A transnational corporation is expanding its land in the Democratic Republic of Congo with support from international development finance institutions according to a new report issued on Tuesday by GRAIN.
The report documents how the Mauritius-based African Agricultural Fund (AAF) – a subsidiary of agro-giant Feronia – receives millions of dollars from western state-funded development institutions and multilateral banks.
The AAF receives funding from United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, the African Development Bank and the European Commission.
Feronia allegedly bought over 100,000 hectares of land from Unilever in the region of Lokutu, however, local community leaders have never been shown the documents which would validate the property.
“All the lands the communities had were taken by the company, so they have nowhere to grow their own food,” explained a local Pastor quoted in the report.
Furthermore, a law approved by the Congolese government in 2012 stated that only companies that are majority nationally owned can have land, putting into question the legality of Feronia's allege property.
Community leaders claim the land does not belong to Feronia and are demanding their territory.
Feronia's palm oil plantations are also object of controversy. Local communities have criticized labor conditions and community harassment to avoid workers from organizing and defending themselves.
Development finance institutions were created throughout the twentieth century through state funding from developed economies, with the goal of helping developing countries through high-risk loans for private sector investments.