NO TO PROSAVANA
In May 2013, over 20 Civil Society Organizations along with peasant, environmental and religious social movements, as well as families and communities from the Nacala Development Corridor, signed the Open Letter to Urgently Stop and Rethink the Prosavana Programme and addressed it to the Presidents of Mozambique and Brazil and to the Prime Minister of Japan. Prosavana is a ‘triangular’ cooperation programme involving the three aforementioned governments that will allow large Brazilian and Japanese agribusiness companies to acquire from Mozambican authorities the concession of over 14.5 million hectares of land (for soya, corn, sunflower and cotton monocultures) in the north of the country, in an area known as the Nacala Development Corridor. The programme encompasses nineteen districts located in the provinces of Nampula, Niassa and Zambézia.
The Open Letter addressed to the Heads of State of the three countries responsible for this mega partnership had as its ultimate objective to immediately bring Prosavana to a halt in order to allow a deeper, broader, more transparent and democratic public debate. The potentially high social, economic and environmental adverse impacts of this programme in the lives of millions of todays citizens and future generations make adequate public participation and consultation an imperative for the process. That being said, the peoples right to access information regarding the programme is nothing but fundamental.
The Letter also denounces: the existing discrepancies and contradictions in the scarce available information that indicate, support and prove that the programme was misconceived; the irregularities in the alleged public participation and consultation process; the serious land grabbing threat that it poses to peasants; and its plans to evict peasant communities compulsorily.
One year after the Open Letter to Urgently Stop and Rethink the Prosavana Programme was published and submitted, it remains unanswered. Against all critics and demands from various segments of Mozambican society, Prosavana carries on and is being implemented in the same perverse and imperialist shape that it was conceived. The Mozambican government, through its Ministry of Agriculture, insists in ignoring the fair demands of many Mozambicans regarding this programme.
Apprehensively, we keep witnessing the persistence of a wicked secretiveness, the constant omissions and the manipulations and deliberate contradictions in the programmes documentation, along with the rise of intimidation and coercion of peasant organization leaders, activists, social movements and civil society organizations representatives by the people who are proposing and implementing Prosavana.
Determined to put a stop to Prosavana and to multinationals neocolonialist advance on peasant land, we publicly announce today, the 2nd of June 2014, the NO TO PROSAVANA National Campaign. This initiative represents the strengthening of our struggle against the aggression we are facing, against the privatization of land and in defence of our natural resources, and is a concerted mobilization effort of civil society organizations and peasant movements. By launching the NO TO PROSAVANA National Campaign we aim to create a public agenda for our struggle that will have as its main objective to stop and paralyze all actions and plans which are being held and implemented to accommodate the programme as it was originally conceived (e.g. Master Plan and Project for the Establishment of Development Models). By doing so, we intend to reiterate the peasants demands and concerns raised by the Open Letter that remain unaddressed.
The campaign also aims to:
- Denounce and repudiate all the manipulation, co-optation, intimidation and attempts to criminalize civil society leaderships and activists involved in the Prosavana process;
- Promote a broad mobilization, organization and popular resistance from peasant communities and workers against the aggression, the land grabbing and the environmental contamination that Prosavana may cause;
- Make the States and international agencies involved in Prosavana take responsibility for their actions through national and international legal mechanisms by taking legal action regarding the denial of information of a public interest programme and complaining and denouncing the current situation to extra judicial institutions such as the Human Rights National Commission and the Ombudsman;
- Demand from the Mozambican Government the implementation of an inclusive, broad and democratic mechanism, to assure the existence of an official debate amongst all sectors of Mozambican society (peasants, rural communities, religious and civil society organizations) regarding the true needs, aspirations and priorities of this sovereign country’s matrix and development agenda;
And finally, yet again, we invite all peasant, environmental and social movements, civil society organizations and rural communities for a large mobilization, organization and build up of a popular national movement of struggle in defence of our rights and interests regarding the control of land, water, assets and common cultural and historic patrimony. We urge for a vigorous and firm resistance from all that may be affected by Prosavana and who are against land grabbing and all kinds of social and environmental injustices.
Maputo, 2nd of June 2014
União Nacional de Camponeses-UNAC
Liga Moçambicana dos Direitos Humanos-LDH
Accão Académica para o Desenvolvimento das Comunidades Rurais-ADECRU
Associação de Apoio e Assistência Jurídica as Comunidades-AAAJC
Contacto para Imprensa:
Jeremias Vunjanhe: Cel: +258-823911238/ jeremiasunac (at) gmail.com