In a letter to higher education institutions in the United States of America, Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN), which the Missionaries of Africa cofounded in 1983, calls on them to do a rigorous due diligence to ensure their funds are not invested in land grabbing in Africa.
Land grabbing has a decidedly harmful impact on the people of Africa. It leads to displacement of families and communities, conflict, exploitation, starvation, halted development, disenfranchisement for women, environmental degradation, loss of indigenous crops and seeds, deforestation and pollution of water sources oftentimes using prohibited fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. When land is leased, those who live on the land are usually relocated to less arable areas, prohibited from accessing the land they once owned, either to fetch water, gather firewood, collect herbal medicine, gather sand for building their homes, access the graves of their loved ones, or simply denied passage to get to their other farms and are thus forced to take long detours. These interactions oftentimes result in conflicts in communities that were otherwise at peace.
The majority of produce from Africa’s acquired lands is shipped to developed countries, with little if any going to local markets, and some of these corporations lease lands exclusively to plant cash crops. Yet, the public discourse is that they are producing food to alleviate hunger for starving Africans. The most affected are small scale farmers who make up the majority of the workforce. As a consequence, many families are deprived of their source of sustenance. These are the ones we are asking you to join us in protecting. They include women and their families. Click here to read the full letter