Land Grabbing by a Libyan Company

What is affected
Housing private
Land Social/public
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 01 October 2008
Region AFF [ Africa francophone ]
Country Mali
Location Macina, in the Ségou region

Affected persons

Total 795
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Details 2010-en-watch.pdf


Forced eviction
Land losses

- Land area (square meters)

- Total value
Housing losses
- Number of homes 58
- Total value €

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Private party
Brief narrative

Libyan Land Grabbing in Mali La Via Campesina Africa2 The expropriation of small land owners in Mali by large domestic and foreign companies is an increasingly common and revolting phenomenon. Without the public`s knowledge, the Malian government recently granted a Libyan company, Malibya, 100,000 hectares of arable land in Macina, in the Ségou region, for fifty years. According to project directors, the endeavor, which began in October 2008, will allow partner countries to produce food self-sufficiently as well as develop their agriculture and ranching industries. In fact, most of the land will be used to grow a hybrid rice variety for export to Libya. The agreement gives foreign investors control over agricultural lands that are already in use. Moreover, the entire project is unfolding behind closed doors without the participation of affected communities, who are unaware of what is being decided. Many observers fear that the expropriation will be permanent if the Libyan company is granted the title to the land. Following a request by local farmers` associations, the National Coordination of Farmers` Organizations in Mali (CNOP for its French abbreviation) sent a fact-finding mission from July 7 to 10, 2009, to investigate the extent of the development of the project and its affect on the local population. Without any preliminary study of the potential social and environmental impacts, a forty-kilometer irrigation canal with an access road alongside was built to irrigate the rice paddies even though disputes with local inhabitants had taken place from the start of the project. A survey, in June 2009, led by regional administrators and representatives of Malibya identified 150 families whose houses and vegetable gardens would be affected by construction. A month later, the same commission, under pressure from Malibya, adjusted its findings. They no longer took into account the vegetable gardens, so they concluded that only 58 families deserved compensation. These 58 families whose property was destroyed in April 2010 received a lump sum compensation payment. The possibility of finding work on the Libyan plantation is far from guaranteed, and it is certainly not fair compensation. It was also discovered that several cemeteries would be razed during construction. This information sparked numerous conflicts between inhabitants, local authorities, and the Chinese company hired by Malibya to undertake the construction. In 2009, French and Malian firms jointly conducted a study of the social and environmental impacts. The study published a series of recommendations to help ensure the preservation of local living spaces, fauna, and environments. It clearly showed that project directors did not follow any measures to safeguard the area. For example, the results of the study suggested that to prevent pollution and disturbances the worker`s living compound should be built away from villages and at least 200 meters from any body of water; however, the compound was built in the village of Bokiwèrè over a path used by migratory animals. The study also noted that quarrying or mining operations must obtain permits from the Ministry of energy, mines and water as well as from village authorities. The company is currently operating several quarries without any authorization or taxation by local communities. In addition, local producers have suffered reduced access to water from the Niger River, the main source of irrigation water in the region, after Malibya negotiated an agreement with the government that grants them priority access to water during the dry season, when water levels are low. The CNOP is worried about the effect this hybrid rice variety will have on local markets. Not only does it not reflect traditional agricultural and nutritional preferences, but it is not particularly tasty. Even more troubling, this variety cannot be replanted the following year. Thus, producers who may be tempted to grow this variety for its high yields will be forced to buy new seed every year. This violates their most basic rights and will significantly reduce their autonomy. Farmers` organizations also fear the disappearance of the multitude of local rice varieties. Since Mali voted in November 2008 to authorize the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMO) in all sectors, including agriculture, they are also afraid that this project will introduce genetically modified rice into the region. The village has set up a commission to inform village authorities of problems caused by the project and to make local inhabitants aware of decisions that have been made. At the moment, many people are unaware of the commission`s existence, and its legitimacy must be bolstered. At a national level, a commission to protect the rights of rural populations affected by the project has been formed with the support of state institutions and NGOs. Its first action will be to confront the ministers of agriculture and of the environment during a session of the National Assembly in order to clarify project details and guarantee the rights �����������������������?��`�VioId����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� ��?�VioAuthor������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ ?�??���VioOrganisation������������������������of all the parties involved. In July 2010, the CNOP, in conjunction with national and international media outlets, is planning a march from Macina to Bamako to focus the government`s attention on the issue of land grabbing and on the possibility of the introduction of GMOs in Mali. (Source: Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2010, p. 51)

Costs €   0