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ProCana Sugar Plantation, Limpopo, Mozambique


On the 10th of October, 2007, the Mozambican government contracted 30,000 hectares in the Massinger district of the southern province of Gaza to CAMEC/ProCana for ethanol production. The area was to be monoculture planted with sugar cane and irrigated with water from the Massingir dam on the Elephants river – to the detriment of farmers water supply downstream. Under the Land Law of 1997 the land was leased for 50 years (renewable). The Ministry of Tourism, however, had already been promised the same land for the establishment of Limpopo National Park (LNP). Already residents were being involuntarily relocated by Ministry for the establishment of the park, and ProCana’s claims on the same land furthered villagers’ frustrations. Tensions rose between the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Agriculture, as well as between the national and district government. When villagers aligned with LNP (against ProCana) the agreement fell apart and in January of 2009 the government revoked the concession due to non-compliance with contractual clauses. It is still possible that other investors may acquire the project.

Basic Data
Name of conflict:ProCana Sugar Plantation, Limpopo, Mozambique
State or province:Gaza
Location of conflict:Limpopo National Park/Massingir District
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:Land acquisition conflicts
Dams and water distribution conflicts
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Establishment of reserves/national parks
Specific commodities:Sugar
Project Details and Actors
Project details

million liters of ethanol annually from 30,000 hectares, with an investment of $510 million, as well as a factory which will create 7,000 jobs and an annual income of 40 million. It would have used 108 billion gallons of water annually.

Project area:30,000
Level of Investment:510,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:9.000
Company names or state enterprises:Central African Mining and Exploration Company (CAMEC) from United Kingdom - Defunct November 2009
ProCana from Mozambique
BioEnergy Africa from South Africa - now Sable Mining in British Virgin Islands
Relevant government actors:Mozambique: Agricultural Minister Erasmo Muhate, Deputy Planning and Development Minister Victor Bernardo, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture, Council of Ministries
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:National Organization of Mozambican peasants, pastoralists, JA (Justiça Ambiental),, UNAC (uniãoNacional dos, Limpopo National Park Camponeses), Centro Terra Viva
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stagePREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Landless peasants
Local government/political parties
Conservationists, Workers from the Limpopo National Park
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Resisting displacement, reports, meetings , debates, organizing of commissions (commissions to suggest alternatives were set up)
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Other Environmental impactsreduced water flow to farmers downstream of Massingir Dam.
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Strengthening of participation
Application of existing regulations
Withdrawal of company/investment
Project temporarily suspended
Development of alternatives:Proper consultation and Environmental Impact Assessments. Respect for the law. Recognition of overlapping community rights.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Concession revoked by the council of ministers due to non-compliance with contractual clauses. CAMEC decided to shift investment away from biofuels. yet other investors acquiring the project is still possible, and the company still owns land in the region.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Mozambiques Land Law of 1997

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

Milgroom, Jessica, 2013, 'Policy processes of a land grab – Enactment, context and misalignment in Massingir, Mozambique'
[click to view]

Hanlon, Joseph, 2011, 'Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa; Country Report: Mozambique'
[click to view]

Borras, Saturnino M., David Fig, Sofia Monsalve Suarez, 'The politices of agrofuels and mega-land and water deals: insights from the ProCana case, Mozambique'
[click to view]

Fig Monsalve ROAPE 2011.pdf
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Mozambique government cancels contract with Procana
[click to view]

Land Grabbing In Kenya And Mozambique: A Report On Two Research Missions – And A Human Rights Analysis Of Land Grabbing. FIAN.
[click to view]

Mother Jones, 'Ethanol's African Land Grab
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Aliza Tuttle
Last update01/07/2014
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