Hard to refuse bio-companies

Farmers in Tanzania sell agricultural land to foreign investments

– It is not true that biofuel doesn’t compete with food production. Even if sugar-cane and jatropha is cultivated on other spots than food crops, the farmers have to re-prioritize their labor. This will affect food security, says Jumanne Abdallah, guest researcher at NAI during 18 April – 29 June.

He belongs to the rural cluster and works together with NAI researchers Kjell Havnevik and Linda Engström. After his stay at NAI, Jumanne Abdallah returns to Tanzania and continues to work with the project Large scale agro investments in Tanzania – impacts on smallholder land access and food security for another three years.

– There is much written on the subject but still little evidence on the process of land-grabbing. The project therefore aims to investigate which are the companies involved and what are they precisely doing, says Jumanne Abdallah.

The negotiations of land-contracts are of special interest. There is no balance of power, big global companies against small scale farmers with no experience of negotiating their land use.

– In addition, the local authorities are keen to the investments and try to convince the villagers to sell their land. That makes it very hard for the farmers to resist, says Jumanne Abdallah.

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