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Land grabs

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Joined: 02 Jun 2004
Posts: 8
Location: UK

Post Post subject: Land grabs Reply with quote

Land grabs have concerned me for some time.

Since the turn of the century, there has been a terrific rush from investors, speculators, hedge funds, and other business interests to acquire land in poor countries. This is not just a few fields.

Worldwide it amounts to 227 million hectares. Putting it in perspective,
England is just over 13 million hectares. As a result, millions of people
have been thrown off their land.

Only a small percentage such land is used for food production, and even less for local sale.

These deals are usually shrouded in secrecy, and often there is little one
can do, but Oxfam have just published a report on the dealings of a British company, New Forests Company, in Uganda. Oxfam has organized a petition to regulate these abuses

Details of the report are here

and the report itself

If you want to take it further you could email New Forest Company's
Corporate Responsibility Manager, Kate Sharum.

Provided you're polite, I don't think it matters a great deal what you write
(mine below) - just so the company is made aware of people's concern at the enormity of what they've done.

Dear Kate Sharum

I was distressed to learn about New Forest Company's involvement in Ugandafrom the report published by Oxfam. The report makes a mockery of your claim to be socially responsible. As a result of your activities, over 20000 people have lost their homes and land.

It defies belief to say that evictions were voluntary and peaceful when the
police and army had to be involved, crops were destroyed, and homes burned - and in some cases contrary to High Court orders. Not only were people losing their homes but their ability to put food on the table. No
compensation has been paid, but what amount would suffice for you or I in such circumstances?

I urge you to take the only ethical course to resolve this situation - where
it's still possible by restoring people to their homes and livelihoods or
ensuring equivalent land is made available elsewhere accompanied by adequate financial compensation. Some things are more important than making money. Moreover, I ask you to ensure that any land deals only go ahead after the full agreement of all those affected.

Your initiative to hold an enquiry is to be welcomed, but to have any
validity it should be completely independent and make its finding public.

Yours sincerely
Wed Sep 28, 2011 11:17 am
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