Home > Newsletter > Newsletter n° 20 - Statement

9 December 2012

Newsletter n° 20 - Statement

text-align:center;line-height:normal'> 14.0pt;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>LET US SUPPORT the HERDERS and their HERITAGE
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<span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:8.0pt;line-height:115%;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> <span
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mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>The Italian company Tozzi
Green, a subsidiary of the Italian group Tozzi
Renewable Energy, mainly cultivates jatropha, a <span
crop, on the Ihorombe
plateau in the Central South of Madagascar and what it hopes will reach 100 000
ha. The company says that it set up in this region with the agreement of the
local people: who exactly were consulted and gave their agreement?<span
lang=EN-US style='mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>

and claims of the local populations
<span lang=EN-US

<span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>On November
16th of this year, ten representatives of nine villages situated in
the municipalities of Satrokala, Andiolava,
Ambatolahy and Ihosy, in
the region of Ihorombe, came to Antananarivo and held
a press conference to show their opposition to this project and “to express
their distress”. They travelled to the capital to make their complaints known
because the rights of their communities were trampled. “We have no more control
over our lands, people with no connection to our
customs are imposing their own laws on us”. They gradually expanded their
cropping areas and are using our own lands now. We, small farmers, are obliged
to leave because there are armed people who are evicting us from our lands. The
loss of grass where zebus can graze is leading to the death of our animals on
the spot. They have destroyed the graves of our ancestors. Our sacred places
have been destroyed by tractors”. They are completely distraught right now
because they feel helpless in this situation, are appealing to the State [<span
class=GramE>..], most of the inhabitants are leaving in exodus and
becoming homeless. Facing these land seizures, the fokonolona
(base communities) stress that “this land grabbing by Tozzi
Green will have grave consequences”. The people are hungry and the customs of
Bara are being trampled (1). The reactions of the media to the press conference
were diverse: some kept quiet, others wrote it without naming the company in
question, yet others reported on it by accusing the village representatives of
being accomplices of the dahalo (bandits, zebu

<span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>Then, on 18
November, 350 inhabitants of 17 Fokontany of the
municipality of Ambatolahy, signed a petition, which
they sent to the local and national authorities asking them to intervene to
stop the expansion of the plantations and to prevent their eviction from the
areas being targeted by Tozzi Green and by the Indian
company Landmark.

<span lang=EN-US
grievances come on top of the reports and claims of the inhabitants of the
villages of Satrokala, Andiolava,
Soatambary and Ambatolahy
from whom the TANY Collective received testimonies. They say they have
inherited the lands of their great-grandparents who had farmed according to the
ancestral customs there. These lands are not titled and do not have boundaries
but are customary family possessions since several generations. These lands
also carry the history of their ancestors. If the State obliges them to give up
these lands, they will be lost, their descendants will be decimated because
their lands are pasture areas for their cattle and the income they get from
raising zebus is used for buying food, like a salary. Thanks to this, they were
able to send their children to school. Certain farmlands have become unusable.
The plowing of lands by tractors has made it impossible for the zebus to pass
through the fields. The jatropha plants are not
edible neither for zebus, for children or for the family, they say. They thus
ask the State to acknowledge the situation and to protect them.
Certain villages accepted the company requests, they added, and those who
resisted received threats. They were allegedly promised various compensations
but these did not materialize. They all speak of the necessity if defending their
rights, their lands, their traditional sources of income, their cultural

justify;line-height:normal'> "Tahoma","sans-serif";background:#CBD0EF;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> <span
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mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>The main victims are the zebu herders of the pastoral

<span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>Indeed, a big
part of the population in the Ihorombe plateau is
composed of Bara breeders and the wide open spaces which certain city-dwellers
see as idle land are the pasture zones of their zebus. Some countries respect
and strictly manage these pastoral zones through a Charter or a Rural Code, but
the successive leaders and decision-makers of Madagascar have neglected them.
If the Tozzi Green company
and its executives despise the traditional culture of the people, we might not
be surprised, but it is inconceivable that the local and national authorities
do not protect them because representatives of the Malagasy State have ratified
the international Pact on economic, social and cultural rights (2). At present,
of the 8 000 ha already granted, 2 000 ha are allegedly exploited,
“the project registers 170 permanent employees and approximately 2 000
seasonal workers among which more than 50% are native of the <span
class=SpellE>Ihorombe region” reports a newspaper (3) following the
promotional campaign of Tozzi Green. Benefits in
terms of employment are miniscule compared to the economic, social and cultural

<span lang=EN-US
style='font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>Many
questions about the deals and the commitments
<span lang=EN-US

<span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>The <span
class=SpellE>Tozzi Green company has allegedly
rented the terrain of tree nurseries to private individuals and contracted one
long lease with the administration, the duration of this lease quoted in press
articles as being sometimes 25 years, sometimes 35 years. Transparency and
availability for all citizens of all the details of the lease is necessary. How
many hectares are covered by the current contracts? How are the procedures and
the conditions of progressive land allocations for the company formulated? What
criteria are used by the Steering Committee (4) to evaluate the results and to
decide to approve a new extension? What does the incongruous “2 000 ha
still in trial phase” hide? (5) The citizens must be informed about the complete
contents of the contracts: which authorities signed them, which compensations
are planned? What fate is reserved for the people who live on these lands in
accordance with customary laws? etc..<span
lang=EN-US style='mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>

<span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>Are the
2 000 000 ha of the Ihorombe plateau going
to be entirely or largely granted to Tozzi Green or
to other agribusiness companies? What land areas are going to be planned for
the peasants and their descendants for their family farming and their livestock
rearing? Clear information for the concerned communities and taking account of
the people’s practices and interests by the different authorities of the State
to truly improve the well-being of the majority of the Malagasies seem to us
indispensable to achieve a fair and sustainable development.<span
lang=EN-US style='mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>

<span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:10.0pt;line-height:115%;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>These questions
concern not only the national and local authorities, the leaders and the
peoples of the various affected villages but also all the citizens of all the
regions of the island. What occurs in Ihorombe
impacts all citizens because the land area in question is the largest ever
known within the opaque framework currently reigning over land deals and land
grabbing in Madagascar. Watching what is happening there and refusing anything
unacceptable in order not to permit precedents to take not becomes a task of national
– even international – importance, aside from defending the usage rights and
the culture of the region’s people. Vigilance regarding the very rich
underground products of this zone is also imperative.<span lang=EN-US

<span lang=EN-US
communities are mobilizing to get better treatment from State leaders. In
October 2012, after travelling to Europe, a high level State authority in
charge of land went to Ihorombe to receive a 4x4
vehicle and computers intended for the Domains and Topography services, the
“result of a collaboration with Tozzi
Green” (6). Did the visit of this high authority in the region coincide with a
new extension of areas allocated to Tozzi Green,
increasing the justifiable concern of the populations? When Tozzi
Green announces the implementation in Satrokala of a
BIF – Birao Ifoton’ny
- land office – which is going to
manage the delivery of land certificates on untitled private properties (4), we
can only get outraged by the conflict of interests which is powerfully
increasing at the level of land management in the region with the national
authorities blessing.

normal'> background:white;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>Let us support the populations which
defend their heritage!

normal'> background:white;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> <span lang=EN-US

lang=EN-US style='font-size:9.0pt;font-family:"Tahoma","sans-serif";background:
white;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>No to the intimidation of the <span
class=SpellE>Ihorombe citizens who dared to ask that the extension of
lands granted to the company Tozzi Green <span
class=GramE>stop! font-family:"Tahoma","sans-serif";background:#F3F0FF;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>
background:white;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>Let us persistently demand total
transparency of the contents of the contracts signed by the State because they
shape the future of today’s and tomorrow’s generations!
lang=EN-US style='font-size:9.0pt;font-family:"Tahoma","sans-serif";background:
background:white;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>It’s time to stop land grabbing in

normal'> mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>Paris, 27 november

Collectif pour la Défense
des Terres Malgaches – TANY

normal'> EN-US'>Mamy EN-US'> Rakotondrainibe<span lang=EN-US


normal'> EN-US'> 
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150%'> EN-US'> 

lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>(7)<span
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color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> <span
lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>Free translation
of the article ‘Ihorombe - Fasana
sy trano <span
class=SpellE>maro noravan’ny <span
class=SpellE>Tozzi Green’ published in Inona
ny Vaovao


lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>(8)<span
lang=EN-US style='font-size:7.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> <span
href=""><span lang=EN-US
style='font-size:10.0pt;color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> <span
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lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>(9)<span
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color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> <span
lang=EN-US style='color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>—la-production-de-tozzi-green-ecoulee-sur-le-marche-local<span
lang=EN-US style='mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>

lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>(10)<span
lang=EN-US style='font-size:7.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> color:#0000CC'><a
lang=EN-US style='color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>—100-000ha-de-terrain-pour-tozzi-green-en-negociation
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lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>(11)<span
lang=EN-US style='font-size:7.0pt;font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";
color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> color:#0000CC'><span lang=EN-US
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lang=EN-US style='font-size:10.0pt;color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'>(12)<span
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color:#0000CC;mso-ansi-language:EN-US'> color:#0000CC'><a
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