The project falls within a framework of rapid transformation and conversion of the Nacala Corridor, at the epicentre of a struggle for control of land and water by large international corporations, including international cooperation agencies.
(MAPUTO) – More than half a million people living in communities along the banks of the Lúrio River in northern Mozambique will be severely affected if the country's Council of Ministers approves the Lúrio River Valley Development Project (DVRL) in the controversial Nacala Corridor. Of these 500,000 people, more than 100,000 in the provinces of Niassa, Nampula and Cabo Delgado will lose their homes and land. At issue is a project that was secretly presented to a small group in a hotel in Maputo in January 2014, at a meeting of representatives of government, international development agencies and the private sector, specifically domestic and foreign companies.
The project falls within a framework of rapid transformation and conversion of the Nacala Corridor, at the epicentre of a struggle for control of land and water by large international corporations, including international cooperation agencies. ADECRU (Academic Action for the Development of Rural Communities) and GRAIN have found out, through reliable sources whose identities are omitted here for security reasons, that the Lúrio River Valley Development Project is now before the Council of Ministers for approval, as required by law for investments of this magnitude. The project has a budget of 4.2 billion U.S. Dollars for agricultural development and the construction of hydro-electric infrastructure on the Lúrio River.
The project will occupy an area of more than 240 thousand hectares to produce agricultural commodities for export, such as cotton, corn, sugar and ethanol, as well as livestock farming. It also provides for the construction of two dams on the Lúrio River, which will have a generating capacity of 40 MW and 15 MW of electricity respectively, as well as sustain an irrigation system. Mozambique's Land Act confers the power to grant areas greater than 10,000 hectares on the Council of Ministers, provided that local land use is taken into account. In practice, these powers have been abused, resulting in the approval of projects with severe impacts on the lives of thousands of Mozambicans.
ADECRU and GRAIN have ascertained that the Lúrio River Valley Development Project will be implemented by the Companhia do Vale do Rio Lúrio (CVRL) managed by a consortium made up of TurConsult and Agricane. The shareholder structure behind CVRL remains shrouded in secrecy. However, it is known that TurConsult provides services to the hotel and tourism industry and is managed by Rui Monteiro, a very influential figure in that sector. Agricane is a South African company that produces sugarcane and provides consulting services to large-scale farmers in Africa, specifically in the sugar industry.
ADECRU visited the Lúrio Valley on May 2 and 3 this year, holding talks with communities in the districts of Chiuri in Cabo Delgado Province, and Malema and Erati in Nampula Province. They found that the people were unaware of the Lúrio River Valley Development Project.
ADECRU asked the Council of Ministers for a copy of DVRL project documents and related documentation concerning the Environmental Impact Assessment Study. Up to the time of publication, ADECRU had not received any response.
ADECRU and GRAIN transposed the project map onto a satellite image of the area. The map, available here, shows how the area affected by the project is densely populated by small farmers and rural communities. None of these communities were consulted or informed about the project.
ADECRU and GRAIN publicly denounce and repudiate the Lúrio River Valley Development Project and express their concern and indignation about it. We are firmly against its approval under the terms and assumptions that led to its creation and have allowed it to be gradually put into motion. We therefore demand that Mozambique's Council of Ministers vote against the project because of the destructive impact that it will have on biodiversity.
Clemente Ntauazi, ADECRU, Maputo (English, Portuguese)
+258 82 740 0026 or +258 84 420 0723
Devlin Kuyek, GRAIN, Montreal (English)
+1 514 571 7702