Agri-business land grabs forcing poverty in millions
Oxfam research shows that few of the resources have materialised and not enough land was handed back for growing food. Even worse it now seems after the 35-year expires the land reverts to the government which is planning another 95 year lease to the company. After negotiations on the issues failed direct action was taken in 2007 leading to beatings, arrest and imprisonment.
While the company says it has made offers to resolve the dispute, it has not agreed to fulfil the terms of the original agreement by recognising the communities’ claim to the land. PT. MAS is a subsidiary of Malaysian palm oil giant, Sime Darby, which is responsible for six per cent of world palm oil production. Sime Darby still fails to comply with Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) rules even though it is a member of the executive board.
The cases Oxfam considers are linked to international markets through finance and trading. It says, “When district and national accountability mechanisms fail, international instruments exist that should prevent abusive or irresponsible practices.” But this is not happening.
“In Oxfam’s view, the failure of international standards and rules to safeguard communities from the devastating impacts of land grabs,” the reports concludes.