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Summary Langay: The village of Langay (municipality of Arivony) was consulted and refused to give land despite their mayor’s support to Lalifuel. Out of the twenty or so villages that make up the municipality, only two expressed a similar outright refusal to give land. They did lose a bit of land as we can see on this picture. These fields are on land that was developed by TG as a continuation of their plantations on tracts that were given by the neighbouring village. But Langay villagers complained about this encroachment with the local state authorities and a meeting was organised between them, some regional officials and Lalifuel and they managed to recover some of this land. However, villagers are now starting to be a bit worried since the project seems to be slowly extending beyond the lines on which they had agreed.
In terms of land access, the company followed the lengthy top-down legal procedure defined by a new administrative act. One of its requirements is local consultation however how these are conducted are mostly left to the discretion of the company and the local administration. In this case, the project did not restrict to a broad meeting at the main village of the municipality but also consulted each village separately. This choice is one of the reasons I chose this case study.
This explains this MAP here. This represents the 1st lease that was granted to the company (a 30-year renewable lease on 6,558 ha). What has been leased is in orange here. What one notices is that instead of a big chunk of land as is often the case, the area leased to the company consists in 15 non-contiguous plots, which are shown in orange here. These are located in the municipalities of Arivony, where Lalifuel set up its base and Antafoka. This shows that local negotiations did make a difference.
The other thing one notices on this map is that the lease does not affect the municipality of Benala. The company argues that this outcome is a reflection of their respect for local voices. They were interested in developing there as well but since people had said they refused giving land, they had respected that choice
But what the research has shown is that the exclusion of Benala from the first lease was the result of a much less linear process than that, and one which certainly didn’t involve the company only but which saw the intervention of a whole range of actors. Besides, saying ‘people refused so we respected’- implies that consultation processes happen in neutral spaces in which opinions can be freely expressed by communities who know their rights and do not fear to uphold them. this thesis demonstrates instead that the possibility of refusing land dispossession was less offered to Benala villagers than it was seized by them, sth which hasn’t been shown to happen frequently in Madagascar where population have historically been excluded from decision-making . I’ll say a bit more about this later
Bringing moral economy into the study of land deals: reflections from Madagascar
Bringing moral economy into the study of land deals
Reflections from Madagascar
Tozzi Green Agribusiness Project (jatropha and flexcrops)
Ihorombe plateau, Madagascar
Tozzi Green’s first lease (2012)
on 15 non-contiguous tracts (6,500 ha)
Village politics of land deals
Contrasted perspectives: From enthusiasm to concern
Disagreeing over who has rights to the land
Contrasted responses: from resignation to resistance
The moral economy of land deals
Respect for people’s voices on
their ancestral land
Obligations of reciprocity
Subsistence right in a region of
Subsistence right in a context of unmechanised agriculture:
need for cattle corridors for the hitsaky
in a context of demographic and climatic pressures on land
‘Before we used to graze to the west of our hamlet, but
now there is jatropha on both sides of the road, so we
can’t go through. Now we only have the east of the village
left to graze but the problem is that there are more and
more rice paddies as well there so we don’t really have
any grassland left to take the cattle to’
(Marcel, Antranohazo Voroka, 16/02/2014)
Subsistence right: requiring measure
‘One day I bumped into one of the foreigners so I told them:
‘How can we have a good relationship with you when we’ve
asked to keep some of our land and you don’t do it? It
doesn’t work like that?’ (Jonah, Analamary, 09/04/2014)
Respect for their voices
Respect for their ancestors’ power on the land
Ceremony of tsipirano
Obligations of reciprocity
‘It’s really a big problem for us to have their plantations there.
But do foreigners think it’s easy to raise cattle? There is always
a risk that they might escape if we don’t wake up during the
night to check on them. And that’s not only when it’s raining
that they try and escape. Now with the jatropha there, we
really have to keep a close eye on them all the time’
‘The salary wasn’t satisfactory. Even those 12-13 year old
boys over there weren’t happy but we didn’t have any choice.
The tasks took us at least one full day of work and for that,
we were only paid 3,000 Ar (less than 1£)’.
Obligations of reciprocity
Resisting the de-moralising of land deals