Madagascar, Daewoo and neocolonialism

Daewoo project in Madagascar

What have Madagascar and South Korea got in common? On the face of it, nothing. The former is a country in development, the second is an economic power. One is in Africa, the other in Asia. The Malagasy have uncontaminated land. The Koreans lack cultivatable land. Madagascar has 28 inhabitants per square kilometre. South Korea has 493 inhabitants per square kilometre.
Two countries that are different from each other but that today have Daewoo in common as well as neocolonialism without capital. Tronchetti and Colaninno have been leading the way even abroad.
Once upon a time they gifted necklaces and shining stones to indigenous people in exchange for every type of good. Today not even that.
South Korea needs corn, palm oil and agricultural goods. Madagascar has land. Daewoo signed an agreement with the Malagasy government. The handing over of 1.3 million hectares of cultivatable land for 99 years. More than half the cultivatable land in the country (2.5 million hectares).
It’s all for FREE. In exchange, Daewoo is committed to taking on the Malagasy as peasants.

Image from The Financial Times

According to Mr Hong, a Daewoo manager: “It is land that is totally not developed, and uncontaminated. And we will provide work and make it cultivatable, and this is good for Madagascar.”
The produce of the 1.3 million hectares from Madagascar will be sent to South Korea for its needs and it is probable that not even a cob of maize will remain for the Malagasy.
Madagascar is part of the World Food Programme from which it receives food for 600,000 people who live at subsistence level. People on the bread line to which can be added thousands of small farmers and their families.

Destruction of forests in Madagascar - photo Foko -Madagascar

The 1.3 million hectares are mostly forests. They will be destroyed with severe effects on the climate. The Malagasy peasant has his land taken away from him, the food is sent abroad, his environment is destroyed. In exchange he can work for Daewoo. What luck!
Those who have resources have no money. Those who have money, buy resources. But what is money? Where does it come from? Guess. From the resources of those without money.
Africa has the greatest amount of uncultivated fertile land in the world and the greatest number of starving people. There must be a reason.

Posted by Beppe Grillo at 09:05 PM in | Comments (7)
Post a comment | Sign up | Send to a friend | | GrilloNews |
View blog opinions


Desire to leave express my admiration to the beautiful work of this Blog, yours truly, Efigênia Coutinho ( Mallemont)

Posted by: Efigênia Coutinho | February 12, 2009 02:33 AM

Grazie that you're making us aware of this 'strano' deal. In my view, a big problem is the mono-agriculture / cash-crop aspect of this, apart from not sustainably solving the island's food problems, as you already wrote (e.g. WFP aid). Of course, blogger zero 111 is right to point to the lack of political/democratic legitimacy - but I doubt that's the only reason, which explains why this deal was made.

Information accuracy: Apparently, Daewoo will pay $12/acre (so, not for free). See TIME link, below. Reporting on this story has not been very consistent so far, though.

What can we do as citizens in Europe?
1. Put pressure on the Korean government via the WFP/FAO. First help solve Madagascar solve its food/nutrition problems!
2. Don't buy Daewoo cars and other products,8599,1861145,00.html

Posted by: Victor Kommerell | November 29, 2008 08:39 PM

"Mr. Kurtz -he dead". No, he is not.
Who is Mr. Kurtz? He is the white man burdened with the task of civilizing the Congo in Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, but delivered atrocities and exploitation instead.

Posted by: lou pacella | November 29, 2008 05:16 AM

Comment found on Global Voices:

Mahefa Rakotomalala writes at L'express de Madagascar that the alleged land deal with South Korean company Daewoo has been officially rejected by the Malagasy government. The minister of land reform explained in a press release to local newspapers that anyone can request to lease an unlimited amount of land but it has to be approved by the state cabinet (fr).

Posted by: Andrea | November 28, 2008 09:39 PM

There we go again our zero imbecile!!!
At least you recognize your insanity. Good for you.
Anyhow regarding the set up in Madagascar, this deal will not make much difference anyway since Madagascar has been a green island melting into the sea for a very long time. The problem of slash and burn to cultivate bananas for a year or two and then move on and slash and burn some more has been going on for decades anyway. If you really want to see the extent of this damage all you need to do is fly over Madagascar and you will see humus and topsoil being carried away for miles into the sea at each estuary of each river.
The question of Africa with its immense resources being a bastion of starvation has puzzled me for many decades I have lived and filmed in Africa. The only conclusion I can offer is the dismal quality of politicians Africans choose for themselves mostly due to ignorance. Until Africans understand the damage they do to themselves by choosing their leaders the way they do now they are stuck with their suffering. Meanwhile the world goes on the Koreans like the Chinese have their own needs to satisfy and Africa offers a fertile ground for such one sided deals.
So while the Western World pumps AID money by the truckload and try and appease their colonial past others with no ethical or moral qualms jump in and crack deals for their sole benefit and the benefit of the African leaders that sign such deals.

Posted by: Maurizio Odello | November 28, 2008 10:06 AM

I wonder who bribed who with what.

Posted by: Rolly Wheeler | November 28, 2008 01:39 AM

This is despicable. An act of vandalism or is it capitalism?

Posted by: mick radatti | November 28, 2008 01:18 AM

Post a comment

Beppe Grillo's Blog is an open space for you to use so that we can come face to face directly. As your comment is published immediately, there's no time for filters to check it out. Thus the Blog's usefulness depends on your cooperation and it makes you the only ones responsible for the content and the resulting outcomes.

Information to be read before using Beppe Grillo's Blog

The following are not allowed:
1. messages without the email address of the sender
2. anonymous messages
3. advertising messages
4. messages containing offensive language
5. messages containing obscene language
6. messages with racist or sexist content
7. messages with content that constitutes a violation of Italian Law (incitement to commit a crime, to violence, libel etc.)

However, the owner of the Blog can delete messages at any moment and for any reason.
The owner of the Blog cannot be held responsible for any messages that may damage the rights of third parties Maximum comment length is 2,000 characters.
If you have any doubts read "How to use the blog".

Post a comment (English please!)

First name and Surname*:

Email Address*:
We remind you that anonymous messages (without real first name and surname) will be cancelled.

* Compulsory fields

Send to a friend

Send this message to *

Your Email Address *

Message (optional)

* Compulsory fields