From Volume 8, Issue 19 of EIR Online, Published May 12, 2009
Africa News Digest

Kenyan Peasants Mobilize vs. Agriculture Outsourcing, Greenies

PARIS, May 7 (EIRNS)—Kenyan peasants demonstrated in Nairobi, over the May 2-3 weekend, against a plan worked up by the government in December, to sell 40,000 hectares of valuable farmland on the banks and the coastal delta of the Tana River, to the Persian Gulf state of Qatar. Qatar reportedly wants to grow sugar cane for ethanol, in exchange for building a port facility on the neighboring Kenyan island of Lamu.

While the press and the middle class have shown little interest in farming, farmers are furious. Environmentalist NGOs that oppose the development program, don't like farming either, since they want to keep the area for "wildlife only."

One furious farmer demonstrating on May 3 said: "To eat and live in harmony with nature, we don't need anybody, neither those who prefer our animals to our children, nor the dollars of the Qataris."

About 20 million hectares of valuable African farmland (equivalent to the area of France) are in the process of being sold, leased, or lent to foreign investors. Last week, African ministers started drawing up a roadmap for "equitable deals for foreign investors." The issue of global land grabbing and agricultural outsourcing will be discussed at the summit meeting of African states in July.

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