Dutch pension fund denounced for investing in monoculture tree plantations in Mozambique
On December 3, 2011, a front page article in the Dutch newspaper Volkskrant, denounced that the Dutch pension fund, ABP, one of the biggest in the world, is investing money through the Global Solidarity Forest Fund (GSFF), an initiative of Swedish and Norwegian Churches, in a monoculture tree plantation project of pine and eucalyptus in Mozambique that is affecting negatively peasant communities (see WRM publication of 2010: www.wrm.org.uy/paises/Mozambique/livro.pdf).
In the recent article in the newspaper, the Provincial Union of Peasants in Niassa affirms: “We do not understand why church institutions and other investment funds are putting money in projects which are exploiting the poorest of the poor”.
ABP admits that there are problems but claims that management now has changed and things are improving. Unnecessary to say that we will continue to monitor, together with the National Union of Peasants (UNAC) in Mozambique, member of the Via Campesina, how the situation will develop in the context of increasing landgrabbing in Africa by foreign companies and investment funds.
In Mozambique about 80% of the population lives from agriculture and peasants suffer from little support to improve their food security and sovereignty. Expansion of tree plantations over agricultural lands makes life more difficult for rural communities and therefore has caused strong opposition from these communities.