【Record】English articles on ProSAVANA

English articles on ProSAVANA and the local farmers protest.
There are rich archives of the past articles related to this issues in English.
Please check the following site.

*The latest article (from Southern Times) is posted in the bottom.

■The Japan Times(KYODO MAY 31, 2013)
"Mozambique farmers seek halt to aid project"

"Farmers in Mozambique are calling on the governments of Japan, Brazil and Mozambique to halt a project aimed at supporting agricultural development there, saying it will result in land grabs.
Members of the National Peasants Union, known as UNAC, which represents peasants across Mozambique, and representatives of international nongovernmental organizations issued an open letter Wednesday that the ProSavana program is designed to facilitate foreign investment and will jeopardize the local production system based on family-run agriculture.”

Originaly published at the following site:

Previous article also postedon the Japan Times, but only depend on the information provided by JICA. The name of the biggest farmers association in Mozambique who came to Japan to share their protest with the Japanese public was not mentioned, nor interviewed even by e-mail....It's clear that the problem wasn't rooted in "misunderstanding". Please read the above or following article.

"TICAD to redefine Japan aid to Africa:Decades-long economic slump means Tokyo has to change tack" BY JUN HONGO

"In February, farmers from Mozambique visited Japan and held news conferences to express concern over Tokyo’s assistance to the region. Some claimed that they feared losing their source of income once their land is used for massive production projects to generate global exports.
“There is some misunderstanding that needs to be resolved,” Sakaguchi said, explaining that projects like ProSavana will proceed with the utmost care for local farmers."

■ Kyodo News (June 3)
Concern mounts over agriculture development plan in Mozambique


YOKOHAMA, June 3 Kyodo - While Japan advocated investment and private sector-led growth in Africa at a just-ended conference on the region's development, concern mounted among civil society groups that an agriculture project in Mozambique, which Tokyo is pushing through as one of its key projects in Africa, may end up depriving local farmers of their land.

"Small farmers are really concerned about the project," Augusto Mafigo, president of Mozambique's National Peasants' Union known as UNAC, said in an interview with Kyodo News.

The program dubbed "ProSavana," which is promoted by the Japanese, Brazilian and Mozambican governments, eyes developing a vast area of intact savanna in northern Mozambique, encompassing more than 10 million hectares of land in three provinces.

■Globalpost (2013 June 3)
"Concern mounts over agriculture development plan in Mozambique"


*Longer version of the above Kyodo article.
"However, the Civic Commission for Africa, which represented members of Japanese and African civil society at the three-day fifth TICAD through Monday, also expressed concerns that ProSavanna is actually designed to promote agribusiness that will only benefit foreign companies.

"TICAD...should ensure that its process does not lead to the dispossession of the small farmers' land in what is commonly referred to as land grabbing," it said in a statement issued Monday. (...)

The Japan International Cooperation Agency, which is involved in the project, says there has been "misunderstandings" among the locals in Mozambique, emphasizing that the project is aimed at improving the agricultural skills of local farmers to boost their standard of living.

The UNAC, which represents peasants across Mozambique, last month submitted an open letter to the Japanese government calling for the project to be halted, saying it is designed to facilitate foreign investment and that local peasants are not included in the consultation process. (...)

According to the UNAC, around 80 percent of the population in Mozambique is engaged in agriculture as a means of living, and roughly 90 percent of cultivated land in the country is tended by small, family-run farms.

Mafigo said he himself grows crops such as potatoes, cassava and peanuts, which is enough to feed his wife and seven children, although that does not make a lot of money. He says farmers in Mozambique would prefer assistance that would allow them to sustain traditional farming.

"If (foreign companies) take the land away from me, I won't afford even to live in the condition I'm living right now...I will go through misery" if the project is implemented, he said."

2. Online記事
■Japan Today (June 3)
At TICAD, clumsy diplomacy mars controversial Japanese aid project in Mozambique

By Dreux Richard

"At TICAD, clumsy diplomacy mars controversial Japanese aid project in Mozambique"

"(...)ProSavana faces opposition from a coalition of Mozambican farmers’ unions and civil society groups who sent their own delegation to TICAD this weekend. They claim that Japan’s aid apparatus, which is financing and implementing much of the project, has failed to solicit adequate community input, and that the project’s details weren’t presented to its supposed beneficiaries until this March, when the coalition requested a meeting with JICA. For coalition member Antonio Muagerene, who has been reading about his home region’s forthcoming fate in newspapers for years, the notion of Japanese aid agencies treating his nation’s farmland like a jigsaw puzzle is unnerving. “These are our lives you’re talking about,” he said on Sunday."

Muagerene, a civil society organizer in one of the Mozambican provinces targeted by ProSavana, takes personally the suggestion that Mozambique’s small farms are ineffective by design. At age seven, he purchased his first school supplies with money earned from a modest peanut patch his parents had given him to cultivate. His parents later paid for his college education with their farm’s modest revenues. He points out that some of the rhetoric underlying the ProSavana sales pitch is schizophrenic: aid donors seem fond of mentioning that Mozambique’s farms aren’t productive enough to feed the nation, but the ProSavana plan would encourage the cultivation of commodity export crops, very few of which would be sold by Mozambican companies or consumed within the country.

On Sunday, I spoke with a member of Malawi’s delegation to TICAD, who asked that his name be withheld because he had not been authorized to comment on ProSavana. “Given what we’ve learned in Malawi, to even consider the implementation of this plan in its current, corporatized form is profoundly naive. It has nothing to do with food security in Mozambique and everything to do with the end of cheap land in Brazil; agriculture companies need a new source of cheap land to exploit.” he said.

Muagerene says the farmers’ coalition isn’t trying to prevent the implementation of ProSavana or discourage investment, but to create an adequate space for community input and the discussion of potential consequences. (...)"

■Africa-Asia Confidential "Agricultural revolution delayed"
June 2013 Vol.6 No.8
"The ProSavana project has been set up to repeat a Japan International Cooperation Agency programme that helped to turn Brazil's Cerrado region into a major agricultural producer. Its proponents claim the project will revolutionise Mozambique's agriculture, but opponents warn that it will lead to a land grab in the north of the country. The trilateral cooperation, between Japan, Brazil and Mozambique, involves three provinces – Nampula, Zambezia and Niassa – 14 districts and 8.7% of the national territory. The designated area also falls in the Nacala Development Corridor...."

■AIM Mozambique, Japan Sign Historic Agreement

YOKOHAMA (Japan), June 3 (Bernama) -- Mozambique and Japan on Saturday in the Japanese city of Yokohama signed a bilateral agreement for the protection of investments -- the first agreement of its type that Japan has entered into in sub Saharan Africa.
(Aiuba Cuereneia)The Minister stated, "this agreement will stimulate the flow of Japanese investment to various sectors of the Mozambican economy. It will help with the development of infrastructure, expansion of agriculture and agro-industry, and the transfer of technology, and will contribute to us achieving the goal of an economic growth rate of above eight per cent over the next five to ten years".

(The Japanese Foreign Minister) pointed out that "Mozambique possesses the world's largest reserves of natural gas and the biggest reserves of coking coal in Africa".

Fumio Kishida stated that there are many Japanese businesses waiting for the signing of this agreement which "comprehensively details the liberalisation, promotion and protection of investments". (...)"

<= "Protection of investment" and not "rights of the people who live there...
<= Focus only on the number / GDP, and not disparity and extreme poverty that majority of the people are suffering from. Mozambique's Human Development Index is the 2nd lowest in the world after Niger and DRCongo.

■ Southern Times (June 10, 2013)
"Peasants vs Big Business"

By Charles Mangwiro

"Maputo - Mozambique’s President Armando Guebuza has rebuffed allegations that land-grabbing has taken place along the Nacala Corridor under the Japanese and Brazilian-supported ProSavana agriculture project in the north of the country. Land rights activists have claimed that the project will deprive local farmers of their sole means of survival. “Small farmers are really concerned about the project,” Augusto Mafigo, president of Mozambique’s National Peasants’ Union, known by its Portuguese acronym as UNAC, said. The ProSavana project is officially touted as a good example of private sector and constructive development aid-led growth.

It entails development of a vast area of intact savannah in northern Mozambique, covering more than 10 million hectares of land in three provinces. The idea is premised on a 1970s project between Japan and Brazil in which Tokyo helped the latter open up land in the Cerrado savannah ‑ previously thought to be of little commercial value ‑ to soybean farming for export. Brazil became a major soybean exporter and together with Japan, they want to replicate the project in Mozambique.

The Japan International Co-operation Agency says land rights activists have misunderstood the project. The agency says ProSavana will not only result in commercial farming, but will also impart critical skills to local farmers.

President Guebuza has responded thus: “We do not want to take land from farmers. On the contrary, the objective is to make available, with title, land for farmers and to make them more productive for the benefit of the farming communities."

However, the Civic Commission for Africa, which represented Japanese and African civil society groups at the recent Tokyo International Conference on African Development ‑ also expressed concerns that ProSavana is actually designed to promote agribusiness that will only benefit foreign companies. Local farmers, they say, will be pushed off their land in what is becoming a “land-grabbing” trend across much of Africa.

Peasants’ representative body UNAC last month wrote to the Japanese government calling for the project to be halted. UNAC says its fears are premised on past experiences with foreign investors. In 2010, they say, farmers in Tete Province were forced to move off their land after abundant coal reserves were found there.
By all accounts, land grabbing is intensifying and spreading, especially in rural Africa. “NGOs estimate that in Eastern Africa alone, 310 land deals have been completed since 2000,” he says. The International Land Coalition has estimated that between 2000 and 2010, some 261 million acres of arable land, mostly in Africa, was bought by investors.
Groups opposed to the practice of land grabs claim that the World Bank is partially responsible for these land grabs for two reasons. First, World Bank policies caused African governments to privatise land and focus on industrial farming. “Second, by providing capital and guarantees to big multinational investors, the World Bank is exacerbating the global rush for farmland.” Land grabs, analysts say, increase the risk of food shortages and contribute to food insecurity. This is because foreign investors prioritise commercial crops such as coffee and tobacco. Food crops they grow are mainly their own staples, like potatoes and rice, and these are grown for foreign markets.
African governments should instead sell such land to African entities, or at the very least, entities that will be required to keep a portion of all grown food in the host state to feed the populace. African governments must also reform land tenure and land registration laws to ensure that their citizens are not forced off land that they have farmed for generations. “Only when African states control their land can they ensure that their citizens do not go hungry,” Alter concludes.