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FAO targets agriculture investments to end hunger In Africa

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The African Development Bank and the FAO form a new strategic alliance that involves joint advocacy and policy advice activities to promote the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems.
The African Development Bank and the FAO have agreed to boost joint efforts aimed at catalysing agriculture sector investments in Africa to end hunger and malnutrition and increase prosperity throughout the continent.
In terms of the agreement, the African Development Bank and the FAO are committed to raise up to US$100 million over five years, to support joint activities.
Specifically, the new strategic alliance seeks to enhance the quality and impact of investment in food security, nutrition, social protection, agriculture, forestry, fisheries and rural development.
African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva signed the agreement, which builds on a longstanding collaboration between their organizations, at the UN agency’s Rome headquarters.
“FAO and the African Development Bank are deepening and broadening our partnership to assist African countries achieve the sustainable development goals.
Leveraging investments in agriculture, including from the private sector, is key to lifting millions of people from hunger and poverty in Africa and to ensuring that enough food is produced and that enough rural jobs are created for the continent’s growing population,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva.
The FAO is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads global efforts to defeat hunger.
President Adesina said, “The signing of this supplementary agreement is a milestone moment in the relationship between the African Development Bank and FAO.
“It signals our joint commitment to accelerate the delivery of high quality programs and increased investment for public-private-partnerships in Africa’s agriculture sector.
“This will help us achieve the vision of making agriculture a business, as enshrined in the Bank’s Feed Africa strategy.”
The Bank’s Feed Africa strategy, launched in 2015, targets to invest US$24 billion into African agriculture over a ten-year period.
The aim is that of improving agricultural policies, markets, infrastructure and institutions to ensure that agricultural value chains are well developed and that improved technologies are made available to reach several million farmers.
A programme of action
The strengthened partnership between the African Development Bank and FAO envisages a collaborative programme of action with a series of outcomes, including better and more effective Bank-financed investment operations; increased public-private-partnership investments; a better investment climate and portfolio performance; and, advocacy and joint resources mobilization.
FAO’s technical assistance would cover areas such as sustainable agricultural intensification and diversification, scaling up value chain innovations, youth in agriculture and agribusiness, agricultural statistics and climate smart agriculture.
It will further address  blue growth/blue economy, food security and nutrition, agri-food system, food safety and standards, women’s economic empowerment, promotion of responsible private investments, resilience and risk management and capacity building for transition states.
The collaborative program would be created through an initial financial contribution of up to US $15 million by the two institutions.
Joint advocacy and policy advice activities will include the promotion of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests and the Principles for Responsible Investment in Agriculture and Food Systems, both endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security.
Long-term collaboration between the African Development Bank and FAO began in 1968. Since then, FAO has provided technical assistance to the formulation of 161 projects financed by the Bank, valued at over US$3.7 billion and representing about 21 percent of the Bank’s support to the agricultural sector.
Recent collaboration between the Bank and the FAO include project formulation support in Tanzania and Equatorial Guinea; technical assistance for the development of Blue economy programmes in Côte d’Ivoire, Morocco and Cape Verde, feasibility studies for agricultural transformation centres in Zambia, Tanzania and Côte d’Ivoire; and participation in the African Leaders for Nutrition initiative.
The Bank and the FAO have also contributed to a series of continental dialogues on post-harvest loss reduction, and the Great Green Wall of the Sahel and Sahara Initiative.
Original source: Businessweek

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Investigate the criminalization of land rights defenders – witnessradio.org asks National Human Rights Body.

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By witnessradio.org Team

Kampala – Uganda – Witnessradio.org has petitioned the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) calling for investigations into the continued aiding of persecution of community land rights defenders and native land-owners.

Witnessradio.org, a land rights advocate is accusing some members of the Justice, Law and Order Sector (JLOS) namely; the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Police and Judiciary of fueling land grabbing and protecting the supposed investors, through promoting the use of the criminal offenses under the Penal Code Act against land rights defenders and native land-owners that resist illegal and violent evictions.

The petition is the first of its kind to bring criminalization of land rights defenders and land-owners issues to the attention of UHRC under Business and Human Rights thematic principles. UHRC is a constitutional body with obligations to protect and promote human rights in Uganda

“Witnessradio.org, expresses dismay and disappointment over the increasing violence orchestrated against bonafide land-owners and individual community land defenders by some justice, law and order sector members in order to give individual investors and companies access to people’s land and then dispose native

e communities”. The statement reads in part.

In the petition, the Executive Director, Mr Wokulira Geoffrey Ssebaggala says that the continued harassment of land-owners and community land rights defenders by Uganda police and the office of the director of public prosecution has immensely contributed to case backlog and subsequently overcrowding in prisons.

“According to the World prison’s brief of October 2017, Uganda has 54,059 people in Prisons implying that 129 prisoners for every 100,000 Ugandans”. Mr Ssebaggala says

He also says the rights of people to express themselves, to peacefully assemble and participate in decisions that affect them and to exercise the full panoply of individual and collective human rights has also been curtailed.

Witnessradio.org recommends that the Human Rights Commission investigates the continued aiding of persecution of community land rights defenders and land owns by JLOs members institutions to give way for land-related investments, make findings public.

It also recommends that the commission undertakes courtroom observer missions especially where land rights defenders are under trial starting with Mubende’s 2 land rights defenders trial.

The same petition has been copied to the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner Human Rights and Democracy and Human Rights Donor, Working group.

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A land grab case against a multi-million agribusiness Agilis Partners is saved from a dismissal

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By witnessradio.org Team

Masindi – Uganda – A case in which over 2300 families are accusing a multi-million agribusiness Agilis Partners limited of illegal eviction has been saved by the intervention of witnessradio.org‘s lawyers. The company had filed an application asking court to dismiss the main case alleging that it had no cause of action, whose hearing was slated to take place on November, 29th, 2019.

The attempt to dismiss the main case followed a loss of two applications seeking to stop Agilis Partners limited from further illegal and forceful eviction of victims off their land. The first application was thrown out earlier this year by the retiring Justice Frank Albert Rugadya Atwoki on grounds that the applicants “failed to produce evidence that the situation is dire warranting an injunction,” while the second application was dismissed by the court’s Assistant Registrar, Kintu Simon Zirintuusa on grounds that many of the occupants had vacated the contested land.

It is now 20 months since the impoverished families first dashed to court challenging their eviction which is superintended by Agilis partners limited, an agricultural development company owned by American twin brothers Philipp Prinz and Benjamin Prinz. Agilis Partners, which owns Joseph Initiative a beneficiary of UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) financial support and CFC based in the Netherlands, supplies food to United Nations’ World Food Program, among others.   

The 2300 victims under the auspices of Nyamalebe Landless Association accuse the company for undermining a free, prior and informed consent standard or principal.

We have suffered all round since our land was targeted by Agilis Partners limited and we shall take long to recover. “our case has suffered sabotage in court premises because we’re poor. On Monday, November 28th, we served Masindi high court about our new legal team that had come on board but while following up on the next day, we found court papers missing from the file and court official had no explanation” Said, Joseph Walekula, one of the community leaders.

Independent investigations by witnessradio.org‘s reveal that the investment of Agilis Partners limited has caused a permanent disability to a school going boy who was shot at by police during an eviction exercise at Kisalanda village, while 1200 pupils have dropped out of school after schools (private) were demolished, fourteen (14) community land defenders have since 2017 been under police harassment and intimidation with endless reporting on police bond after being arrested and charged with inciting violence among others. The victimized community has also lost churches, private hospitals, plantations, homes, subsistence piglets and cattle farms and small and medium businesses including retail shops among others.

 

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Two EU member states, Norway named for aiding land eviction for carbon credit trading

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Green Resources’ pine plantation in Kachung. Credit: Kristen Lyons / The Oakland Institute.

By witnessradio.org Team

Two EU member states and Norway are in the spotlight for financing the eviction of native communities in Uganda to pave way for a Norwegian forestry and carbon credit company.

In the latest briefing paper authored by The Oakland Institute entitled “Evicted for Carbon Credits: Norway, Sweden, and Finland Displace Ugandan Farmers for Carbon Trading”.

The institute brings forward irrefutable evidence that the Norwegian forestry and carbon credit company, Green Resources, forcibly evicted villagers around their plantation in Kachung, Uganda.

“As thousands of Ugandan villagers struggle to survive after the loss of their land and natural resources to the plantation, the institutions and government agencies that enable Green Resources to operate must be held accountable for their wrongdoings and their complicity in this land grab.” The policy director at the institute Frédéric Mousseau says.

The report exposes the complicity of three prominent international certification bodies—the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), The United Nations’ Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), and the Climate, Community, and Biodiversity Alliance (CCBA)—that are supposed to verify the company’s compliance with environmental and social standards. 

“Based on flawed audits, the accreditation Green Resources received from the certification agencies calls into question their commitment to social and environmental standards. In the name of fighting climate change, they claim that a large-scale plantation of non-native pine trees, which are to be cut and sold as timber, is preferable to subsistence activities of African farmers,” Reads the report in part.

The institute concludes that beyond the need for accountability that such a flawed project could run with the backing of three European governments, several international bodies, and specialized private auditing firms, raises serious questions around the true motives of these institutions as well as the purpose and the functioning of the whole carbon economy.

The establishment of the plantation on land previously used by subsistence farmers precipitated an on-going food security crisis that has not been addressed by the company, its financiers, nor the Ugandan government.

Green Resources has been the subject of two reports published by the Institute in 2014 and 2017. The exposés documented the plantation’s destructive impact on the local population as well as the misleading audit commissioned in 2017 by the Swedish Energy Agency—Green Resources only carbon credit buyer. Company documents released with the briefing paper—including letters threatening the local villagers, corroborate the Institute’s previous findings.

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