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Daewoo Maize and Biofuel Project, Madagascar


South Korean company Daewoo Logistics signed a 99-year lease in Madagascar for about 1.3 million hectares, or about half of the island's arable land. It is the largest lease of this type in history and would have supplied half of South Korea's grain imports. The organization Collectif pour la Défense des Terres Malgaches, TANY was established in reaction to the lease (in which monetary compensation for the land was not included) and petitioned the government to first consult with stakeholders before agreeing to foreign land deals. The petition was ignored. The Major of Antananarivo (the largest city in Madagascar), Andry Rajoelina, criticized the president, Marc Ravalomanana, for supporting the deal. Rajoelina's administration rose in popularity because of his opposition to to Daewoo.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Daewoo Maize and Biofuel Project, Madagascar
State or province:Brickaville, Toamasina II, Vatomandry, Maintirano, and Sava
Location of conflict:Antananarivo and Brickaville, Toamasina II, Vatomandry, Maintirano, and Sava regions
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

million hectares of farmland, infrastructure projects, and an estimated 45,000 – 70,000 jobs (mostly filled by skilled south African workers) with a plan to produce 5 million metric tones of corn annually.

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Project area:1,300,000
Level of Investment for the conflictive project6,000,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:20 million - total population of Madagascar
Start of the conflict:29/12/2008
Company names or state enterprises:Daewoo Logistics Corporation
Madagascar Future Business Group from Madagascar
Relevant government actors:President Marc Ravalomanana, ousted by coup., Andry Rajoelina, new president, previous major of Antananarivo.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Collectif pour la Défense des Terres Malgaches, TANY, Chair: Mamy Rakotondrainibe,, Link to petition to the government:
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Groups created specifically against Daewoo deal.
Forms of mobilization:Boycotts of official procedures/non-participation in official processes
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Genetic contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Deaths
Potential: Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Institutional changes
Project cancelled
Proposal and development of alternatives:Consult stakeholders and people, conduct environmental assessments, and hold public meetings before agreeing to such long-term and potentially harmful deals.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Officially cancelled but is being replaced by smaller deals, and Daewoo continues to hold land in Madagascar. The new president continues to invite foreign investment of this type.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

The constitution is cited to forbid land acquisition by foreign bodies, but this is vague.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Barry Ness et. Al., 2009, 'The African land-grab: Creating equitable governance strategies through codes-of-conduct and certification schemes'
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Daewoo logistics
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'Madagascar leader axes land deal' BBC
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Collectif pour la Defense des Terres Malgaches 'Appel a signature petition'
[click to view]

'Madagascar's new leader says Daewoo land deal off' Reuters
[click to view]

'South Korean company takes over part of Madagascar to grow biofuels. The Daily Telegraph
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Aliza Tuttle
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:94
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