Saturday, June 30, 2012

[biofuelwatch] Biomass and other power facilities and water use










Electricity generation 'burning' rivers of drought-scorched Southeast. Power plants are guzzling water across the United States and increasing the risk of blackouts in the Southeast, where the precious resource is drying up. ClimateWire 
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=electricity-generation-buring-rivers-drought-southeast
 



Rachel Smolker
Biofuelwatch/Energy Justice Network
802.482.2848 (o)
802.735 7794 (m)
skype: Rachel Smolker


respect existence or expect resistance



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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

[biofuelwatch] UK investors gather for controversial Africa land summit





http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jun/26/uk-investors-africa-land-summit?newsfeed=true


UK investors gather for controversial Africa land summit

International development and environment charities to protest against 'land grab' outside Agriculture Investment Summit

African farmland
An estimated 70m hectares of agricultural land – or 5% of Africa – has been sold or leased to western investors since 2000. Photograph: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

Pension fund managers and hedge funds gather in London on Tuesday for a summit to discuss the next big investment opportunity: buying up swaths of African farmland.

The Agriculture Investment Summit promises guidance through the "complexities of investing in agriculture as an asset class" to benefit from "one of the greatest investments in the world".

An estimated 70m hectares of agricultural land – or 5% of Africa – has been sold or leased to western investors since 2000, according to apublic database of international land deals. British companies have bought the rights to more than 3m hectares of land in poor countries – the equivalent of almost two-thirds of the UK's total farmland, according to the International Land Coalition.

Grain, an NGO that promotes sustainable use of world resources, estimates that investors have spent between $5bn and $15bn on farmland. They expect that investment to double by 2015.

"Farmland is a big attraction for them [pension funds and other investors]," Grain said. "They see in farmland what they call good 'fundamentals': a clear economic pattern of supply and demand, which in this case hinges on a rising world population needing to be fed, and the resources to feed these people being finite."

The £3,660-a-head conference at the Victoria Park Plaza hotel, in central London, promises a "unique opportunity to gain insights from an A-list of speaker faculty on how, where and why to invest in this emerging and expanding asset class".

One of the talks at the fifth annual summit is titled: Agriculture in Africa: land grab or untapped opportunity?

A coalition of 60 international development, environment and farming charities will gather outside the hotel to demand that pension funds and other investors "stop the land grab", which is claimed to be taking local people's land at the fastest rate since colonial times.

Tim Rice, an adviser at ActionAid, said: "The summit organisers cheerily call this devastating trend an 'emerging and expanding asset class' and bill the summit as an opportunity to 'overcome the perceived obstacles to investment'."

But, he says, they are "glossing over" the real impact on the ground. "They are displacing farmers, up-rooting communities and food production and destroying ecosystems on a massive scale. They are increasing hunger and poverty globally. In a world where 1 billion people already go hungry, land must stay in the hands of local communities so that they can feed themselves."

Kenneth Richter, of Friends of the Earth, claimed square-mile investors are the "key players" fuelling an industry which leads to "peasants, herders, fishers and other rural households being dispossessed of their means to feed themselves and their communities, sometimes through promises of jobs, sometimes at gun point".

Nyikaw Ochalla, of the Anuak people in Ethiopia, said "land-grabbing" is accelerating at "a rate not seen since colonial times".

"Land is the lifeline of hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, fishing and farming communities in the Ethiopian lands targeted by land grabbing policy."

In 2008 a quarter of Mhaga village in rural Tanzania was acquired by a British biofuels company Sun Biofuels, with the promise of financial compensation, 700 jobs, water wells, improved schools, health clinics and roads. But the company later went bust, leaving villagers not just jobless but landless as well.



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[biofuelwatch] Civil society statement on the finance of land grabs





[For the list of signatories, please go to the webpage.]

http://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/press_releases/joint_statement_on_the_finance_of_land_grabs_june_2012_en.pdf

Civil society statement on the finance of land grabs, June 2012

Land grabbing by pension funds and other financial institutions must be stopped

Driven by high food prices, increasing demand for agrofuels, raw materials and grain fed livestock, and low returns from beleaguered financial markets, the number of corporations, governments, public and private financial institutions engaging in large-scale acquisitions of land in the global South is soaring, threatening the livelihoods and food sovereignty of countless local communities. Millions of hectares of land have been leased or bought up in recent years, mainly to produce food or fuel for the international market. As a result,
peasants, herders, fishers and other rural households are being dispossessed of their means to feed themselves and their communities, sometimes through promises of jobs, sometimes at gunpoint. Land grabs are also resulting in land and water use changes, causing ecological destruction and climate change related emissions.

Investment funds, agribusiness and sovereign wealth funds are "investing" more and more in land, intending to make their investment portfolios more diverse in the face of global economic risks and to profit from the rise in land and commodity prices.1 Land grabs are also being financed indirectly, when banks provide credit facilities to land grabbing companies, or when hedge funds and private equity firms buy stakes in overseas companies that control land.2 Even governments are involved, through the for-profit development finance institutions that they run.

Pension funds are, at present, reported to be the largest institutional "investors" in farmland worldwide.3 Yet the money used here is workers' retirement savings. This means that wage earners and citizens may be implicated in massive violations of the human rights of local farming communities, including their rights to food, land, water, an adequate standard of living, their cultural rights and their right to self-determination – in breach of international law.

With respect to this matter, the undersigned civil society organisations and activist groups serve notice to these pension funds and other private and public financial institutions, and to the States that are in a position to regulate them.4 The human rights mentioned above imply the extraterritorial obligation of these States to urgently ensure that these funds and institutions:

ï‚· Stop speculation on land and other damaging investments in the global food chain, including land deals and financial participation in agribusinesses, where land grabbing cannot be excluded ex ante, and investing in complex financial products based on food commodity derivatives or agricultural land.

ï‚· Publicly disclose complete information about any direct or indirect financing of land acquisitions and other deals that might involve land grabbing. Such disclosure should be based upon diligent analysis of the entire investment chain, irrespective of whether or not the financial services provided are earmarked for land acquisition. This is required to break the culture of secrecy surrounding many of these deals, and to allow stakeholders and public interest groups to take action.

ï‚· Be subject to mandatory, prior and independent assessment of the potential impacts of
investments and products on tenure rights, livelihoods, the environment and the progressive
realisation of the right to adequate food. These assessments must enable fund managers and other financial institutions to prove at all times that they have no stakes in firms or in operations that are involved in land grabs.

Footnotes:

1 The notion that their financial stakes in agricultural land amount to "investment" must be questioned. The World Bank estimates that up to 80% of large scale global land acquisitions announced in recent years are not under production (http://go.worldbank.org/OAV3EK4F00). Academic reports demonstrate rent-seeking behaviour in numerous cases (http://www.future-agricultures.org/papers-and-presentations/doc_download/1324-hubert-cochet-and-michelmerlet-).
Private equity groups and many specialised farmland funds operate frequently on the basis of a high return five-year exit strategy. Civil society groups in a range of African countries have reported in the last few years that numerous deals turn out to be purely speculative. And land investors themselves point out that they can easily make their profits on simply renting or selling ("flipping") the land (http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/20165). How, where and by whom these investments are directed is key, as many of them can be harmful. There is increasing evidence that the most vital and largest share of investments in agriculture are made by family farmers themselves, and this is the type of investment to be supported
(http://www.ukfg.org.uk/pics/Yaounde_Agricultural_Investment_Farmers_Workshop_Synthesis_Report-EN_1.pdf).

2 Merian Research and CRBM: The Vultures of Land Grabbing, 2010 (http://www.pambazuka.org/en/category/land/68535).

3 Of the estimated U.S. $100 billion that pension funds invest in commodities, some $5-15 billion reportedly goes into farmland acquisitions. These commodity and farmland investments are expected to double by 2015. GRAIN: Pension Funds: Key Players in the Global Farmland Grab, June
2011 (http://www.grain.org/article/entries/4287-pension-funds-key-players-in-the-global-farmland-grab).

4 The following points are initial demands from Civil Society, and will be added to as more evidence and information becomes available. This statement follows the March 2012 Finance of Land Grab Civil Society Strategy Meeting in Brussels, and represents the first steps of an emerging process.


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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

[biofuelwatch] en frances! Open Letter about the Sustainable Energy for All initiative  for signups [1 Attachment]



For your information and use!!!
Merci a Amis de la Terre……
Simone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Elise le Guil <elise@foei.org>
Subject: Re: [foei_africa] [[climate-energy] ] Stronger Open Letter about the Sustainable Energy for All initiative  for signups
Date: June 26, 2012 8:33:43 AM GMT-04:00
To: simone lovera <simonelovera@yahoo.com>

Hi Simone,
One of our great volunteer translated the SEFA letter into French. I will circulate it on the African list for our francophone groups in Africa but in case you need it, I have attached it to this message.
Kind regards,
Elise
*****************************************  Elise Le Guil  Membership and Programs Officer  Friends of the Earth International  PO Box 19199  1000 GD Amsterdam  the Netherlands  tel: 31 20 622 1369  fax: 31 20 639 2181  e-mail: elise@foei.org  skype: foei_elise  web: www.foei.org  *****************************************  Friends of the Earth International  (FoEI) is the world's largest grassroots environmental federation with 76 national member groups and more than two million individual members.  *****************************************  Keep current with Friends of the Earth International by signing up to our bi-monthly newsletter Voices of the Earth - www.foei.org/en/get-involved/voices    

On 15-06-12 19:55, simone lovera wrote:
Hi Elise, that would be great, thanks!
Simone

On Jun 14, 2012, at 3:56 AM, Elise le Guil wrote:

Dear Simone,
I hope this email finds you well. I was wondering if you know if this letter has been translated into French already (or maybe the name of the person I should contact to check this). If not, I can find a volunteer to translate it in order to circulate it among the francophone groups of FoEI.
Thank you!
Elise
*****************************************  Elise Le Guil  Membership and Programs Officer  Friends of the Earth International  PO Box 19199  1000 GD Amsterdam  the Netherlands  tel: 31 20 622 1369  fax: 31 20 639 2181  e-mail: elise@foei.org  skype: foei_elise  web: www.foei.org  *****************************************  Friends of the Earth International  (FoEI) is the world's largest grassroots environmental federation with 76 national member groups and more than two million individual members.  *****************************************  Keep current with Friends of the Earth International by signing up to our bi-monthly newsletter Voices of the Earth - www.foei.org/en/get-involved/voices    

On 13-06-12 06:32, Bobby Peek wrote:

This is the letter that we signed off on at the Africa meeting. 

 

From: Simone Lovera [mailto:simonelovera@yahoo.com]
Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2012 3:12 PM
To: Climate Justice & Energy WG; unfccc-foei@lists.foei.org; rio-20@lists.foei.org; agrofuels@lists.foei.org; Ambiental Sobrevivencia FoE Py
Subject: [[climate-energy] ] Stronger Open Letter about the Sustainable Energy for All initiative  for signups

 

Dear all,

 

Please find below an open letter about the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative that has been developed by a group of allied organizations in consultation with me and several other FoE-people. This letter is a bit stronger than the letter Pascoe sent to the lists earlier this week, it calls for a full rejection of the initiative in light of its open promotion of corporate interests. As regional coordinators of the agrofuels campaign of FoEI we are particularly worried about the way SEFA is promoting agrofuels and industrial bioenergy production - some corporate actors who are part of the panel have openly admitted that they see SEFA as a great vehicle to promote agrofuels, especially in Africa and other 'energy poor" regions.

 

While I recognize that the other letter calls for the exclusion of industrial bioenergy from SEFA as well, I don't think it makes sense for us to ask for greater civil society participation in an initiative that is so clearly corporate-driven.

 

So I very much hope FoEI and individual FoE-groups can sign up to this stronger letter.

 

Best wishes,

 

Simone

 

 

Begin forwarded message:



From: Almuth Ernsting <almuth@ernsting.wanadoo.co.uk>

Subject: [cjn-rio] Open Letter about the Sustainable Energy for All initiative  for signups

Date: May 31, 2012 8:53:40 AM GMT-04:00

Reply-To: Almuth Ernsting <almuth@ernsting.wanadoo.co.uk>

 

Dear all,

People from a number of groups have put together an Open Letter: "Sustainable Energy for All Initiative- Using poverty and climate change as excuses to
increase corporate profits from energy provision". The idea is to present it to governments during Rio+20.

Its key message is:

"We call on Governments to reject the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEFA).

The SEFA process and Action Agenda are deeply flawed and threaten to further entrench destructive, polluting and unjust energy policies for corporate profit
under the guise of alleviating energy poverty, while undermining community rights to energy sovereignty and self determination."

The text is both below and attached. If your group would like to sign, please email biofuelwatch@ymail.com with your group's name and country. Many
thanks.

Best regards,

Almuth


OPEN LETTER: Sustainable Energy for All Initiative- Using poverty and climate change as excuses to increase corporate profits from energy provision

We call on Governments to reject the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative (SEFA).

The SEFA process and Action Agenda are deeply flawed and threaten to further entrench destructive, polluting and unjust energy policies for corporate profit
under the guise of alleviating energy poverty, while undermining community rights to energy sovereignty and self determination.

Like the UN Global Compact, SEFA is another attempt to supersede multilateral UN decision-making processes with 'multi-stakeholder partnerships'
whose primary mission is to generate profits for private companies irrespective of impacts on people and the environment. Any initiative that seeks to
genuinely address the climate crisis and provide access to 'energy for all' must be based on the principle of energy sovereignty rather than on corporate
profits.

Reasons why SEFA is inherently flawed include:

1) SEFA is undemocratic, unaccountable and corporate-controlled:

SEFA, launched by the UN Secretary-General in September 2011, is led by a hand-picked High-Level Panel. Its principal members include energy, industrial
and finance corporations that are major investors in the fossil fuel economy and have a clear interest in benefiting from SEFA - such as Statoil, Eskom,
Siemens and Riverstone Holdings, while only five government representatives and three NGOs are involved1. There was no democratic or transparent
process to select group members.

SEFA's Action Agenda2, which will be put to Governments for endorsement and support at Rio, has been drawn up by this hand-picked High-Level Panel
without any open, public consultation, either with governments or civil society. Subsequent 'civil society consultations' by the SEFA Secretariat have had no
impact on the Action Agenda. Neither the Action Agenda nor SEFA's overall process and principles have been put out for any type of consultation.

SEFA foresees no role for communities other than as new energy consumers, 'recipients' and supporters of private-sector investments. The initiative
ignores the principle of free, prior and informed consent as well as all other basic rights, including rights to land and food and the right to self-determination.

2) SEFA's aim is even greater corporate control over energy policies and decision:

Public-private partnerships designed to favour ever greater corporate investments, expansion and profits lie at the heart of SEFA's vision and strategy.
Meanwhile, governments are expected to absorb more of the risks and costs of corporate investments in energy, for example through research and
development funding to facilitate subsequent private investment, and through the use of public funds for loan guarantees and risk mitigation . Energy
policies are to be drawn up 'in partnership' with corporations and thus for their benefit. Instead of holding corporations accountable for destructive and
polluting energy investments and for excluding communities from access to energy, SEFA's priority is to 'create a better investment climate', including for
corporations with major responsibility for the current ecological and social crises.

3) SEFA's goals are deeply inadequate:

SEFA's goals of "doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency" and "doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix" by 2030 are
entirely inadequate in the face of the climate crisis. The over-consumption of energy in the global North will not be addressed by energy efficiency alone.
Furthermore, according to SEFA the goal of 'energy access' in developing countries is independent from the renewable energy and energy efficiency calls. It
can thus be met through any type of polluting and destructive energy. SEFA's goals would thus allow for an overall growth in energy use and carbon
emissions – including expanding fossil fuel consumption.

4) SEFA promotes dangerous, unsustainable and unproven types of energy generation:

SEFA explicitly promotes and facilitates new fossil fuel investments, including for example a gas pipeline and processing infrastructure in West Africa3.
Finance initiatives for oil pipelines are cited as 'examples'4. No type of industrial energy generation, however polluting and destructive has been excluded
from SEFA's definition of 'sustainable energy' – with at least one government looking at the potential for nuclear power investments to progress SEFA's
aims5. Waste incineration is listed as a positive example in the Action Agenda.

SEFA indiscriminately promotes all types of 'modern', i.e. industrial bioenergy, including agrofuels and electricity from biomass, as well as large scale
hydroelectric power as 'sustainable' despite well known and well documented negative impacts on communities, ecosystems and the climate. SEFA has
already been cited as a justification for new finance for mega-dams (by the World Bank)6 and for corporate investments in land-grabbing for agrofuels7.

Even where a technology could, in principle, improve people's lives and minimise climate change – such as clean and efficient cookstoves – actual
investments may offer few or no benefits. For example, cookstoves that are being promoted by a SEFA-supported initiative8 have already been shown to
offer no actual improvement to indoor pollution and thus people's health9.

Sustainable energy must mean a rapid phasing out of fossil fuels. However, this does not mean replacing them with other harmful types of energy
generation. Agrofuels, large-scale hydro power, nuclear energy, "more efficient" fossil fuel combustion and more natural gas exploitation will not serve the
interests of people or the planet. Energy "access for all" must address both energy poverty and energy overconsumption. It must also address humanity's
footprint on planetary systems, given that we are dangerously close to and in some cases clearly beyond various tipping points. Those who are energy poor,
including in particular women, need access to energy that really is sustainable and renewable, while those who are over-consuming must reduce energy
consumption. This means that the high-energy development model of rich countries must be changed and must not be replicated in the global South by
corporations – as SEFA seeks to do. There are many examples of community-driven, genuinely sustainable initiatives that contribute to energy sovereignty
for women and men that can be replicated. Far from moving in the right direction, the SEFA initiative is poised to further entrench corporate control of energy
policies and investments in polluting, destructive and socially exclusive forms of energy generation.


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[biofuelwatch] Pls support tweet action targetting Ag investor summit in London





Hi all,

 

This week, investors are meeting in London to learn how they can make a quick profit from investing in land.

As part of a coalition of organisations organising a protest outside the conference, we’ve launched a twitter action to tell the investors what we think, using the conference’s hashtag.

 

If you’ve got a spare sec, please do take part in the twitter action (suggested tweets below, but would be even better if you can write your own!) and/ or promote it to your followers (If you’re tweeting to tell others about the tweet action, then pls don’t use the hashtag itself, just the blog link - http://bit.ly/LNm0Xh - ideally we’d rather it looks like people tweeting independently. hope that makes sense!)

 

Suggested tweet to promote the action (don’t include hash tag):   Act now: Tell investors in land grabs that it's plain wrong.  They're meeting right now - http://bit.ly/MqwXhU

 

Suggested tweets to send as part of the action:

 >> Communal land should be for people to feed their communities, not for 'the few' to buy & make a quick buck. #agconf http://bit.ly/LNm0Xh

 >> Stop the global land grab! #agconf http://bit.ly/LNm0Xh

 >> Q: Agriculture in Africa: 'land grab' or 'untapped opportunity'? A: landgrab #agconf http://bit.ly/LNm0Xh

 >> With 1billion going hungry, land is not an 'emerging & expanding asset class' - people need it to survive http://bit.ly/LNm0Xh #agconf

 >> Land is for food not for profit. Stop the global land grab #agconf http://bit.ly/LNm0Xh

 >> I don't want my pension to fund land grabs #agconf http://bit.ly/LNm0Xh 

 

 

Press release about the event: http://www.waronwant.org/news/press-releases/17588-protestors-say-london-summit-pushing-global-land-grabs-and-hunger

 

Guardian coverage:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2012/jun/26/uk-investors-africa-land-summit (guardian coverage, whoop, whoop!)

 

 

Lucy Hurn

When 1 billion people are hungry globally, putting crops into cars - rather than mouths is bonkers! Watch Drive Aid - Stop the biofuels landgrab: http://bit.ly/driveaidvideo

Biofuels campaigner
ActionAid UK
33-39 Bowling Green Lane
London

EC1R 0BJ
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)20 3122 0551
lucy.hurn@actionaid.org
www.actionaid.org.uk

Skype: looocey

 

End poverty. Together.

 


Is this the moment you change a child's future? Sponsor a child for 50p a day

 


ActionAid is a registered charity No. 274467 and a company limited by guarantee
Registered office: ActionAid, 33 - 39 Bowling Green Lane, London EC1R 0BJ, UK
Registered in England and Wales - Company No. 1295174

no disclaimer on replies or forwards

 




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[biofuelwatch] ActionAid recruiting - biofuels





 

Sorry for cross-posting!

 

 

Dear all

 

ActionAid UK has a short term full time opening for a biofuels policy adviser/campaigner. We’re looking for someone who is already working on biofuels and can contribute to ongoing research, policy and campaigns work, as well as planning through 2013.

 

We’re hoping for someone to join us full time for two months starting as soon as possible.

 

If you're interested in joining the biofuels campaign team, here's the ad and details of how to apply:  http://www.actionaid.org.uk/103265/feed.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

 

Please forward to other email lists and professional networks you think relevant.

 

Best wishes

 

Clare

 

 

 

 

 

Clare Coffey
Campaign Manager - Biofuels  
ActionAid UK
33-39 Bowling Green Lane

London EC1R 0BJ

United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 203 122 0590
Mobile: +44 (0) 7557 234076

Skype: clarebcoffey

clare.coffey@actionaid.org
www.actionaid.org.uk

 

End poverty. Together.

 

 


Is this the moment you change a child's future? Sponsor a child for 50p a day

 


ActionAid is a registered charity No. 274467 and a company limited by guarantee
Registered office: ActionAid, 33 - 39 Bowling Green Lane, London EC1R 0BJ, UK
Registered in England and Wales - Company No. 1295174

no disclaimer on replies or forwards

 




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[biofuelwatch] Behind every land grab is a water grab





http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/20624
Squeezing Africa dry: behind every land grab is a water grab
Published: 11 Jun 2012
Posted in:  Cameroon | Egypt | Ethiopia | Kenya | Mali | South Sudan | Sudan
   
Comments (0) Print Email this

GRAIN | 11 June 2012

Food cannot be grown without water. In Africa, one in three people endure water scarcity and climate change will make things worse. Building on Africa's highly sophisticated indigenous water management systems could help resolve this growing crisis, but these very systems are being destroyed by large-scale land grabs amidst claims that Africa's water is abundant, under-utilised and ready to be harnessed for export-oriented agriculture. GRAIN looks behind the current scramble for land in Africa to reveal a global struggle for what is increasingly seen as a commodity more precious than gold or oil - water.

The Alwero river in Ethiopia's Gambela region provides both sustenance and identity for the indigenous Anuak people who have fished its waters and farmed its banks and surrounding lands for centuries. Some Anuak are pastoralists, but most are farmers who move to drier areas in the rainy season before returning to the river banks. This seasonal agricultural cycle helps nurture and maintain soil fertility. It also helps structure the culture around the collective repetition of traditional cultivation practices related to rainfall and rising rivers as each community looks after its own territory and the waters and farmlands within it. 

One new plantation in Gambela, owned by Saudi-based billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi, is irrigated with water diverted from the Alwero River. Thousands of people depend on Alwero's water for their survival and Al-Moudi's industrial irrigation plans could undermine their access to it. In April 2012, tensions over the project spilled over, when an armed group ambushed Al-Amoudi's Saudi Star Development Company operations, leaving five people dead.

The tensions in south western Ethiopia illustrate the central importance of access to water in the global land rush. Hidden behind the current scramble for land is a world-wide struggle for control over water. Those who have been buying up vast stretches of farmland in recent years, whether they are based in Addis Ababa, Dubai or London, understand that the access to water they gain, often included for free and without restriction, may well be worth more over the long-term, than the land deals themselves.

In recent years, Saudi Arabian companies have been acquiring millions of hectares of lands overseas to produce food to ship back home. Saudi Arabia does not lack land for food production. What's missing in the Kingdom is water, and its companies are seeking it in countries like Ethiopia.

Indian companies like Bangalore-based Karuturi Global are doing the same. Aquifers across the sub-continent have been depleted by decades of unsustainable irrigation. The only way to feed India's growing population, the claim is made, is by sourcing food production overseas, where water is more available.

"The value is not in the land," says Neil Crowder of UK-based Chayton Capital which has been acquiring farmland in Zambia. "The real value is in water." [1]

And companies like Chayton Capital think that Africa is the best place to find that water. The message repeated at farmland investor conferences around the globe is that water is abundant in Africa. It is said that Africa's water resources are vastly under utilised, and ready to be harnessed for export oriented agriculture projects.

The reality is that a third of Africans already live in water-scarce environments and climate change is likely to increase these numbers significantly. Massive land deals could rob millions of people of their access to water and risk the depletion of the continent's most precious fresh water sources. 

All of the land deals in Africa involve large-scale, industrial agriculture operations that will consume massive amounts of water. Nearly all of them are located in major river basins with access to irrigation. They occupy fertile and fragile wetlands, or are located in more arid areas that can draw water from major rivers. In some cases the farms directly access ground water by pumping it up. These water resources are lifelines for local farmers, pastoralists and other rural communities. Many already lack sufficient access to water for their livelihoods. If there is anything to be learnt from the past, it is that such mega-irrigation schemes can not only put the livelihoods of millions of rural communities at risk, they can threaten the freshwater sources of entire regions. 

Read the full report online or download the PDF here: http://www.grain.org/e/4516



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