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June 12, 2011

Why the Oakland Institute published its findings on land grabs in Africa

by Jeff Furman

Our mission at the Oakland Institute is to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues in both national and international forums.

Land grabs encompassing the size of France, displacing thousands of families, building miles of irrigation canals without concern for environmental impacts, allowing crops to be planted that do not improve food security for Africa--done with little or no consultation with those directly impacted, and have no accountability or transparency--are exactly the kind of issues the Oakland Institute was established to investigate and make public.

For the public to be fully engaged it needs to be informed. Everyone would agree that investors need information. Isn't it fair that those who make policy are fully informed as well, or is the right to know a privilege of the investor class only.

 We know that once families are displaced, once the canals are built, once the small farmers lose their livelihoods, and once the environmental damage is done there is no going back. This would not and could not be repaired.

For those who make agricultural policy, for the small family farmers, for those advocating food and water security issues, for those who care deeply about the ecological health of the planet, and for those who invest from the sense of a social justice perspective, we humbly offer this information with the hope that it will be of some benefit to your work and lives.

Jeff Furman, Oakland Institute Board and Chair of the Ben & Jerry's corporate board and a trustee of the Ben & Jerry's Foundation

Oakland Institute 

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