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Nigerian farmers face destitution from 300 land grab backed by UK aid

Development secretary Justine Greening is facing questions over UK involvement in a massive land-grab in Nigeria that is evicting local farmers from 300 square kilometres of fertile farmland to clear the way for a rice farm owned and controlled from the US and Canada. A 45,000-strong community faces landlessness and destitution.

Farmers in Nigeria's north eastern state of Taraba are being forced off lands they have farmed for generations to make way for US company Dominion Farms to establish a 300 square kilometre rice plantation.

The Dominion Farms project forms part of the UK-backed New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition in Africa and the Nigerian government's Agricultural Transformation Agenda.

Both initiatives are ostensibly intended to enhance food security and livelihoods for small farmers in Nigeria. But a new report published today 'The Dominion Farms land grab in Nigeria', finds that the Dominion Farms project is having the opposite effect.

In fact, the lands provided to Dominion Farms are part of a public irrigation scheme that 45,000 people depend on for their food needs and livelihoods.

Diane Abbott MP has written to the Development Secretary Justine Greening to ask questions about the involvement of the New Alliance in the Dominion land grab, and is awaiting her reply.

"Aid money should be spent supporting communities to develop sustainable agriculture rather than supporting initiatives which are enabling companies to evict those communities", commented Heidi Chow, food sovereignty campaigner from Global Justice Now.

"Initiatives like the New Alliance seem to be more about providing opportunities for agribusiness to carve up the resources of African countries rather than trying to address poverty or hunger."

For the complete article, please see The Ecologist.