Statement on the Dakar 2 Summit: “Climate smart agriculture” will worsen the climate crisis
Witness Radio – Uganda joins the undersigned organizations, to express our deep concern at the aims and assumptions that appear to underlie the 2nd Dakar Summit on Agriculture and Agribusiness(Dakar II), being held from in Senegal.
The stated aim of the summit, organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB) together with the government of Senegal, is to raise agricultural productivity and support infrastructure and “climate-smart” agricultural systems using private sector investments in order to “help turn Africa into a breadbasket for the world.” The organizers of the summit claim that this will require between $28.5 billion and $36.6 billion annually.
However, the underlying structural problem with food insecurity in Africa is not simply one of insufficient land being cultivated in Africa, or of an overall shortage of food, as stated by AfDB.
Over the last ten years enormous swathes of land across the continent of Africa have been grabbed by agribusiness interests, resulting in oil palm plantations that have razed forests in Liberia and Sao Tomé, and waste from sugarcane plantations destroying the environment in Nigeria. The Land Matrix estimates that 50 per cent of land investment deals in Africa have taken place on land used by small scale farmers, mostly in Ethiopia, Senegal, Ghana, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and Uganda.
The Summit’s assertion that “climate smart agriculture” (CSA) is required to address food insecurity is also not supported by the evidence. As explained by GRAIN, CSA includes practices which claim to reduce greenhouse gases, but avoids addressing the root causes of the climate crisis including the industrial food system: for instance, CSA can include spraying a field with toxic herbicides as a way to avoid plowing the soil and releasing carbon into the atmosphere. It can also include harmful practices such as turning land into soybean plantations which can be labeled as “climate smart” since soybeans do not require nitrogen fertilizers. GRAIN explains how CSA was devised by agribusiness corporations to counter growing support for agroecology in international forums on agriculture and climate change, with the term propelled into the mainstream by fertilizer companies, through a lobbying campaign and a global alliance of corporations, governments and multilateral agencies, such as the World Bank and FAO. Today, CSA can include a range of destructive practices such as large-scale monoculture, factory farming, or GMOs.
Among the CSA technologies promoted at the Dakar 2 summit include climate smart water efficient maize, which is being pushed by the African Development Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT)’s Maize Compact. Such technologies include the Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA). According to the bank, drought tolerant maize helped farmers in Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia to survive the drought in 2019. However, the African Centre for Biodiversity, ACB, has revealed how the WEMA project, which has been shrouded in secrecy, aims to build a private-sector seed industry in Africa and to spread the adoption of hybrid maize varieties. Both Monsanto and BASF have donated to the WEMA project. ACB explains how WEMA is being used to smooth the path toward the introduction of GMOs in African countries and to weaken biosafety regulations for instance in Tanzania and Mozambique. The Dakar II summit is also promoting heat tolerant wheat varieties in Sudan and in Ethiopia in partnership with seed companies.
While climate change is a serious threat to farmers in Africa, with 70 per cent of farmers depending on rain-fed farming, CSA approaches, including WEMA and drought tolerant maize varieties, are not the solution. Not only does CSA strengthen the very agribusiness and seed companies responsible for destroying farmers’ livelihoods and the agricultural biodiversity which is needed for robust food systems, but it also contributes to, rather than solves, the climate crisis by strengthening the industrial food system. According to GRAIN and the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP), the world’s five 8 largest meat and dairy corporations are responsible for an even greater volume of greenhouse gas emissions than oil companies like Exxon, Shell, or BP.
The Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA) whose members include smallholder farmers, pastoralists, hunter-gatherers and indigenous people have explained how agroecological and indigenous practices are the right way forward for African farmers to survive the climate crisis.
We urge participants to the Dakar II Summit to i) consider ways of eliminating land-grabs from farmers, ii) reject CSA-based approaches that strengthen large seed and agribusiness companies and iii) support the organizing initiatives of African farmers and organizations who are fighting for food sovereignty and agroecology, and those who are fighting back against land grabbing by agribusiness and private investors.
The African Technology Assessment Platform (AfriTAP)
Terre à Vie, Burkina Faso
Collectif Citoyen pour l’agroécologie (CCAE) Burkina Faso
La Coalition pour la protection du patrimoine génétique africain (COPAGEN)
Health of Mother Earth Foundation (HOMEF) Nigeria
CESAO-AI, Burkina Faso
Institute for Research and Promotion of Alternatives in Development (IRPAD) Bamako, Mali
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN)
The African Centre for Biodiversity (ACBio)
The ETC Group
Congo Basin Conservation Society (CBCS Network) DRC
Fédération agroécologique du Bénin (FAEB)
Zambia Alliance for Agroecology and Biodiversity (ZAAB)
Justiça Ambiental JA! Mozambique
Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA)
Eco Defenders Network, Nigeria
Les Amis de la Terre, Togo
Conseil National de l’Agriculture Biologique (CNABio), Burkina Faso
Eastern and Southern Africa Small scale farmers Forum
Community Development Advocacy Foundation (CODAF)
Zero Waste Ambassadors (ZeWA)
Isoko Environment Monitoring Committee
Africa Center for Environment and Rural Development (ACERD)
Community Environmental Monitoring Committee
Community Forest Watch
Abotokio Agro Village Farmers Association, Abotokio, Nigeria
Worldwide opportunities on organic farms, Nigeria
African Union of Consumers, Ndjaména/Chad
International family of Catholic social justice organizations (CIDSE) (International)
Biowatch South Africa, Durban, South Africa
ReSCOPE Programme, Lusaka, Zambia
Biodiversity and Biosafety Association of Kenya (BIBA Kenya)
Bees Abroad UK
Réseau Africain pour le Droit à l’Alimentation au Togo (RAPDA-Togo)
BFA Food and Health Foundation
Student Environmental Assembly Nigeria (SEAN)
Host Community Network, Nigeria (HoCoN)
Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA)
The Young Environmental Network (TYEN)
Civil Society Agrarian Partnership (CSAP)
Committee on Vital Environmental Resources (COVER)
Women and Children Life Advancement initiative
Community Alliance for Global Justice/AGRA Watch
Urban-Rural Environmental Defenders (U-RED) Nigeria
Africa Europe Faith & Justice Network (AEFJN)
AFRICAN WOMEN COLLABORATIVE FOR HEALTHY FOOD SYSTEMS
African Women and Youth Environmental Initiative
Network of Women in Agriculture Nigeria (NWIN)
Nous Sommes la Solution
Tanzania Alliance for Biodiversity (TABIO)
Eastern and Southern African Pastoralists Network (ESAPN)
Regional Schools and Colleges Permaculture Programme (ReSCOPE)
Kenya Peasants League
La Via Campesina Africa
Indigenous women and girls initiative
Food Sovereignty Ghana (FSG)
Youth for Environmental Sustainability and Development (YESD) Nigeria
Center for Food and Adequate Living Rights (CEFROHT) Uganda
Friends of Earth Africa (FoEA)
Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE), Kenya
Eco Index Agro Solutions Limited
World March of Women, South Africa
Women Collective Kenya
Foi et Justice, Cameroun
Confédération Paysanne du Faso, Burkina Faso
Société Civile Environnementale et Agro Rurale du Congo
Secrétariat Permanent des ONG (SPONG), Burkina Faso
Mouvement Africain pour les Droits Environnementaux dans la région de l’Est (MADEE), Burkina Faso
COASP Burkina, Burkina Faso
Fédération nationale des sociétés coopératives des Éleveurs du Burkina (SCOOP-CA/FEB), Burkina Faso
Diobass, Ecologie et Société/Plate forme du Burkina Faso
Urban-Rural Environmental Defenders (U-RED), Nigeria
Association Tunisienne de Permaculture, Tunisie
Association des Agriculteurs Sans Frontières, (AASF) Bukavu RDC
Association des femmes et enfants sans voix, (AFEV) RDC
Centre d’appui au développement et à la gestion de l’environnement (CADGE) RDC
Association pour la défense des droits des aides ménagères et domestiques (ADDAD) Burkina Faso
Les Jardins d’Hambe, Mali
COASP-Mali, Comité Ouest Africain des Semences Paysannes, Mali
Institut Panafricain pour la Citoyenneté, les consommateurs et le Développement (CICODEV), Sénégal
Complaint against unprofessional conduct of the DPC Kiryandongo district for aiding and abetting land grabbing in kiryandongo district.
Professional Standards Unit, Uganda Police-Kampala.
RE: COMPLAINT AGAINST UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT OF THE DPC KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT FOR AIDING AND ABETTING LAND GRABBING IN NYAMUTENDE KITWARA PARISH KIRYANDONGO DISTRICT AND CARRYING OUT ILLEGAL ARRESTS AND DETENTION OF INNOCENT RESIDENTS/ BIBANJA OWNERS FOR PROTESTING AGAINST THE ILLEGAL EVICTION FROM THEIR LAND.
We act for and behalf of the Lawful and bonafide occupants of Land described as LRV MAS 2 FOLIO 8 BLOCK 8 PLOT 22 (FORMERLY KNOWN AS RANCH 22).
Our Clients are residents of Nyamutende Village, Kitwara Parish in Kiryandongo District where they have lived for more than 30 years and sometime in 2017, they applied for a lease of the said Land to Kiryandongo District Land Board through the Directorate of Land Matters State House.
As they were still awaiting their Application to be processed, they were shocked to establish that the said land had been instead leased to and registered in the names of Isingoma Julius, Mwesige Simon, John Musokota William, Tumusiime Gerald, Wabwire Messener Gabriel, Ocema Richard and Wilson Shikhama, some of whom were not known to the Complainants. A copy of the Search is attached hereto
Our clients protested the above action and appealed to relevant offices, but were shocked to discover that the above persons had gone ahead and sold the same to a one Maseruka Robert.
Aggrieved by these actions, the Complainants appealed to the RDC who advised them to institute proceedings against the said persons, and assigned them a one Mbabazi Samuel to assist them to that effect. The said Mbabazi accordingly filed Civil Suit Noa 46 of 2019 against tne said registered proprietors at Masindi High Court challenging the illegal and fraudulent registration, sale and transfer of the subject land to Maseruka Robert.
While awaiting the progress of the case mentioned hereinabove, the Complainants were surprised to find that the said Mbabazi, instead of assisting them, he went into a consent settling the said suit on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. A copy of the Consent is attached hereto.
Among the terms of the said consent Judgment was that the residents would be compensated without specifying how much and would in return vacate the Land.
As if that was not enough, Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel are going ahead to execute the said Consent Judgment by forcefully evicting the occupants without compensation which has prompted the complainants to challenge the said Consent by applying for its review and setting aside at Masindi High Court which is coming up for hearing on the 29th March 2023. A copy of the Application is attached hereto.
Sensing the imminent threat of eviction, we also filed an application for interim stay of execution of the said consent to avoid rendering their application for review nugatory but unfortunately the same could not be heard on the date it was fixed for hearing (6th February 2023). A copy of the Application is attached hereto
On Thursday last week, three tractors being operated by 6 workers of a one Mbabazi Samuel [the very person who had been entrusted to represent our Clients to secure their Land through Civil Suit No.46 of 2019] encroached close to 50 acres of our Clients’ land and started ploughing it but our Client’s protested and chased them away.
We have however been shocked to receive information from our Clients that on Sunday at Mid night, 3 police patrols invaded the community in the night and arrested community members; Mulenje Jack, Steven Kagyenji, Mulekwa David, Ntambala Geoffrey, Tumukunde Isaac 15 years, Kanunu Innocent, Mukombozi Frank, Kuzara, Rwamunyankole Enock, and took them to Kiryandongo Police Station where they are currently detained.
We strongly protest the illegal arrests and detention of our Clients as this is a carefully orchestrated land grabbing scheme by Maseruka Robert and Mbabazi Samuel who are receiving support from the DPC Kiryandongo.
The purpose of this Letter therefore is to request your good office to investigate the misconduct, abuse of office and unprofessionalism of the said DPC Kiryandongo District and all his involvement in the land grabbing schemes on land formerly known as Ranch 22.
Looking forward to your urgent intervention,
C.C The Head Police Land Protection Unit Police Head Quarters Naguru
CC The RDC Kiryandongo District
CC The Chairman LCVKityadongo District
CC The Regional Police CommanderAlbertine Region
Accountable Development To Communities
Signs of harmful projects with financing from development institutions are spotted in Uganda…
By Witness Radio Team.
The growth of a country is discerned by great leaders and innovators who see opportunities out of darkness and transform their areas from nothing to success. Those are great leaders whose interest is to see the developments in their countries and the well-being of their citizens.
Every single day, countries all over the world receive investors that acquire loans, grants, and donations to implement mega projects that are seemingly expected to develop host countries. countries and investors borrowing the money Often, countries and investors portray how these projects improve the livelihood of the browbeaten, au contraire, they have left many broken families, poor-dirty homesteads, and shattered dreams.
Uganda is one of those countries, whose citizens have paid a price for reckless or unsupervised and profit-led international investment. In a bid to implement its industrial policy, the country has welcomed both foreign and local investors with interests in the fields of extraction, industrial agriculture, carbon credit tree plantation, mining, infrastructural projects, and many others.
It has received billions of dollars from different financiers including commercial banks, Pension Funds, and International Development Finance Banks or institutions, among others. For instance, the World Bank has invested more than 20 Billion Dollars since 1963 and currently
Every project comes with its own chilling story. More often their stories are unheard by the World. Witness Radio – Uganda surveyed some projects in Uganda. This study revealed agony, illegal evictions, abject poverty, environmental degradation, and loss of life among others, as some of the consequences suffered by the would-be beneficiaries of these international funded projects across the country.
In the capital of Uganda, Kampala, over 1750 families were forcefully evicted from a city suburb, Naguru, for Naguru- Nakawa housing estates. 11 years down the road the project that was highly hyped is to take off on the grabbed land. Pleas from the victims of the eviction to regain their land have all fallen on deaf ears.
About 80km away from Kampala is the island district of Kalangala surrounded by the World’s second-largest lake, Victoria, and known for palm growing. When the palm-oil project was introduced to residents they were given the impression that it would improve their livelihoods and create job opportunities. Instead, it has dumped thousands into poverty after their land was grabbed by BIDCO, a Wilmer international-funded project. People lost land and now work on plantations as casual laborers. The neighboring communities are accusing BIDCO workers of sexual and gender-based violence.
In the South-Western District of Kiryandongo, multinational companies including Agilis Partners Limited, Kiryandongo Sugar Limited, and Great Seasons SMC Limited with funding from The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), The Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom, and Common Fund for Commodities among other financiers are forcefully evicting more than 35,000 people. The eviction has been on since 2017.
Workers that worked on a World Bank Project in Soroti, in the far east of the country, are accused of sexually harassing minors. Several young girls were defiled and left pregnant. Despite the government being aware of this none of the pedophiles have been brought to book, the World Bank-funded project in the Eastern Town of Soroti left several underage girls defiled and impregnated.
In late 2020, residents of Kawaala zone II woke up to the hail of armed men and graders evicting and destroying their properties to implement a multimillion-dollar project funded by the World Bank. The project is being implemented by the Kampala Capital city Authority (KCCA) on behalf of the government of Uganda.
The above-listed and other projects, on the other hand, continue to perpetuate violence and judicial harassment against leaders of Project Affected Persons (PAPs) and community land and environmental rights defenders because of their work that resists illegal evictions and destruction of the environment among others.
Although project implementers such as government entities accuse local communities of occupying land targeted for projects illegally, in most cases victim communities have rights over these pieces of land because their settlement on the same land can be traced to have happened generations ago.
No matter how people are negatively impacted being by these harmful projects, financiers continue to release more money to the government and investors. The banks aim at profit margins other than the livelihoods of the people. In Bulebi village, Mbazi parish, Mpunge Sub County in Mukono district, Akon’s futuristic city is about to lead to the eviction of over 1000 residents whose entire lives have been built on their land.
In April last year, American rapper Aliaune Damala Badara well known for his stage name AKON visited Uganda in search of land for constructing the city. On the same business trip, he met President Museveni Yoweri Kaguta and expressed his interest in building a futuristic city with its currency. The president ordered the Ministry of Lands, housing, and urban development to look out for free land for his city.
However, on 7th Jan 2022, the Uganda Land Commission showed the Minister for Lands, Housing, and Urban Development “Hon Judith Nabakooba” land that was proposed for the Akon city. According to the Uganda land commission, the land is Freehold Volume 53 Folio 9 measuring I square mile.
This has sparked outrage amongst the affected as they were never consulted or consented to allow the project in their community. According to community members that Witness Radio interviewed, they said they heard the distressing news of Akon city through the Media.
The community said no official from the ministry has ever approached them about their land giveaway. “Our country is full of land evictions and evictors begin in that way. There has been no official coming on the ground to officially inform us about the project and neither have we heard any official communication of compensation.” Obori said.
Residing in the attractive village surrounded by freshwaters, the community asserts this has been the source of livelihood and advised the government to get alternative land for the City.
Controversies surrounding the land giveaway and ownership of the area still exist. A section of residents have protested and vowed not to surrender their land for the City. They claim to have acquired freehold titles from the Mukono lands board.
Accountable Development To Communities
Breaking: over 350,000 acres of land were grabbed during Witness Radio – Uganda’s seven months ban.
By Witness Radio Team.
As the onslaught on civil society heightens, its space continues to shrink which has bearing on the services they render to the communities. Witness Radio, was among the 54 organizations suspended by Uganda’s National Bureau for Nongovernmental Organizations on August 20th, 2021. The actions are amongst the recent forms of attack on civil societies in Uganda. Other numerous attacks include arrests of rights activists, harassment, tortures, and office- break-ins at night by security operatives who move away with valuables.
The effects of this suspension were felt by communities facing land grabs across the country. For seven months while the organization was suspended, over 300,000 people were evicted from their land and couldn’t access specialized and prompt legal assistance.
Witness Radio Uganda, globally known for its campaign against community land-grabs couldn’t assist these victims of land grab since it risked facing further sanctions from the Bureau in case it intervened. However, last week, there was some relief, when Uganda’s National Bureau for NGOs lifted suspension and certified its operation.
According to Mrs. Bulyerali Joan, the Head Legal at Witness Radio – Uganda, the organization conducted a review of the evictions that happened during the suspension. With information and assistance from some lawyers, local journalists, and community land and environmental rights defenders across the country, the evictions watchdog was able to document cases of hundreds of thousands of Ugandans that were either forcefully evicted or received threats of evictions while in its limbo.
The ban imposed on Witness Radio coupled with the disruptive impacts of COVID- 19 resulted in the surge of eviction cases, especially in areas where the organization had a presence. Throughout the ban, without access to swift and prompt legal support, the communities resorted to sharing with the world their ordeal.
She further noted that the evictions were conducted in disregard of the law on evictions. “I was shocked to see powerful people and companies take advantage of our suspension to escalate the evictions of vulnerable communities that received our assistance. The evictions did not comply with the land eviction practice directives. None of them was preceded by legal court orders.” She noted.
According to the Land Eviction directives, issued by the former Chief Justice of Uganda, Bart Katureebe, evictions shall be preceded by valid court order, properly identifying the persons taking part in the eviction, and upon presentation of formal authorizations. The police and local authority of the area shall be notified and shall be present to witness the evictions, among others.
Based on the data gathered by the team, various communities across the country were left dispossessed by land grabbers without any form of assistance. Others have received threatening messages with intentions of dispossessing them off their land.
During the period under review, over 300,000 people across the country are believed to have been threatened with evictions, while 350,000 acres of land were either grabbed or on verge of being grabbed.
“However much, we gathered this information, we expect the cases to be higher because some evictions go unreported either due to the remoteness of the areas or other related factors.” One of the collaborators observed.
The evictions were extremely violent. They were characterized by kidnaps, arrests and detentions, torture that often-caused unexpected grief to the communities.
Among the most affected districts include Kyankwanzi, Mubende, Kassanda, Hoima, Buikwe, Wakiso, Kikuube, and Bulambuli districts.
In some of the mentioned districts, the Lands, Housing, and Urban Development Minister toured and halted the evictions but the evictors continued unabated.
Mr. Kimazi Experito, a journalist based in Mubende, attributed the rise of evictions to the organization’s suspension which denied the evictions-affected communities access to specialized legal assistance.
He said Witness Radio has offered support to over 20 land-grab-affected communities in Mubende with legal support. “Witness radio is a game-changer that brought back lives of evicted communities to normal,” he lauded.
“Mubende is one of the fastest-growing areas because of gold and other minerals as well as factors related to fertile soils. Currently, it is one of the hotspots of evictions. Opportunists used this chance to grab land from people with full attention. Without the defenders, it’s often hard for people to get justice since local people are not much informed about land laws.” Kimazi explained.
Engineered by powerful people in public offices, multinational companies, and politicians using state machinery including the army and national police, forced evictions to continue to affect food sovereignty and threaten the role of indigenous communities to protect the environment.
During the same period, President Yoweri Museveni stopped any eviction without the approval of the Resident District Commissioners. However, legal experts warned that the move is to usurp the powers of the Judiciary. In a statement signed by Pheona Nabasa Wall, the Uganda Law Society President noted that the directive undermined the role and independence of courts in handling eviction matters.
That notwithstanding, “Occasionally, the residents are not given any opportunity to negotiate with the landlords. Even when the government obliges to pay landowners, neither does the government nor the evictor compensate for the damaged property. During evictions, properties that were made for their life end up being destroyed in seconds which causes lifetime misery.” Paul Kasoozi, a community land rights defender stated.
With different tactics aimed at alienating the poor from their land, it has been established that the police and the army continued to play a huge role in the largest forms of violent evictions through torture, arbitrary arrests, and detention and instilling fear and pressurizing the local communities to vacate their land on orders of the evictors.
Many of those community members who oppose land evictions end up being kidnapped, tortured, or arrested and detained to silence the community. It takes support from an organization defending communities’ land rights to intervene for such communities to get justice.
Days before the lifting of the suspension imposed on Witness Radio, communities neighboring the Katta Barracks in Bulambuli district, were violently evicted by the Uganda People’s Defense Forces under the alleged command of Lieutenant Colonel Mukiibi Julius without offering alternative resettlement.
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