Colonial plantations are making a comeback in Mozambique

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UNAC | GRAIN

Media release
19 February 2015

For immediate release*

Colonial plantations are making a comeback in Mozambique

There is a colonial-style scramble for Africa's farm lands, and Mozambique's peasants are on the front lines.

A new survey of land deals in Mozambique shows that since 2006 there have been at least 35 land deals with foreign investors for the production of food crops, covering more than half a million ha.

A new survey of land deals in Mozambique shows that since 2006 there have been at least 35 land deals with foreign investors for the production of food crops, covering over 535,000 ha. These figures do not include the concessions for eucalyptus plantations recently provided to two foreign companies (Portucel of Portugal and Green Resources of Norway) covering a total of 666,000 ha of land in Northern Mozambique. (Photo: Erico Waga for GRAIN)

Many of these deals are for lands in the Nacala Corridor, an area spanning 14 million hectares of northern Mozambique, where the government and foreign donors are developing transportation infrastructure and export agriculture.

Over 4.5 million peasant families depend on these lands for their livelihoods and food security. The government and foreign donors say that the development of the Corridor will bring benefits to local communities, but already they are being pushed off their lands to make way for big agribusiness.

"Even before the infrastructure is built, we are seeing a massive wave of land grabs in the area," says Costa Estevao, president of the provincial peasant's union of Nampula.

"Even before the infrastructure is built, we are seeing a massive wave of land grabs in the area," says Costa Estevao, president of the provincial peasant's union of Nampula.

A new report by UNAC and the international organisation GRAIN shows how obscure companies registered in offshore tax havens and connected to Mozambican political elites have been grabbing lands in the Nacala Corridor and extracting wealth in ways reminiscent of the country's colonial days.

"Thousands of farming families have already been displaced, and the lands given to European and US businessmen with clever financial schemes but little experience in agriculture," says Ange David Baimey of GRAIN.

"These land grabs are destroying peoples' livelihoods and contributing nothing to Mozambique's overall development or food security," says Ana Paula Taucale, Vice presidente of UNAC.

UNAC and its more than 100,000 farmer members are calling for a process of genuine agrarian reform across the country to ensure access to land for peasant families and to support their agricultural production.

Read the report: grain.org/e/5137


Contactos de media

Vicente Adriano, UNAC (Maputo, Moçambique)
[email protected]
+258 82 300 1875

Ange David Baimey, GRAIN (Accra, Gana)
[email protected]
+233 269 089 432

Devlin Kuyek, GRAIN (Montreal, Canadá)
[email protected]
+1 514 571 7702

*CORRECTION: an earlier version of this press release mis-stated the number of land deals and the total area covered. We apologise for the error.

Original source: GRAIN
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