4.1 Pressures on the land
In the next activity you will deepen your understanding of land rights conflicts in Senegal and other countries and consider the growing social resistance to the appropriation of land.
Activity 4 Exploring the pressures
Read the following articles that explore the land pressures in Senegal and other countries and consider how villagers and farmers around the world are building a social movement to contest the loss of their lands. Then answer the questions that follow.
‘A global alliance emerges in West Africa’ (Food crisis and the global land grab, 2011)
‘Peasant agriculture: a real solution to climate change’ (La Via Campesina, 2011)
1. Why are violent protests occurring in Senegal?
In 2007–08, violent protests occurred in Senegal because the price of imported rice increased, making it unaffordable for many. In 2011, riots occurred because of land leases for biofuel production.
2. How can social movements mobilise in the face of uneven economic and power relationships?
Social movements and grassroots groups seek to redress power inequities by pooling their power capabilities and working together. Working with each other, they pool their knowledge on land grabs and agree a shared strategy for resistance.
3. What does the Nyéléni Declaration of 2011 defend and call for?
The Nyéléni Declaration of 2011 defends food sovereignty, the commons and the rights of small-scale food producers to natural resources. It calls for better organisation so that communities and movements can reclaim and defend their rights. The declaration also advocates using the law to defend the rights of landholders and small-scale farmers, to put pressure on national governments and international institutions and to publicise the plight of those dispossessed of their land.