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United States Ambassador Challenged on Claims of AgriSol's Land Deal Benefit for Tanzania

December 28, 2011
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Afrique en Ligne

Oakland, US - The US-based Oakland Institute, an independent policy think tank whose mission is to increase public participation and promote fair debate on critical social, economic and environmental issues, has taken to task the US Ambassador in Tanzania over US firm Agrisol's activities in Tanzania. Despite growing international criticism of AgriSol's plan to develop land and evict over 160,000 long-term residents (refugees from Burundi with over 40 years of established homes, farms and businesses), the Tanzanian government is still planning to move forward with the project.

The latest in the AgriSol Energy saga is the support extended by the US Ambassador to Tanzania, Alfonso Lenhardt, who recently defended AgriSol's activities in Tanzania's Rukwa and Kigoma region, as important to ensure the country of food security and meet energy needs.

'Agrisol have not grabbed any land but were actually invited by the Prime Minister when he visited Iowa state two years ago and saw how American technology can produce sufficient food and energy from farms,' the Ambassador had been quoted as saying, in reference to the Bruce Rastetter and AgriSol Energy.

But in a statement made available to PANA here Wednesday, Anuradha Mittal, Executive Director of the Oakland Institute, 'corrected' Ambassador Lenhardt.

'Honorable Ambassador, our latest brief dismantles AgriSol's lies around project benefits to the people of Tanzania. It is shocking to us that an appointee of the Obama administration would side with a project that will displace and destroy livelihoods of over 160,000 Africans to accommodate investors, including US and Tanzanian politicians and businessmen, with questionable records of integrity,' Mittal said.

The Oakland Institute first exposed AgriSol's land investment deal in June 2011.