WB’s seven principles are seven deadly sins of global landgrabbing and against farmers’ interests

Photo: Danny Pata

Asian Peasant Coalition | 29 April 2010


Erpan Faryadi, APC Vice-chairperson for Internal Affairs

Danilo Ramos, APC and KMP Secretary-General

The Asia-wide farmers’ group, Asian Peasant Coalition (APC) and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP, Peasant Movement of the Philippines) slammed World Bank’s (WB) “seven principles” of making socially-acceptable land deals and equated it to a bogus land reform program of a WB-puppet government such as Philippines’ Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government.

“They are all lip-service and there is no guarantee of securing farmers’ interests, they intend to confuse and displace peasants out of their farms or ripping off of their rights,” said Danilo Ramos, APC and KMP Secretary-General in a  joint statement.

“This is not new, this is what all they have doing since the Green Revolution era in the Philippines and in Asia.  Only this is on a bigger and global scale,” said Ramos.

The World Bank is promoting its principles for “responsible” agro-enterprises targeting countries all over the world.  The 20 countries being targeted for land grabs include Benin, Congo, Ethiopia, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sudan, Tanzania, Zambia, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Pakistan, Ukraine, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Paraguay and Peru.

“The first principle talks about respect and recognition of the farmers over the lands.  This is a naive and outright lie as farmers have experienced gross violations of their rights even at implementation of their national laws pushed by puppet governments.  Thus, WB has no legal responsibility to realize this so-called principle,” said Ramos.

The second principle states that investment should not jeopardize food security but rather strengthen it.  International farmers groups and institutions are all aware that agro-business pushed by rich countries are for the interests of the latter, such as for food production, industrial raw materials sourcing, bio-fuels and more.  There is no legal measure to oblige the foreign country and it is very impossible to implement to a country whose government puts income-generation as primary than the interest of local farmers.

The other principles mainly talks about the mechanics of implementing agro-businesses such as monitoring, accountability, consultation, respect to rule of local laws, social impacts and environmental impacts.

“All these principles sounded like a bogus land reform law, such as the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program Extension with ‘Reforms’ or CARPer in the Philippines.  The words are pretty but heavy as steel in ridding off farmers rights over the lands,” said Ramos.

“These seven principles are actually seven deadly sins against the farmers as they would surely cause dislocations, rights abuses, oppression and exploitation to farmers globally,” he said.

“In Indonesia, the WB on landgrabbing works through the government’s agricultural and land policies. Thus, the recent law on industrial agriculture which give agri-industry companies to invest more in agriculture is one of the example how this WB works. The concrete project under going is Merauke Energy and Food Estate in Papua, where the Indonesian government uses the new law on agriculture to develop 1.6 million hectares of primary forest to be converted into the integrated agrofuels and food estate,” said Erpan Faryadi, APC Vice-chairperson  for Internal Affairs based in Indonesia and also the secretary general of Alliansi Gerakan Reforma Agraria (AGRA)

“We are in a new era of further exploitation of imperialism to the peoples of the world.  They are not contented of extracting super-profits through industrial production and marketing their finished products, but now directly producing their food, industrial and energy requirements on poor countries’ soil,” Ramos said.

"Global land grabbing that is promoted by the WB will further destroy the livelihood of small farmers and landless peasants. Therefore, the people especially the food producers and landless peasants have to resist this new phenomena of global land grabbing," ended Faryadi.

“This is a new basis for our further unity and cooperation.  We call on all farmers all over the world to be vigilant and prepare to defend your rights on your land as rich and capitalist countries are vultures flying around for lands,” Ramos called. #

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