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Petitioning Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi

Stop taking land from Ethiopian farmers

According to the 1994 Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, ‘The right to ownership of rural and urban land, as well as of all natural resources, is exclusively vested in the State and in the peoples of Ethiopia.To get around this restriction  since 2004  Ethiopian land has been leased long term to foreign companies, some as long as 99 years, supposedly in the name of development. Eight years on and Ethiopians  are still dependent on foreign aid. The land lease agreements are entered with firms, not countries.They are governed by Ethiopian law . The contracts contain no word concerning the relationship of the firms with the local farmers/pastoralists.  Even worse the farmers are not compensated.  The lack of biodiversity is affecting the ecosystem, due to  the amount of ethiopian indigenous crop grown being nearly halved . .  In 2011, 3.5 million hectares were allocated, while the projected figure for 2015 is 7 million hectares, an area twice the size of Belgium. By way of comparison, 12 million hectares are farmed by the same number of smallholders, who make up four-fifths of the Ethiopian workforce 

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