Category Archives: Land leases

Land grabs in Cambodia classic case of David and Goliath

PHNOM PENH: Cambodia’s economy may be exhibiting robust growth, but to those who have lost their lands to commercial developers and other businesses, it’s no consolation at all.

In April, the Asian Development Bank said while the growth of Cambodia’s economy will slightly moderate in 2012, it will pick up again and expand 7% in 2013 on strong exports, growing services and more stable economic outlook.

Cambodia’s  government has been urging investors to sink in money into the economy to be able to sustain growth.

But STAR Kampuchea, a Phnom Pehn-based NGO, said  companies’ answer to the call for investments has resulted in the poor losing their lands to powerful private companies. Read the rest of this entry

At the Nexus of Agrofuels, Land Grabs and Hunger – Part 1 – IPS

At the Nexus of Agrofuels, Land Grabs and Hunger – Part 1
By Kanya D’Almeida

WASHINGTON, Dec 6, 2011 (IPS) – While the United Nations climate talks in Durban enter their ninth day of political feet-dragging, researchers and peasants around the world are busy connecting the dots between so- called “green climate solutions”, industrialised agriculture and chronic hunger.

New research released Tuesday by the U.S.-based Oakland Institute (OI) reveals the nexus between “false” fuel alternatives such as the development of agrofuels and agroforests and the massive land grab underway in Africa that is stripping thousands of peasants of their land and means of subsistence.

The research cites the hypocrisy of major industrialised actors like the U.S. and the European Union, as well the World Bank Group (WBG) and other development agencies for pouring money into assisting victims of famine and natural disasters, all the while making massive investments in schemes that heat the earth and stifle local development.

Industrial agriculture and biofuels: neither clean nor green

Industrialised agricultural practices currently produce 13.5 percent of all green house gas emissions, mostly methane and nitrous oxide. The latter is emitted in huge doses through the spraying of fertiliser, which is used 800 times more frequently today than it was 100 years ago.

The production of fertilisers themselves requires the burning up of fossil fuels, emitting up to 41 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually according to the U.N. Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO).

Read More…At the Nexus of Agrofuels, Land Grabs and Hunger – Part 1 – IPS

Indonesian NGO coalition to stage protest during ASEAN summit


A number of NGOs and university students will stage a demonstration and read a declaration to express their stance on the ASEAN summit. They will hold the protest in front of the consulate general buildings of the US and Japan in Denpasar, since it is impossible to hold it in Nusa Dua where the summit is taking place, due to tight security.

To prepare the declaration, around 20 local institutions participated in a seminar about “building a sovereign regionalism and opposing the domination of global capitalism” in Denpasar on Wednesday.

At the seminar, which was organized by Udayana University’s Law School, they discussed their stance relating to the ASEAN summit, particularly about what is at stake, and a range of issues about East Asia.

They also discussed the impact of ASEAN upon regional security and the Indonesian people in general, as well as the problems facing agricultural, plantation and fishery sectors in connection to the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

The issue of global capitalism in ASEAN, labor, migrant workers and education were also discussed during the seminar.

M. Teguh Surya from the Indonesian Environment Forum (WALHI) criticized the Master Plan on the Acceleration and Expansion of Indonesian Economic Development 2011-2025, which he considered neglected the impact of environmental damage.

“Indonesia, just like other ASEAN countries, has been a supplier of natural resources to global industries, and this is stated in the master plan, but there is no concern regarding the environmental damage resulting from this.”

He said that the document on the acceleration of the economy only favors the interests of advanced countries, such as Japan, Korea and China.

“Indonesia is very prone to natural resource exploitation, which could marginalize 90 percent of its people if there is no protection [from the government].”

He cited the economic acceleration in Bali, which focused on tourism. “Tourism development has caused changes in spatial planning policy, and this is something that could bring the island to collapse. One of the clear examples is the water crisis experienced on the island.”

Bonnie Setiawan, executive director of Alternative to Globalization (RAG) and a researcher with the Institute for Global Justice, said the new regime in ASEAN has allowed neocolonialism to flourish.

“Indonesia, which supplies low-paid laborers and raw materials, is very open to imports and foreign investment from international corporations,” he said.

ASEAN has been part of the global supply chain by “revising their structures, norms and regulations”, he added.#

Cambodian rights group says tax breaks leading to forced evictions

Monday, August 16, 2010
Radio Australia News

A land rights organisation in Cambodia says EU tax breaks meant to promote trade with poor nations are contributing to evictions at gunpoint in rural areas.

The EU tax-free status of exports from Cambodia to the EU is one of the key factors that’s revived Cambodia’s sugar industry, after years of war and instability.

But land concessions granted by the Cambodian Government to companies have led to forced evictions involving armed police and soldiers.

At least two people have been shot during these evictions, and David Pred, the Cambodia country director of Bridges Across Borders, has told Radio Australia’s Connect Asia program there are many reports of assaults, arbitary arrests and threats. (To read full article, click here)

FAO Media Centre: Alternatives to large land acquisitions in developing nations

Photo:  ©FAO/Jon Spaull

Agricultural investments need to support local smallholders.

22 June 2010, Rome – New research shows how agricultural investments in developing nations can be structured as alternatives to large-scale land acquisitions. It documents a range of more inclusive business models that can bring benefits to small-scale farmers and protect their land rights, while also ensuring returns to companies.

The report, published today by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED), was commissioned by FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
It shows that any international guidance on agricultural investments should go beyond minimizing the possible negative impacts of large-scale land acquisitions, to also promote investment models that maximize opportunities for local smallholders. (for more  of the article click below)

FAO Media Centre: Alternatives to large land acquisitions in developing nations.

Cambodian farmers speak up for land rights

by Jordan Namerow, AJWS · June 2nd, 2010

Cross-posted on Food Forever — The AJWS Food Justice Blog.

Land rights abuses in Cambodia rarely spill into the global spotlight, particularly in connection with food insecurity. In the absence of legal documents often lost or destroyed during decades of civil war, Cambodian farmers frequently struggle to prove their ownership of land. Many of these farmers along with Cambodian NGOs have accused Cambodia’s government of awarding a wave of land concessions to foreign and local firms without negotiation or adequate compensation to local farmers. What’s more, Cambodian farmers and villagers have been unjustly evicted from their land as a consequence of international big business. (more…

Lease rent for arable lands in Bangladesh hiked at least 25 per cent

from  The New Age BD (click link for online source)

Daily news monitoring services

Monday January 25 2010 01:38:30 AM BDT

by Shakhawat Hossain

The lease rents for arable lands have gone up substantially in the current boro season worsening the plight of millions of marginal and landless farmers struggling to cope with the rising production costs.(The New Age BD )

Department of Agricultural Extension officials observed that the lease rent for arable lands had increased at last 25 per cent in the current boro rice cultivation season compared to last season’s costs, aggravating the sufferings of poor farmers. Read the rest of this entry

Korean firms investing in biofuel production in the Philippines

Korean firms investing P8B in biofuels
By Riza T. Olchondra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:15:00 04/14/2009

Mindoro ancestral domains under threat by foreign investment?

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Agriculture has signed two agreements with South Korean companies on the infusion of P8 billion in the biodiesel and bioethanol industries.

This was disclosed by Marizz B. Agbon, president of Philippine Agricultural Development and Commercial Corp., the investment-matching arm of the agriculture department.
Agbon said the projects would be the Philippines’ first collaboration in the biofuel sector with South Korea. He said both investments would involve production and processing facilities.
One of the two companies, which he declined to name, is investing in biodiesel using jatropha as raw material. The biodiesel project will use 5,000 hectares of land in General Santos City.
The other Korean company, Agbon said, would be investing in bioethanol using sugarcane stock as raw material. The bioethanol project will cover 15,000 hectares of land in Tarlac.
Agbon said the Tarlac bioethanol facility could be the biggest in the Philippines.
“The facility in Tarlac targets 500,000 liters a day. San Carlos [Bioenergy Inc.], which will be fully commissioned in September, can produce some 125,000 liters a day. The other existing biofuel facility, Leyte Agri [Corp.], produces about 30,000 liters a day,” Agbon said.
He said that both projects were now in the financial closure stage and would use a mix of debt and equity.
The investor in biodiesel has yet to secure planting materials, while the company that will engage in bioethanol has signed deals with landowners and already has plantings for future use.
“Hopefully we can finalize the investments in time for the President’s visit to South Korea at the end of May for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of Korea-Philippine friendship,” Agbon said.
Biofuels are alternative fuels primarily made from biomass or organic matter such as plants, including their residues and fibers; animal waste; industrial waste and the biodegradable component of solid waste. It is considered to be cleaner than petroleum or imported crude oil.