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Mozambique : Japanese civil society statement on ProSAVANA Call for an Immediate Suspension and Fundamental Review

D 26 novembre 2013     H 05:15     A     C 0 messages

Mr. Fumio Kishida, Foreign Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan

Mr. Akihiko Tanaka, President, Japan International Cooperation Agency

We, as like-minded civil society organizations in Japan, call on the Japanese Ministry of
Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), for the
immediate suspension and fundamental review of the ProSAVANA program. ProSAVANA
is a large-scale agricultural development program in Mozambique, conducted as part of
Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) and initiated by the governments of Japan,
Brazil and Mozambique. This statement is based on the gravity of concerns repeatedly
expressed by the farmers and civil society organizations of Mozambique, as well as on the
findings of our field research conducted between July and August this year in Mozambique.


ProSAVANA will potentially affect 14 million hectares of land in three northern provinces of
Mozambique, an area inhabited by more than 4 million people. The area is equivalent to
three times of all the farmland in Japan. Farmers represent over 80% of the entire
population in Mozambique. Small-scale farmers make up the overwhelming majority
(99.99%) of these farmers and work 95% of all cultivated land in Mozambique. However,
under ProSAVANA, farmers have not been respected as right-holders nor have their
participation in the program been duly ensured. The National Union of Peasants (UNAC),
the largest farmers confederation in Mozambique composed of 2,200 farmers organizations,
and civil society organizations have repeatedly raised their concerns regarding the possible
negative impacts of large-scale agricultural development and investment schemes of
ProSAVANA on the livelihoods of the local small-scale farmers.
It is worth highlighting the importance and significance of the Open Letter, which was
released ahead of the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD
V) on May 28, 2013. 23 organizations representing farmers, religious groups and civil
society in Mozambique came together to draft, sign and release this Open Letter addressed
to the respective heads of state of Mozambique, Japan and Brazil. The Open Letter, calling
for the immediate suspension of ProSAVANA, is unprecedented both in representation and
gravity as an objection to aid programs in Mozambique. Mozambican representatives
travelled to Japan and successfully hand-delivered the Open Letter to Prime Minister
Shinzo Abe on the sidelines of TICAD V this June.

With such developments taking place, Japanese civil society organizations have been
engaging with MOFA/JICA on ProSAVANA through the established periodic consultative
meetings between Japanese NGOs and MOFA. The importance of consulting local farmers
and civil society was recognized in these meetings, and the governments promised to review
the program in order to enable the participation of local farmers and civil society.

However, the drafting of the master plan, the preparation of Quick Impact Projects (QIP)
(programs where “quick impacts” and visible outcomes are expected), and pilot projects
funded by the ProSAVANA Development Initiative Fund (PDIF) continued to be prepared
and implemented without review. Information disclosure remained to be limited, and
neither transparency nor accountability improved in the process. Consequently, anxiety
has increased among local farmers and civil society organizations. In addition, no official
response has been made to date on the Open Letter, and though cursory consultation
meetings have been held with limited participants, it has only served to deepen the concerns
and increase the distrust of the majority of farmers and civil society.
At the same time, incidences of land grabs, by both international and domestic investment
and businesses in the Nacala Corridor, are being witnessed at an alarming scale. Pressure
on land is increasing, and so are conflicts over land. Local farmers in vulnerable positions
have been forced off their land, and pushed into hunger and poverty. Local farmers raising
their voices have been reportedly harassed and threatened.
ProSAVANA, as it stands, threatens the livelihood of the local small-scale farmers, and
risks the destabilization of Mozambican society. It also raises questions concerning the
respectability and legitimacy of Japanese official development assistance. We, as
like-minded organizations of Japanese civil society, hereby request the government of Japan
to initiate the immediate suspension of, and fundamental review of ProSAVANA.


1. We request the Japanese government to immediately reply, in writing, to the Open
Letter, submitted by the Mozambican civil society dated 28th of May 2013. This reply
should specifically provide a direct response to the immediate suspension of
ProSAVANA as requested in the Open Letter.

2. The environmental, political, and social context in Mozambique has deteriorated since
the signing of the ProSAVANA agreement in 2009. There have been increased
incidents of environmental degradation and of land conflicts arising from land grabbing.
Political space to question government policies has steadily decreased. We request
that a renewed and independent field research be conducted in the pertinent areas, and
that appropriate consultations be held with local farmers and civil society. The
fundamental framework of the ProSAVANA should be revisited according to the results.

3. In the consultative meetings held between MOFA/JICA and Japanese civil society
groups, the fundamental review of the consultation process with local farmers and civil
society was agreed upon. However, not only has the consultation process failed to
improve, but the process has increased mistrust toward the program amongst the civil
society groups of Nampula and Niassa Provinces, and also among the farmers
associations and civil society groups representing the whole of Mozambique. We
request that the Japanese government make an effort to accurately understand this
situation, and to clarify how and why UNAC and other member organizations of UNAC,
which not only legitimately represent the small farmers of Mozambique, but have been
extensively involved in the discussion, were excluded from the various discussion
arrangements under ProSAVANA.

4. In the fourth and fifth consultative meetings held between Japanese civil society and
MOFA/JICA, both of which took place after the delivery of the Open Letter,
MOFA/JICA emphasized that ProSAVANA would only be implemented after a thorough
consultation process. However, the second round of submissions for the PDIF opened
in July, despite an absence of progress in the consultation process, serving only to
further deepen local confusion and mistrust. We request that the Japanese
government make an assessment of facts, and clarify how and why project
implementation proceeded regardless of the promises made.

5. The consultation process with local farmers and civil society should fully uphold the
principles of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), and must ensure sufficient
disclosure of information and accountability. In due consideration of both the scale and
gravity of impact the program is foreseen to have on the local communities, it is
absolutely crucial to ensure the meaningful participation of local farmers and civil
society in the process. We request MOFA/JICA to immediately suspend the program,
and engage in dialogue with local farmers and civil society on how to move forward.

6. 2014 is the International Year of Family Farming, where the importance of family
farming will be recognized and celebrated internationally. Concurrently in
Mozambique, farmers represented by UNAC, together with civil society, are preparing
the “National Plan for the Support of Family Farming.” If ProSAVANA purports to
support the Mozambican farmers, it would be most appropriate to recognize and provide
due support for such initiatives. We request that MOFA/JICA consider and respond to
this proposal.

7. ProSAVANA promotes the registration of land titles (DUAT) with the purpose of
facilitating investment. However, the premise nor implications of DUAT registration
is not yet fully understood by the local farmers, and public debate regarding land policy
in Mozambique has only begun. The Mozambique Land Act recognizes the right to
land use based on customary tenure without the registration of DUAT. The hasty
promotion of DUAT registration risks limiting present and future land rights for
farmers. We request that farmers are provided appropriate support enabling them to
uphold their rights to their land.

Signatory Organizations :

- ATTAC Japan
- Citizens Concerned with the Development of Mozambique
- Africa Japan Forum (AJF)
- Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC)
- Oxfam Japan
- Endorsing Organizations (31 organizations as of November 8, 2013) :
- アジア太平洋資料センター(Pacific Asia Resource Center)
- アジア農民交流センタ-(Asian Farmers’ Exchange Center/AFEC)
- アイヌ民族評議会(APC)
— 遺伝子組み換え食品いらない!キャンペーン (No ! GMO Campaign)
- (株)オルター・トレード・ジャパン(Alter Trade Japan)
- (特活)アジア・アフリカと共に歩む会(Together with Africa and Asia Association)
- (特活)アフリカ地域開発市民の会(Community Action Development Organization)
- (特活)「環境・持続社会」研究センター (Japan Center for a Sustainable Environment and Society)
- (特活)ハンガー・フリー・ワールド(Hunger Free World)
- (特活)関西NGO 協議会 (Kansai NGO Council)
- (特活)国際協力NGO センター(Japan NGO Center for International Cooperation)
- (特活)名古屋NGO センター (Nagoya NGO Center)
- (特活)APLA (Alternative People’s Linkage in Asia)
- (特活)NGO 福岡ネットワーク(Fukuoka NGO Network)
- (特活)WE21 ジャパン (WE21 Japan)
- 偽百姓~今日もみんなで、おいしくごはん~ (Gihyakusho)
- 子どもたちの未来を創る会 (Kodomotachino miraiwo tsukurukai)
- 全日本農民組合連合会 (All Japan Federation of Farmers Union)
- 認定NPO 法人 FoE Japan (Friends of the Earth Japan)
- 反農薬東京グループ (No Pesticides Tokyo Action Network)
- 一般財団法人
- 北海道国際交流センター(Hokkaido International Foundation)
- 北海道NGO ネットワーク協議会 (Hokkaido NGO Network Council)
- 北海道アイヌ協会札幌支部 (Hokkaido Ainu Council Sapporo)
- ムラ、マチネット (Mura-Machi Net)
- 有限会社メノビレッジ長沼 (Meno Villege Naganuma)
- ComiccAFRICA
- No ! to Land Grab, Japan
- NPO 法人
- AM ネット (Advocacy and Monitoring Network on Sustainable Development)
- NPO 法人さっぽろ自由学校「遊」(Sapporo Free School YUU)
- ODA 改革ネットワーク (ODA Reform Network)
- TPP を考える市民の会 (Citizens Group Considered about TPP)