Nigeria: Kaduna Communities Reject N48bn Vicampro Potatoes Farm, Quaint Solar Projects

By Amos Tauna

Kaduna (Nigeria) – Owners of the 1,000 hectares of land allocated to Vicampro Farms Ltd, to grow and process potatoes and to Access Quaint Energy to produce 50 Megawatt of Solar energy have kicked against the projects.

The projects are located on the defunct “Manchok Ranch” in Kaura local government area of Kaduna State, northwest Nigeria..

The Nigerian government had said it was committing $120 million (N48 billion) to Vicampro to invest on the farm at the launch of the project in September, 2016.

In a letter addressed to Governor Nasir El-Rufai of Kaduna State, signed by different heads of communities claiming ownership of the land and which was given to the Sole Administrator of Kaura local government, the villagers said it was secretive and forceful acquisition of their family lands and allocating them to private companies for the sole purpose of making profit, while they, the owners, will end up as farm hands.

The letter dated 16th November, 2017 and copies made available to newsmen has as its heading: “Memorandum on the position of the landowners of the defunct Manchok Cattle Ranch on the illegal allocation of portions of the defunct Manchok Cattle Ranch in Kaura and Zangon Kataf LGAs to Access Quaint Solar Nigeria Limited and Vicampro Farms Limited.”

“The land in question belongs to the families and individuals who have inherited it from their forefathers, and desire to continue owning and using that land by themselves, for agricultural purposes.

“The land in question is the best agricultural land available to the farmers and the community, and the owners do not accept that such prime agricultural land should be used for solar farming, when there are available alternative land for such project as the case all over the world.

“Being farmers, and earning their livelihoods from the land, the landowners will lose their means of livelihood if the land were taken away from them.

“Contrary to best practices throughout the world, such a large scale solar project is being proposed to be sited within an existing settlement, which will be injurious to the environment and the health of the people in the communities. Materials provided by Access Quaint to our communities, including pictorials on similar projects they have handled elsewhere, show that in all such projects none are situated near or within human settlements. The project will be harmful to our communities, and cannot be accepted.

“Quaint have not, to this day, displayed the Environmental Impact Assessment Report for inspection and comments by the stakeholders, we believe partly because they have no way of addressing the environment hazards they have enumerated in their report, and partly because they have shown that the ultimate beneficiaries of the land grabbing will be people from outside the project area. . . . the landowners are therefore afraid that there are sinister reasons for insisting on taking over our best farmlands and rejecting the communities’ suggestion of alternative sites.

“On the proposal to take over 1000 hectares of our farmlands and hand them over to Vicampro Farms Ltd, the land owners reject the alienation of their farmlands, as doing so would deprive them of their farmlands and turn them into mere farm hands on their own land and at the mercy of foreign and external land grabbers in perpetuity.

The landowners would agree to produce potatoes or any other produce on their own farmlands and sell to Vicampro. The company could provide farm inputs and technical services for the production of the produce of their choice, but the farmers will produce on land belonging to them. The landowners do not accept the taking of their land and handing it over to Vicampro or any other company.”

Farming youths stormed the venue of the meeting carrying placards with the inscriptions, “Access Quaint Energy leave our land, Vicampro leave now, No to exploitation of our lands,” amongst others.

Posted by on 19/11/2017. Filed under Agriculture, Energy. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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