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We’ve seen this movie before. In fact, we are watching several versions of it in numerous countries right now. The Center for Investigative Reporting has produced a series of episodes for Food for 9 Billion. The link at the base of this post leads you to the February 28, 2012 episode, which takes you through the controversial Ethiopian Resettlement Program in western Ethiopia. Here are some highlights (Hermann 2012):

  • It occurs in the western region of Gambella, Ethiopia.
    • Inhabitants: Anuak
    • The Anuak grow maize in the summer and move closer to the river in dryer months.
    • Several rivers and a sizable dam water the region.
  • The Ethiopian government owns title to all the land in the area, but Ethiopians have the right to use it.
  • Last year, the Ethiopian government launched a program called “villagization”.
    • They told farmers that they would be relocated with access to cleaner water, health and education.
    • Human Rights Watch says that the government is actually forcing people off the land to lease it to foreign corporations.
    • Some foreign interests farm the land themselves, for crops to ship to their own countries.
    • No water restrictions are applied to the leases.
  • Many of the relocated communities face endemic hunger as early as next year (2013). Already, over 12 million Ethiopians need food assistance.


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Hermann, Cassandra

2012   Ethiopia: A Battle for Land and Water(third installment of nine). Center for Investigative Reporting (posted online February 28, 2012). Electronic document,, accessed February 28, 2012.

Creative Commons License
VideoLink: The Battle Between Corporations and Residents for Land and Water: Battlefield Ethiopia by Shari Maria Silverman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

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