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Mozambique: Agriculture Project Challenged

AfricaFocus Bulletin
June 12, 2013 (130612)
(Reposted from sources cited below)

Editor's Note

"We, the rural populations, families from the communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and Mozambican civil society, recognising the importance and urgency of combating poverty and promoting sustainable and sovereign development, believe it is timely and crucial to voice our concerns and proposals in relation to the ProSavana Programme. ... After several discussions at community level in the districts covered by this programme, with Mozambican Government authorities [and with representatives of Brazil and Japan], we find that there are many discrepancies and contradictions [confirming] defects in the programme design; irregularities in the alleged process of public consultation and participation; serious and imminent threat of usurpation of rural populations' lands and forced removal of communities from areas that they currently occupy." - Open letter to leaders of Mozambique, Brazil, and Japan, May 28, 2013

Like other critiques of the private-sector bias of recent international schemes for agricultural development in Africa, this statement does not contend that large private-sector enterprises should be totally excluded from agricultural development plans in Africa. But it reflects a wide consensus among African and international civil society groups that plans primarily based on making life easier for large corporate interests will end up primarily benefiting those interests, with few gains and many likely damages for small farmers and the public interest.

This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains an open letter from Mozambican, Brazilian, and Japanese civil society groups addressed to the leaders of Mozambique, Brazil, and Japan, challenging the multinational Pro-Savana Programme in the Nacala corridor of northern Mozambique. The Programme is being introduced without adequate consultation and environmental checks, they argue, and in its present form will do irreparable damage to the small farmers of the affected area. Meanwhile, the primary beneficiaries will be private-sector firms unchecked by accountability to the public interest.

Also included below is an excerpt from the Cooperation Agreement with Mozambique under the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, illustrating the policies being imposed as a condition for the "aid" and privatesector investment.

Another AfricaFocus Bulletin released today and available on the web at, contains contains a joint statement by African civil society groups, challenging the claim that the G8 New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition that their programs benefit African farmers and food security. In fact, as this statement and multiple reports document, the insistence on private-sector-led development, without adequate checks and policy direction by government and farmers themselves, is contributing to the dispossession of African farmers at the expense of both large and small private-sector firms from around the world.

That Bulletin also contains links to other recent critiques of the New Alliance and "development" projects of a similar nature.

Official background on the New Alliance programs, including texts of cooperation agreements signed with African countries, is available at / direct URL:

For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on agriculture issues, visit

++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++

Open Letter from Mozambican civil society organisations and movements to the presidents of Mozambique and Brazil and the Prime Minister of Japan

Maputo, May 28, 2013

His Excellency the President of the Republic of Mozambique, Armando Guebuza

Her Excellency the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff

His Excellency the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe

Subject: Open Letter to Urgently Stop and Reflect on the ProSavana Programme


The Government of the Republic of Mozambique, in partnership with the Governments of the Federative Republic of Brazil and Japan, officially launched the ProSavana Programme in April 2011. The programme is the result of a trilateral partnership of the three governments with the purpose of, purportedly, promoting the development of agriculture in the tropical savannas of the Nacala Corridor in northern Mozambique.

Opposition to the ProSavana project in northern Mozambique is intensifying.

The entry and implementation strategy of ProSavana is based on, justifiably, the urgent need to fight poverty and the national and human imperative of promoting the economic, social and cultural development of our country. Or at least, these have been the main arguments used by the Government of Mozambique to justify its option to pursue a policy of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and the subsequent deployment of large investments in mining, hydrocarbons, monoculture tree plantations and agribusiness for the production of commodities.

We, the rural populations, families from the communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and Mozambican civil society, recognising the importance and urgency of combating poverty and promoting sustainable and sovereign development, believe it is timely and crucial to voice our concerns and proposals in relation to the ProSavana Programme.

The ProSavana Programme is already being implemented through its 'Quick Impact Projects' component, without the Environmental Impact Assessment Study ever having been carried out, publicly discussed and approved, one of the main and essential requirements of Mozambican legislation for the implementation of projects of this size, normally classified as Category A.

The breadth and grandeur of the ProSavana Programme contrast with the failure of the law and the total absence of a deep, broad, transparent and democratic public debate, preventing us, (small-scale farmers, families and the population), in this way, from exercising our constitutional right of access to information, consultation, participation and informed consent on a matter of great social, economic and environmental relevance with direct impact on our lives.

However, since September 2012, we have been conducting an extensive debate and wide-reaching meetings with various sectors of Mozambican society. According to the latest documents we had access to, the ProSavana Programme is a mega partnership between the Governments of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan, which will cover an estimated area of 14.5 million hectares of land in 19 districts of the provinces of Niassa, Nampula and Zambézia, allegedly intended for the development of large-scale agriculture in tropical savannas, located along the Nacala Development Corridor.

After several discussions at community level in the districts covered by this programme, with Mozambican Government authorities, diplomatic missions of Brazil and Japan and their international cooperation agencies (Brazilian Cooperation Agency-ABC, and the International Cooperation Agency of Japan-JICA), we find that there are many discrepancies and contradictions in the sparse information and documents available, which are indications and evidence to confirm the existence of defects in the programme design; irregularities in the alleged process of public consultation and participation; serious and imminent threat of usurpation of rural populations' lands and forced removal of communities from areas that they currently occupy.

President of Mozambique, President of Brazil and Prime Minister of Japan, international cooperation must be anchored on the basis of the interests and aspirations of people to build a world of greater justice and solidarity. However, the ProSavana Programme does not abide by these principles and those driving it do not propose, much less show themselves to be available to discuss in an open manner, the substantive issues associated with the development of agriculture in our country.

President Armando Guebuza, we would like to recall that Your Excellency, along with millions of Mozambicans, men and women, sacrificed much of your youth, fighting to liberate the people and the land from colonial oppression. Since those hard times, rural populations, with their feet firmly on the ground, took it upon themselves to produce food for the Mozambican nation, raising the country from the rubble of war to building an independent and just society characterised by solidarity, where everyone could feel that they are the children of this liberated land.

President Guebuza, more than 80% of the Mozambican population depends on family farming for its livelihood, accounting for the production of more than 90% of the country's food. ProSavana is a tool for creating optimal conditions for multinational corporations to enter the country, which will inevitably rob rural families of their autonomy and disrupt the small-scale food production systems, which could cause the emergence of landless families and increased food insecurity, i.e., the loss of the greatest achievements of our National Independence.

President Dilma Rousseff, solidarity between the peoples of Mozambique and Brazil comes from the difficult times of the national liberation struggle, through national reconstruction during and after the 16 years of war that Mozambique went through. More than anyone, President Dilma you suffered oppression and were a victim of the military dictatorship in Brazil and knows the price of freedom. Currently, two-thirds of the food consumed in Brazil is produced by rural populations and not by the corporations that the Brazilian Government is exporting to Mozambique through ProSavana.

President Dilma Rousseff, how is it justified that the Brazilian Government does not give priority to the Food Acquisition Programme in Mozambique, which we rural populations support and encourage? Paradoxically, all financial, material and human resources at various levels are allocated to agribusiness development promoted by ProSavana. How is it that international cooperation between Brazil, Mozambique and Japan, which should promote solidarity among peoples, is converted into an instrument to facilitate obscure commercial transactions and promote the grabbing of community land, which we use in the age-old manner to produce food for the Mozambican nation and beyond?

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Japan, through JICA, for decades contributed to the development of agriculture and other sectors in our country. We repudiate the current policy of the Japanese Government's cooperation with Mozambique in the agrarian sector. More than the investment in mega infrastructure in the Nacala Corridor to allow the outflow of agricultural commodities through the port of Nacala, as well as financial and human support to ProSavana, it is our understanding that the Japanese venture should focus on small-scale agriculture, the only one capable of producing adequate food in the quantities needed for the Mozambican population, as well as promoting sustainable and inclusive development.

Esteemed representatives of the people of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan, we live a phase in history marked by growing demand by and expansion of large financial groups and multinational corporations through appropriation and control of natural resources globally, transforming these into commodities and claiming these as a business opportunities.

Excellencies, on the strength of the facts presented, we rural populations of Mozambique, families from the rural communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and civil society, denounce and repudiate as a matter of urgency:

  • The manipulation of information and intimidation of communities and civil society organisations who oppose ProSavana by presenting sustainable alternatives for the agricultural sector;
  • The imminent process of usurpation of the land of local communities by Brazilian, Japanese and local corporations, as well as those of other nations;
  • ProSavana is based on increasing production and productivity based on export monocultures (maize, soybean, cassava, cotton, sugar cane, etc.), which aims to integrate rural populations in the production process exclusively controlled by multinational corporations and multilateral financial institutions, destroying family farming systems;
  • The importation into Mozambique of the built-in contradictions of the development model of Brazilian agriculture.

Despite the accusations presented above, we rural populations of Mozambique, families from the rural communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and civil society, request and demand urgent intervention of Your Excellencies, President of Mozambique, President of Brazil and Prime Minister of Japan, as the legitimate representatives of your people, in order to urgently halt the intervention logic of the ProSavana Programme, which will have irreversible negative impacts for rural households such as:

  • The emergence of landless families and communities in Mozambique as a result of the processes of land expropriations and consequent resettlement;
  • Frequent upheavals and socio-environmental conflicts in communities along the Nacala Corridor, and beyond;
  • Worsening and deepening poverty among families of rural communities and reduced alternatives for livelihoods and existence;
  • Destruction of the production systems of rural families and consequently food insecurity; Increased corruption and conflicts of interest;
  • Pollution of ecosystems, soil and water resources as a result of excessive and uncontrolled use of pesticides, chemical fertilisers and other toxic substances;
  • Ecological imbalance as a result of extensive clearing of forests to make way for agribusiness mega projects.

Thus, we small-scale farmers, families from the communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and national civil society signatories to this Open Letter, publicly express our indignation and outrage at the way the ProSavana Programme has been designed and is being implemented on our lands and the communities of our country.

We advocate for the development of agriculture based on production systems, rather than products, i.e., the nondestruction of the family method of production, which over and above economic issues also incorporates specifically the way of occupation of geographic spaces, the social and anthropological dimension that has proved very sustainable throughout the history of mankind.

The social movements and organisations signatories to this Open Letter turn to Your Excellencies, President Armando Guebuza, President Dilma Rousseff and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, in your capacity as Heads of Government and State and legitimate representatives of the peoples of Mozambique, Brazil and Japan to see to it:

  • That all necessary measures are taken to immediately suspend all activities and projects under way in the tropical savannas of the Nacala Development Corridor within the scope of the implementation of the ProSavana Programme;
  • That the Government of Mozambique see to it that an inclusive and democratic mechanism is set up for the creation of an official broad dialogue with all sectors of Mozambican society, particularly small-scale farmers, rural people, Corridor communities, religious organisations and civil society with the aim of defining their real needs, aspirations and priorities in the national development matrix and agenda;
  • That all human, material and financial resources allocated to the ProSavana Programme be reallocated to efforts to define and implement a National Plan for the Support of Sustainable Family Farming (the family system), advocated for more than two decades by rural families throughout the Republic of Mozambique with the aim of supporting and guaranteeing food sovereignty for the more than 16 million Mozambicans for whom agriculture is the main means of livelihood;
  • That the Mozambican Government prioritise food sovereignty, conservation agriculture and agro-ecology as the only sustainable solutions for reducing hunger and promoting proper nutrition;
  • That the Mozambican Government adopt policies for the agricultural sector focused on support for small-scale agriculture, whose priorities are based on access to rural credit, farming extension services, irrigation, giving value to native seeds that are resistant to climate change, rural infrastructure linked to the creation of productive capacity and policies that support and promote the commercialisation of rural production.
  • Finally and according to the statement above, we, Mozambican small-scale farmers, families from the rural communities of the Nacala Corridor, religious organisations and civil society, demand cooperation among countries based on the genuine interests and aspirations of the people, a cooperation that serves the promotion of a more just and caring society. We dream of a better and viable Mozambique, where all Mozambicans men and women can feel that they are the children of this land, united and engaged in the construction of a state whose sovereignty comes from and resides in the people.

Maputo, on this, the 28th day of May, 2013

Media Contacts:

Jeremias Filipe Vunjanhe +258 823 911 238

Alexandre Silva Dunduro +258 828 686 690 /

Muagerere +258 82 60 64 26 / Fax:262863

Signatory Mozambican organisations/ social movements:

  1. Acção Académica para o Desenvolvimento das Comunidades Rurais (ADECRU)
  2. Associação de Apoio e Assistência Jurídica as Comunidades (AAAJC) -Tete
  3. Associação Nacional de Extensão Rural (AENA)
  4. Associação de Cooperação para o Desenvolvimento (ACOORD)
  5. AKILIZETHO-Nampula
  6. Caritas Diocesana de Lichinga-Niassa
  7. Conselho Cristão de Moçambique (CCM)- Niassa
  8. ESTAMOS - Organização Comunitária
  9. FACILIDADE-Nampula
  10. Justiça Ambiental/Friends of The Earth Mozambique
  11. Fórum Mulher
  12. Fórum das Organizações Não Governamentais do Niassa (FONAGNI)
  13. Fórum Terra-Nampula
  14. Fórum das Organizações Não Governamentais de Gaza (FONG)
  15. Kulima
  16. Liga Moçambicana de Direitos Humanos-LDH
  17. Livaningo
  18. Organização para Desenvolvimento Sustentável (OLIPA- ODES)
  19. Organização Rural de Ajuda Mútua (ORAM)-Delegação de Nampula
  20. Organização Rural de Ajuda Mútua (ORAM)- Delegação de Lichinga-Niassa
  21. Plataforma Provincial da Sociedade Civil de Nampula
  22. Rede de Organizações para o Ambiente e Desenvolvimento Sustentável (ROADS) Niassa
  23. União Nacional de Camponeses-UNAC

Signatory international organisations/social movements:

  1. Alter Trade Japan Inc.- Japan
  2. Amigos da Terra Brasil
  3. Articulação Nacional de Agroecologia (ANA) - Brasil
  4. Associação Brasileira de ONGs (Abong )
  5. Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions for the Aid of Citizens (ATTAC) - Japan
  6. Africa Japan Forum (AJF) - Japan
  7. Alternative People's Linkage in Asia (APLA) - Japan
  8. Association of Support for People in West Africa (SUPA) - Japan
  9. Central Única dos Trabalhadores (CUT) - Brasil
  10. Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT) - Brasil
  11. Comissão Pastoral da Terra (MT) - Brasil
  12. Confederação Nacional de Trabalhadores de Agricultura (CONTAG) - Brasil
  13. FASE - Solidariedade e Educação - Brasil
  14. Federação dos Trabalhadores da Agricultura Familiar (FETRAF) - Brasil
  15. Federação dos Estudantes de Agronomia do Brasil (FEAB)
  16. Fórum Mato- grossense de Meio Ambiente e Desenvolvimento (FORMAD) - Brasil
  17. Fórum de Direitos Humanos e da Terra do Mato Grosso (FDHT- MT) - Brasil
  18. Fórum Brasileiro de Soberania e Segurança alimentar e Nutricional (FBSSAN) - Brasil
  19. Fórum Mudanças Climáticas e Justiça Social do Brasil
  20. Fórum de Lutas de Cáceres - MT- Brasil
  21. GRAIN International
  22. Grupo Pesquisador em Educação Ambiental, Comunicação e Arte (GPEA/UFMT) - Brasil
  23. Grupo raízes - Brasil
  24. Instituto Políticas Alternativas para o Cone Sul (PACS) - Brasil
  25. Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Económicas (Ibase) - Brasil
  26. Instituto Caracol (iC) - Brasil
  27. Instituto de Estudos Socioeconómicos do Brasil (Inesc)
  28. Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) - Japan
  29. Justiça Global- Brasil
  30. La Via Campesina- Região Africa 1
  31. Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra- Brasil
  32. Movimento Mundial pelas Florestas Tropicais (WRM) - Uruguai
  33. Movimento de Mulheres Camponesas (MMC) - Brasil
  34. Movimentos dos Pequenos Agricultores (MPA) - Brasil
  35. Mozambique Kaihatsu wo Kangaeru Shiminno Kai - Japan
  36. Network for Rural-Urban Cooperation - Japan
  37. No-Pesticides Action Network in Tokyo(NPANT) - Japan
  38. ODA Reform Network (ODA- Net) - Japan
  39. Rede Brasileira Pela Integração dos Povos (REBRIP)
  40. Rede Axé Dudu- Brasil
  41. Rede Mato-Grossense de Educação Ambiental (REMTEA) - Brasil
  42. Sociedade fé e vida-Brasil
  43. Vida Brasil

Individual signatories: [see original document at]

Excerpt from G8 Cooperation Framework to Support the "New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition" in Mozambique

Available at The full cooperation framework also contains other policy commitments and listings of donor governments and Mozambican and international private-sector companies pledging their involvement.

Annex 1: Government of Mozambique Key Policy Commitments

I. Establish policies and regulations that promote competitive, private-sector agricultural input markets, especially for smallholder farmers.

  1. Revise and Implement National Seed Policy, including:
    1. Systematically cease distribution of free and unimproved seeds except for pre-identified staple crops in emergency situations.
    2. Allow for private sector accreditation for inspection.
  2. Implement approved regulations governing seed proprietary laws which promote private sector investment in seed production (basic and certified seed).
  3. Revise and approve legislation regulating the production, trade, quality control and seed certification compliant with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) seed protocol requirements.
  4. Develop and implement a national fertilizer regulatory and enforcement framework.
  5. Assess and validate the National Fertilizer Strategy

AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus Bulletin is edited by William Minter.

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