Japan International Volunteer Center-Japan
66. Tsuyoshi Ito - ICNET LIMITED-Japan
67. Yasuo Aonishi - Centro de Acción para el Desarrollos Derecho-Japan
68. Yawara Suzuki - Tokyo University of Foreign Studies-Japan
69. Yoko Akimoto - ATTAC Japan
70. Yuki Morita - WE21 Japan
71. Yuko Nakano-Japan
72. Wakiko Yoneda - Obirin University-Japan
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