Farmlands, or agricultural landscapes, captures the interest of a number of researchers based at the Department of Human Geography, Stockholm University. On this blog we share information about research findings, activities, events and comments related to our work.
Our interest in farmlands has three roots: farming, landscape and society.
Farming as a practice, including farmers knowledge and labour investments
Landscape as society-nature relations, congealed history, and as space and place
Society as a short form for institutions, gender relations, political economy and scientific relevance
Most Welcome to FarmLandS!
Sunday, March 26, 2017
From the article IFAD days away from cancellling Bagamoyo sugar loan we learn that Tanzanian government must confirm the status of the Bagamoyo sugar and ethanol project to IFAD before the end of this month. IFAD (The International Fund for Agricultural Development - an agency of the UN) has guaranteed huge loans and grants for the development of outgrower schemes in Bagamoyo together with the African Development Bank.
From the article SEKAB never recovered losses from Bagamoyo we learn that the losses of SEKAB when they sold their Africa-based companies to Per Carstedt for 400 SEK were written off early. The chances of getting small pieces of that back through buying cheap ethanol from Bagamoyo according to the agreement from 2011 now seems to have disappeared into thin air.
So it is now possible to start looking at the losses of public Swedish money..
SEKAB is a public-owned energy company where municipalities (local districts) in the north of Sweden have put in money for the Africa plans. According Swedish television investigative program Uppdrag granskning 500 million SEK disappeared from taxpayers money into the SEKAB Africa companies. This and other problems with their energy company took a heavy toll on the economy of Örnsköldsvik town according Uppdrag granskning in August 2014 .
According to Development Today the losses from SEKAB when selling the company to EcoEnergy were 158 million SEK that were written off long time ago.
On top of that Swedish International Development Agency Sida, has a claim of SEK 54 millions on EcoEnergy, according to Development Today.
It seems safe to say that losses of Swedish taxpayers for this land grabbing adventure amounts to much more than 200 million SEK.
Monday, March 6, 2017
Monday, February 20, 2017
Black Earth Farming, a Swedish owned company that have been operating in the chernozeme black earth region in Russia recently announced that they are selling the company to a Russian oligarch.
Friday, November 18, 2016
Previous posts on this site are:
june 2016: End of road for Ecoenergy?
March 2016: Sida critised by National Audit for their Ecoenergy support
March 2015: Time running out for Ecoenergy?
April 2014: More iconic farming images
April 2014: Funny pictures about farming
March 2013: Swedish land grab in Tanzania causes protests
On two previous occasions we have almost declared the death of this project first following the withdrawal of Swedish Sida support in 2015 and then in June 2016 following the declaration by the prime minister in Tanzanian parliament that the environmental concerns for wildlife would stop the project.
It will be a future research task to find outwhat has really happened with this project since president Magufuli took over from Kikwete in November 2015. It now seems that the environmental concerns against this project voiced by Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa in parliament in June may just have been a smokescreen for other things going on. According to Daily News in August the president offered 10 000 hectares of land in Bagamoyo to Cuba for a sugar plantation. Since then there have been press reports that the president has offered 10,000 hectares of land in Bagamoyo for sugar plantations to the Tanzanian Bakhresa group.
In todays edition of East African Business Times the circumstances around the 10,000 hectares of land in Bagamayo are reported like this:
“The ministry has opened dialogue with existing sugar producers in a bid to address the challenges farmers face in a bid to increase production through government support,” says Mwijage, adding that the ministry is currently implementing a presidential directive to set aside land in Bagamoyo District for local investor Bakhresa Group of companies to set up sugar factory. The plot of land was offered to the company after the government confiscated it from its previous owner who failed to use it for the benefit of the country."
Although Ecoenergy is not mentioned in this article I can only find this to mean that the Tanzanian government has indeed confiscated the land to which SEKAB/Ecoenergy had a long-term lease on the former RAZABA ranch. If this is true it means that the Tanzanian government is not so concerned about neither the wildlife nor the local smallholders, but is ready to give the land to national agrobusiness interests rather than to Swedish.
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
Finally published: A long term project covering a long period. Investigating deserted farms in Sweden to understand tenure, lordship, social relations and farming systems during the Middle Ages:
Is it possible to survive on a deserted farm: Manors, tenants and farming systems during the Middle Ages in the Lägerbo area, Östergötland.
This study approaches the late medieval farm desertion from a landscape perspective. It focuses on the area of a former medieval estate in southern Östergötland, Sweden. Based on a retrogressive analysis of cadastral maps and historical records the medieval settlement is reconstructed. In this process three formerly unknown deserted farms were identified, with abandoned field systems and building remains. The volume provides the archaeological documentation of field systems and settlements at these sites. These data provide the background for investigating the shifting social and ecological circumstances that once made it possible for tenant families to survive on these farms. During the height of the manorial system the small farms were specialised units in a redistributive system. In the late 14th century the estate and all tenant farms were donated to the convents of Vadstena and Vreta. Rents were no longer paid in labour but in butter. In the fifteenth century several farms were abandoned and turned into meadows under the surviving farms. The new tenurial relations prevented the recolonization of the farms. The study is the result of an interdisciplinary project involving medieval archaeology, historical geography, palynology and medieval history.
Buy the book (in Swedish) http://vitterhetsakad.bokorder.se/sv-se/shop/book/2861?slug=kan-man-leva-pa-en-odegard
Or read a very preliminary (and old) report from the project in The Archaeology and Anthropology of Landscape
Thursday, May 26, 2016
Wednesday, May 4, 2016
PhD defense "Ecosystem Services and Disservices in an Agriculture–Forest Mosaic: A Study of Forest and Tree Management and Landscape Transformation in Southwestern Ethiopia"
Opponent Tobias Plieninger, Associate Professor
Supervisor Lowe Börjeson, Associate Professor
Venue: De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 14, Frescati, Stockholm