Despite violent protests and coup, Daewoo continues to hold cropland in Madagascar

FACEBOOK | June 19, 2009

Despite violent protests that have left more than 100 dead and led to the ouster of a democratically-elected president, Daewoo Logistics Corp. continues to hold 218,000 hectares of cropland in Madagascar, according to a new campaign by Rainforest Rescue.

Last year Daewoo, a South Korean firm, signed a 99-year lease to 1.3 million hectares of agricultural land in Madagascar, roughly half the island nation's arable land. The agreement, signed by the President Marc Ravalomanana, was widely condemned and sparked an uprising that eventually led to a military coup by Andry Rajoelina, the 34-year-old mayor of Madagascar's capital. Shortly after taking control one of Rajoelina's first measures was to repeal the Daewoo deal.

But now Rainforest Rescue reveals that the Daewoo deal may not be as dead as previosly reported, with Daewoo continuing to "surreptitiously hold some 218,000 hectares of appropriated land."

The original deal

As reported last year, Daewoo originally planned to plant corn on 1 million hectares in the arid western part of the island and 300,000 ha (740,000 acres) of oil palm on land in the tropical east, a region that is home to the bulk of Madagascar's rare rainforests. The company would produce the food for export and import workers from South Africa.

The deal was criticized on the grounds that it failed to recognize customary land use by local people and threatened to consume vast areas of cropland in a country that can barely produced enough food to feed itself. Most Malagasy — as the people of Madagascar are known — live on less than a dollar per day and nearly half of the country's children under five years of age are malnourished.
Original source: Mongabay


  1. David Chester
    24 Jun 2009

    When people live in a rural region and are dependent on local crops for their incomes and livelihoods, there is a moral obligation for their government to allow them to make use of the land. If this natural resource is taken away from these people they will starve and die. One cannot manage without having access to land and it is a common right for all Men (and Women) to be able to make use of their surroundings and not to be excluded from the land. Any government or monopolist who make a claim to this natural resource is committing a criminal act against the local population which may even be classes as a genocidal one, depending on the scale of the denial. To oppose this socially unjust behavour is nessary, and it can result in bloodshed and exile.

Post a comment


Email address (optional - if you want a reply)