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Mozambican Farmers Fear Foreign Land Grabs
By William Mapote
Mozambican farmers’ unions believe that soon land will become very scarce for locals as the government leases more and more of it to foreign agribusinesses – thus displacing thousands of rural communities and smallholder farmers with no official title deeds to their land.
“As the UNAC (Mozambique’s National Peasants Union) we think that in the very short term land will become scarcest for Mozambicans because the government is attracting foreign investors, arguing that we have huge unused land, João Palate, a spokesperson for UNAC, told IPS.
Official figures from the Investment Promotion Centre estimate that Mozambique has around 19 million hectares (ha) of land with a potential for agriculture, forestry and cattle – though only 5.6 million ha are being utilised.