Take Action: Stop EcoEnergy's Land Grab in Bagamoyo, Tanzania
Eurodad’s member ActionAid has published a new report titled Take Action: Stop EcoEnergy's Land Grab in Bagamoyo, Tanzania. This report shows that approximately 1,300 people will lose some or all of their land or homes to make way for a sugarcane plantation which is a flagship project of the G8’s initiative to increase agricultural investment in Africa, the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition. While EU money does not directly go to the company, the EU has committed their aid funding in Tanzania in support of the goals of the New Alliance, an investment framework that prioritises the interests of the private sector and the creation of large commercial farms.
One of the ways that EcoEnergy proposes the project will benefit the communities is through an ‘outgrower’ or contract farming scheme in which 1,500 farmers will grow sugarcane and supply the company at an agreed price. ActionAid warns that the proposal is very risky for the farmers as they are expected, in groups of 50, to create their own company and take out loans of at least US$800,000. This is equivalent to US$16,000 per person which is 30 times the minimum annual agricultural salary in Tanzania. EcoEnergy estimates that it will take at least seven years for the farmers to pay back the loan and make a profit.
ActionAid is calling on the EU to stop all engagement in and support for the New Alliance and replace it with genuine initiatives to support small-scale food producers and advance sustainable agriculture. Donor governments should also establish guidelines for companies involved in public-private partnerships in order to prevent land grabs as well as other harmful social and environmental impacts.
On this specific project in Bagamoyo, ActionAid is calling on the government of Tanzania to suspend the project and conduct a new process of consultation with the community.