The latest “Food for 9 Billion” feature, on the connection between farmland investment and displacement in Ethiopia, airs tonight on PBS NewsHour. It was produced and reported by Cassandra Herrman and Beth Hoffman and edited by Cassandra and David Ritsher at the Center for Investigative Reporting.
In recent months, both Human Rights Watch and the Oakland Institute have released reports critical of the Ethiopian government’s “villagization” program, which moves isolated farm families into permanent settlements.
The Human Rights Watch report documents the removal of tens of thousands of members of the minority Anuak tribe from their farms in the Gambella region. It includes satellite maps showing patterns of displacement.
The Oakland Institute’s investigations look at various land deals in Ethiopia and their impact on local populations.
Both organizations have questioned whether donor money is facilitating the forced relocation of Ethiopian farmers. Ethiopia receives more than $1 billion a year in US aid. The Ethiopian government denies that the villagization program is connected to its policy of leasing prime farmland to foreign corporations.