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Ruchi Agri Soybean operation in Gambela, Ethiopia


Description:

Ruchi Group is the leading cooking oil manufacturer in India. In April 2010, Ruchi Groups subsidiary, Ruchi Soya, signed a contract with the Ethiopian government for a 25-year lease on 25,000 ha in the Gambela Region for the production of soybeans. At the time of signing an option to double the area under lease to 50,000 ha existed. Production was confirmed in 2012 when the company harvested soybeans from its pilot plot. Local farmers complain of deprecated forest land and lack of jobs to locals: most of the jobs, they say, are given to ‘highlanders'. The locals and the government disagree as to the status of occupation of the land. The government claims the land to be unoccupied, 'virgin lands', while multiple accounts of' villigazation' from this region contradicts this claim.

Basic Data

Name of conflict:Ruchi Agri Soybean operation in Gambela, Ethiopia
Country:Ethiopia
State or province:Gambela
Location of conflict:Gog district along the Gilo River - Obela on the way to Pinyudo and is expected to extend its operations to Arieth village along Gilo River
Accuracy of locationLOW (Country level)

Source of Conflict

Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Manufacturing activities
Specific commodities:Processing Facilities
Soybeans

Project Details and Actors

Project details:

(2010) The company rents 25,000 ha and has harvested the first crop of soybeans. There are 11 Ethiopian contract workers. It plans to open a soybean oil manufacturing plant in Gambela which would create 1500 to 2000 direct & indirect jobs. The company has the right to build dams, water boreholes, and irrigation systems, and is exempt from taxes on imports of capital goods.

Project area:50 000
Level of Investment:$4 million (lease cost for 25,000 ha)
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:100,000 people in the tribe Anywaa of Gambela
Start of the conflict:2010
Company names or state enterprises:Ruchi Group from India
Relevant government actors:Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Oakland Institute, http://www.oaklandinstitute.org/, Human Rights Watch, www.hrw.org, Anywaa Survival Organisation-ASO, http://www.anywaasurvival.org

Conflict and Mobilization

IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Advocacy by international NGO and diaspora groups;
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)

Impacts of the project

Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economical ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession

Outcome

Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Criminalization of activists
Migration/displacement
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:Conduct environmental assessment surveys, enforce relocation only if voluntary policy
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Due to pressure by NGOs and organizers the Ethiopian government has set up the Agricultural Investment Support Directorate to monitor land allotment which, according to its chief Essays Kebede, will be capped at its current levels. However evidence abounds of human rights violations in the villigazation process, which continues.

Sources and Materials

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

Rowden, Rick, 2011, 'An Examination of the Role of the Indian Government and Indian Companies Engaged in Overseas Agricultural Land Acquisitions in Developing Countries'
http://www.networkideas.org/featart/aug2011/Rick_Rowden.pdf

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

, Scramble for Ethiopia's Land'
Farmlandgrab.org

, 'Contractual agreement made between Ministry of Ag & Rural development and Ruchi Agri PLC'
Farmlandgrab.org

Anyuak, 'Unprecedented Land Grabbing and Destruction of Ecological Environment in Gambela, Ethiopia'
http://www.anyuakmedia.com/com_10_9_8.html

http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/19985

http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/18592

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Anywaa Survival Organisation, EJOLT, and GRAIN, 'Grabbing Gambela'
http://farmlandgrab.org/post/view/19502

Other comments:Due to proximity this conflict is related to Karuturi Global’s activities in Gambela. NGOs have issued multiple statements and reports against Karuturi, but internet searches returned no data on Ruchi.

Meta information

Contributor:Aliza Tuttle
Last update08/04/2014