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Oromia /Ethiopia: More Victims of Extra-Judicial Killings, Kidnappings, Arrests and Detentions. The Human Rights League has confirmed that deaths resulting from the ongoing crackdown of peaceful protesters in various parts of the state of Oromia has now reached 122, while mass arrests and detentions have also been intensified. December 26, 2015

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Odaa Oromoooromoprotests-tweet-and-share1Sabboona Oromoo Baayyisaa TaaddasaaStop killing Oromo Students#OromoLivesMatters!Agazi, fascist TPLF Ethiopia's forces attacking unarmed and peaceful #OromoProtests in Baabichaa town central Oromia (w. Shawa) , December 10, 2015Baqqalaa Garbaa and Dajanee Xaafaa of Oromo Federalist CongressSabboonaa Oromoo Barataa Dajannee Sarbeessaaoromoprotests-finfinnee-aau-over-kidnapping-of-two-female-students-their-name-is-lomitu-waqbulcho-3rd-year-afan-oromo-hirut-tule-2nd-year-chemical-engineering-18-december-2012Hawi Tazara , our sister, our music, our famous Oromo artist

Oromia Regional State /Ethiopia: More Victims of Extra-Judicial Killings, Kidnappings, Arrests and Detentions

HRLHA Urgent Action

December 25, 2015

imagesThe Human Rights League of the Horn of Africa (HRLHA) has confirmed that deaths resulting from the ongoing crackdown of peaceful protesters in various parts of the regional state of Oromia has now reached 122, while mass arrests and detentions have also been intensified. Top officials of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) party have been targeted in the most recent cases of kidnappings, arrests and detentions. Accordingly, Mr. Dajane Tafa, Deputy General Secretary of OFC, was kidnapped by federal armed forces and taken away to yet unknown destination yesterday morning, December 24, 2015 around the area known as Giyorgis, in the centre of the Capital Finfinne/Addis Ababa on his way to work. In the same way, Mr. Bekele Garba, Deputy Chairman of the OFC, who spent about four years in jail on fabricated allegations and released recently, was also arrested yesterday afternoon from his home in Adama and taken away also by armed federal forces. HRLHA has been informed that homes of both Mr. Dajane Tafa and Mr. Bekele Garba have been searched for hours; and that of Mr. Bekele Gerba in particular remained invaded and surrounded by the federal armed forces until late in the afternoon.

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Worldwatch Institute:Land “Grabbing” Grows as Agricultural Resources Dwindle October 8, 2015

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Land “Grabbing” Grows as Agricultural Resources Dwindle

As global agricultural resources shrink or shift, countries are crossing border to obtain new farmlands

Worldwatch Institute, October 6, 2015

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/14725

Washington, D.C.Since 2000, more than 36 million hectares—an area about the size of Japan—has been purchased or leased by foreign entities, mostly for agricultural use. Today, nearly 15 million hectares more is under negotiation (www.worldwatch.org).

“Farmland is lost or degraded on every continent, while ‘land grabbing’—the purchase or lease of agricultural land by foreign interests—has emerged as a threat to food security in several countries,” writes Gary Gardner, contributing author of the Worldwatch Institute’s State of the World 2015: Confronting Hidden Threats to Sustainability.

About half of grabbed land is intended exclusively for use in agriculture, while another 25 percent is intended for a mix of agricultural and other uses. (The land that is not used for agriculture is often used for forestry.) Land grabbing has surged since 2005 in response to a food price crisis and the growing demand for biofuels in the United States and the European Union. Droughts in the United States, Argentina, and Australia, has further driven interest in land overseas.

“Today, the FAO reports that essentially no additional suitable [agricultural] land remains in a belt around much of the middle of the planet,” writes Gardner. As a result, the largest grabbers of land are often countries that need additional resources to meet growing demands.

Over half of the global grabbed land is in Africa, especially in water-rich countries like the Congo. Asia comes second, contributing over 6 million hectares, mainly from Indonesia. The largest area acquired from a single country is in Papua New Guinea, with nearly 4 million hectares (over 8 percent of the country’s total land cover) sold or leased out.

The largest investor country is the United States, a country already rich in agricultural land. The United States alone has acquired about 7 million hectares worldwide. Malaysia comes in a distant second, with just over 3.5 million hectares acquired.

Land grabbing is precipitated by the growing challenges shaking the foundation of food production: the water, land, and climate that make crop growth possible. Globally, some 20 percent of aquifers are being pumped faster than they are recharged by rainfall, stressing many key food-producing areas. Land is becoming degraded through erosion and salinization or is getting paved for development. The changing climate is projected to cause a net decline of 0.2–2 percent in crop yields per decade over the remainder of the century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The dangers of land grabbing are evident. Large-scale purchases often do not consider the interests of smallholders who may have been working the land over a long period. Additionally, the transfer of resources from poorer countries to wealthier ones increases the vulnerability of the target countries that surrender their own access to land and water resources to foreign investors and governments.

“As demand for agricultural goods increases, and as our planet’s water and fertile land become more scarce and its atmosphere less stable, greater effort will be needed to conserve resources and to exploit opportunities for greater efficiency throughout the agricultural system,” writes Gardner.

By preventing food waste, increasing water efficiency, conserving agricultural land, and decreasing production of meat and biofuels (both of which require large quantities of land and water for grain or crops), Gardner believes that the stress on food systems can be reduced. In addition, the international adoption of the right to food, already integrated in the constitutions of 28 countries, will ensure that food cannot be withheld for political reasons.

Worldwatch’s State of the World 2015 investigates hidden threats to sustainability, including economic, political, and environmental challenges that are often underreported in the media. State of the World 2015 highlights the need to develop resilience to looming shocks. For more information on the project, visit http://www.worldwatch.org/state-world-2015-confronting-hidden-threats-sustainability-0.

—END—

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/14725

A THIRSTY THIRD WORLD: HOW LAND GRABS ARE LEAVING ETHIOPIA IN THE DUST, By Emily Ingebretsen September 19, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in Land and resource Rights, Land Grabs in Africa, Land Grabs in Oromia.
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???????????Tigrean Neftengna's land grabbing and the Addis Ababa Master plan for Oormo genocide

Land grab inOromiaEthiopian-land-giveaway

Attracting investment to Ethiopia by offering large plots of land to agricultural investors is a development strategy being aggressively pursued by the Ethiopian government. The government announced this strategy in 2009, stating it planned to lease 3 million hectares1 of land to foreign and domestic investors for agriculture use over a period of three years in order to increase productivity and earn foreign exchange (McClure 2009, 1). The simplest motivation for these actions is macroeconomic. In 2009, the IMF issued a staff report stating that the balance of payments in Ethiopia for the 2009-2010 year was “troubling” due to the global recession taking a toll on remittances, exports, and direct foreign investment. The impact of rising oil prices and decreasing foreign assistance was also expected to have an impact (IMF 2009, 5). In response to these prospects, the Ethiopian government created the Federal Land Bank to facilitate the acquisition of land by investors looking to acquire large tracts for cultivation. The foreign investors are mainly coming from India and Saudi Arabia, but also from Germany, Israel, the Netherlands, Italy, China, and recently, even the National Bank of Egypt (Makki and Geisler 2011, 13). In addition, about half of the investors are domestic, representing Ethiopian diaspora or wealthy Ethiopian highland residents (Vidal 2011). The investors are mainly interested in growing crops to export to their home markets or in cultivating agrofuels, crops which are used to create biofuels. While some 1 Approximately 7.4 million acres A THIRSTY THIRD WORLD Page 7 of 74 companies promise to sell some produce on the domestic market, there are no contractual obligations to do such. The issue of transferring land and its productive uses from domestic cultivators to foreign interests is particularly concerning in Ethiopia as it is a country that has often made headlines for famines, and the underlying issue, droughts. Despite having a great deal of water in certain areas, sporadic rainfall and poor collection techniques make water security a central issue of concern for the country. Many of the countries that are choosing to grow crops in Ethiopia are countries that face water insecurities of their own. They are seeking to stabilize their food security, but the impact that this will have on water access and quality for Ethiopians who depend on subsistence agriculture for survival is not being addressed in the deals that have been made. Anders Jågerskog, a leading scholar on the issue of water and land deals from the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) has noted that, “The risk from poorly supervised land acquisitions is that a wealthy economy simply exports its water “footprint” elsewhere” (SAPA 2012). It is especially concerning that the design and implementation of this policy is having a stratified, possibly intentional, impact on the different ethnically divided regions of the country. The region experiencing the heaviest concentration of land deals is Gambella, a comparatively tiny region in the southwestern part of the country, bordered by newly formed South Sudan to its west. This area has had 42 percent of its land leased out to investors. Gambella also has had a difficult and increasingly violent relationship with the federal government. There have been numerous instances of the government targeting this region with oppressive tactics, violence, and biased policies. It is also one of the areas that has been identified for the latest wave of villagization, a process of relocation that is being undertaken to “increase service delivery.” However, Gambella’s villagization program appears to be being pursued with greater intensity than other regions’ programs as the government has stated it intends to relocate every indigenous, rural household in Gambella (HRW 2012, 22). The scale and intensity of these land grabs in this region coupled with the fervor of villagization is very concerning and merits much closer attention. –  Emily-Ingebretsen.-A-Thirsty-Third-World

http://wh2ojournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Emily-Ingebretsen.-A-Thirsty-Third-World.pdf

Also read at:-

A THIRSTY THIRD WORLD: HOW LAND GRABS ARE LEAVING ETHIOPIA IN THE DUST,  WH2O Issue 4,   pp 94-103

http://issuu.com/daniellegambogi/docs/wh2o_issue_4_pq

Democracy Now: As Peace Talks Collapse in South Sudan, Film Shows “Pathology of Colonialism” Tearing Apart Nation August 25, 2015

Posted by OromianEconomist in South Sudan.
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Peace talks between South Sudan’s warring sides have failed to reach a deal to end a civil war which has claimed tens of thousands of lives in the world’s youngest nation. Last week, the United States proposed implementing a United Nations arms embargo on South Sudan and new sanctions unless the government signs a peace deal to end the conflict. Now the situation in South Sudan is the subject of a new documentary, “We Come as Friends,” by Austrian director Hubert Sauper that provides an aerial view of the conflict in Sudan from a shaky, handmade two-seater plane. The film depicts American investors, Chinese oilmen, United Nations officials and Christian missionaries struggling to shape Sudan according to their own visions, while simultaneously applauding the alleged “independence” of the world’s newest state. What emerges is a devastating critique of the consequences of cultural and economic imperialism. We speak with Hauper and feature excerpts from the film, which debuts this week in theaters.

 http://www.democracynow.org/2015/8/25/as_peace_talks_collapse_in_south

The battle for Africa’s food future June 3, 2014

Posted by OromianEconomist in Africa, Africa Rising, African Poor, Agriculture, Climate Change, Colonizing Structure, Food Production, No to land grabs in Oromia, No to the Addis Ababa Master Plan, NO to the Evictions of Oromo Nationals from Finfinnee (Central Oromia), Omo Valley, Oromia, Poverty, The Colonizing Structure & The Development Problems of Oromia.
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Odaa OromooProfessor Abukutsa-Onyango with giant Amaranthus at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

The scale of foreign agribusiness on African soil could soon change how what we eat is grown, but also what we eat. The livelihoods of small-scale farmers hang in the balance. But a counter movement is forming. Meet three warrior queens battling for Africa’s food future.

Tanzania’s Janet Maro, who is teaching people the principles of chemical-free growing, intercropping and more. Photo © Peter Lüthi, Biovision

Tanzania’s Janet Maro, who is teaching people the principles of chemical-free growing, intercropping and more. Photo © Peter Lüthi, Biovision

Africa is at a tipping point – soon the scale of foreign agribusiness on African soil could change who owns vast tracts of land, how food is grown there and what the average person will consume. The livelihoods of small-scale farmers who work family farms, which still make up 80 per cent of Africa’s farms, hang in the balance.

The major actors in this drama are unsurprising: Monsanto, Unilever, Diageo, Cargill and their peers. All have identified sub-Saharan African, with its fertile lands and budding consumer markets, as a place of great opportunity, rich for the picking – African countries are not referred to as ‘frontier economies’ by the West for nothing. Many African governments have signed up to this agenda. Some buy into the notion that large scale agribusiness will bring food security, others that it will bring their country economic growth, others still are just content with the short-term financial gain that such investment often brings.

(On that concept of ‘food security’, it’s worth pointing out that between 1991 and 2011 sub-Saharan African food production increased 10 per cent per person, yet in the same decade there was a 40 per cent increase in the number of undernourished people…)

So if the political representatives of these countries will not man the barricades, who will? The good news is that, while many of the youth of Africa have joined in the clamour for KFC and Subway and see fast food as a way of belonging to global (or American) culture, others are forming movements to protect and promote real food.

“I ask them do they like beer? Beer is bitter too, but they drink that…”

While in Western economies, the consumption of fast food is often seen as a sign of poverty, and organic, fresh food a sign of middle-class identity, in many African economies it is the other way round. Your ability to stump up the cash for a junk food ‘brand’ is a sign of membership of what is in numerical terms still a small elite, whereas the cash-poor and rural dwellers will tend to a healthier diet of, for example, beans and maizemeal.

Beside the socio-economic picture, there is also the threat of climate change, already being felt clearly in many parts of Africa in the form of flooding, drought and desertification. Large-scale agribusiness with synthetic inputs would likely exacerbate the situation – whereas Africa still has the chance to lead by forward-thinking example. If there is anywhere in the world with the opportunity to combine natural, small-scale food production and distribution with clean technology, it’s this fertile continent.

Three female food warriors taking centre stage in this battle are Kenya’s Professor Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, Tanzania’s Janet Maro and South Africa’s Mariam Mayet. Between them they are teaching the health benefits of Africa’s own indigenous plants, promoting the advantages of organic agriculture, and fighting the incursions of the multinationals into Africa.

Professor Mary Abutukutsa-Onyango is professor of horticulture at Jomo Kenyatta University in Kenya.

Professor Abukutsa-Onyango has been advocating the consumption of indigenous African plants for two decades now. She says Africans have forgotten about some of the local plants that offer the greatest nutrition of all – such as jute mallow, spider plant and amaranthus. These plants offer a health kick that makes spinach look about as nutritious as chips, she explains.

Professor Abukutsa-Onyango with giant Amaranthus at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology

It hasn’t always been easy persuading people to eat up their greens, and for her first decade she faced an uphill battle. But now her work is gaining recognition (she recently won the prestigious Edinburgh Medal for Science and is an Elder of the Order of the Burning Spear in Kenya). She has written recipes so that people can experiment with these plants at home, a commercial seed company is stocking the seeds for the first time, and she’s hoping that these varieties will finally catch on and become mainstream. “People sometimes complain that they are bitter,” she laughs, “but I ask them do they like beer? Beer is bitter too, but they drink that…”

“The truth is that when we were colonised the white folk came with their own foods and we abandoned our own foods, but with time we realised that there was something special about them.”

If she has her way an indigenous food revolution is on its way, and those with green fingers might like to try growing and cooking these plants themselves.

Janet Maro is the founder of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania.

At 26, Janet Maro may be relatively young but she is making a serious impact. A former agriculture student herself, she identified a need for farmers to be trained in organic agriculture in order for them to be independent and have food sovereignty – choice and control over their own food production. Telling the tale of the first group of farmers that she went to visit in a bid to prevent deforestation and slash-and-burn practices, she sadly jokes that they didn’t believe she was for real, because she hiked to see them rather than turning up in a fancy vehicle.

Janet Fares Maro and Aurelian Chuma from Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania (SAT) together with Rashid Mdoka who is doing his research on plant teas in the SAT demonstration garden at Tushikamane Centre

She runs a residential centre near Morogoro for farmers (and others interested in organic farming) where people can be taught the principles of chemical-free growing, intercropping and more. Like Professor Abukutsa-Onyango she has found several plants in her work with interesting nutritional, medicinal or farming uses.

While her work is positive and rewarding, she’s not afraid to emphasise the negative – for example, the issue of village land that has been used by families for generations being allocated for foreign investment, as formal proof of ownership does not exist in these unsurveyed areas. Kilombero and Ifakara, home of Tanzania’s most famous rice, are cases in point, she says, and she’s concerned that the future of the rice and those who farm it is in jeopardy as much of this land has now been demarcated for investment.

“In most parts of Tanzania, people depend on farming, whether it’s subsistence or they make money from it. If they don’t have land to cultivate and grow food then what else will they do to feed themselves and make some income? Maybe they will have to move to the cities, where there is unemployment because there aren’t enough industries for people to work in, and an investor for sure will come with his tractors and harvesters and planters. These all need skills, but what about a farmer who cannot read or write? Who will give him an opportunity?”

Mariam Mayet is the executive director of the African Centre for Biosafety in South Africa.

Since the late 1990s, Mayet has been campaigning against genetically modified seeds and food, and she set up the African Centre for Biosafety to fight the introduction of GMOs in South Africa as well as monitoring the development of policy elsewhere on the continent.

South Africa, unlike most other African countries, is already far down the line when it comes to the industrialisation of agriculture. “Just a few big boys get to play in the system, giving them a lot of power over what is available on the market at what prices,” says Mayet. What are the solutions? They’re complex, she says, but include access to land and water as a fundamental. There is also a need to help smallholders collectively break the stranglehold of the big supermarket chains. Often persecuted urban street vendors can actually be key to making fresh, local produce available to those who commute or work long hours.

It seems odd that food, such a central part of our lives, and farming, such a core African livelihood, have taken such a low political profile. Where they are talked about, the concept of ‘food security’ is being used as a Trojan horse to persuade many nations to swallow the pill of land takeovers by foreign firms and pressure on small-scale farmers to adopt GM seed and chemical fertilisers to fill the coffers of their makers and IP owners.

Mariam Mayet

Says Mayet: “We see the New Alliance and AGRA as principal ways for large corporations to secure new profits in Africa while laying the burden for infrastructural and institutional development on African states, allowing them to come in and annihilate African-owned agricultural systems virtually risk-free. All in the name of philanthropy.”

Going back to Professor Abukutsa-Onyango, by far the most established of the three, having been honoured in Kenya and won African Union and international prizes, even she is scathing about these developments:

In Western economies, organic food is a sign of middle-class identity; in African economies it is the other way round

“This New Alliance is something we look at with great caution in Africa. These multinationals when they come in… in Africa, agriculture is a livelihood and not just a business. If you deny African farmers the ability to do what they need to do by bringing in multinationals, they will take over their livelihoods. Secondly, if you do not allow the farmers to grow what they want you going to end their food sovereignty – if you give them this crop and tell them to grow it, that’s not what we want, we want diversity… I want African governments not to give leeway to the multinationals.”

But have these corporations won the PR battle in Africa? Says Mayet: “To a large extent they have [won], their story of ‘progress’ and their ‘one-size-fits-all’ quick fix philosophy is very compelling. However they will always come undone at some point because they fail to understand just how differently agriculture works in Africa and that food is not solely a commodity but agriculture is embedded in culture and social cohesion.”

“Their neat plans and intellectual property regimes are going to be severely tested in the reality of African food production. The other issue is that industrial agriculture is capital intensive and the vast majority of farmers will simply never be involved in these projects.” Read more @http://thisisafrica.me/warrior-queens-battle-africas-food-future/