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Hybrid rice in the Office du Niger, Mali


In 2008, Mali leased 100 000 ha of land in the Office of Niger to Malibya for hybrid rice production and a canal construction project. The deal was negotiated by the former heads of states of Mali and Libya. Malibya was granted a 30-year tax holiday for the project. It is unclear whether an ESIA was undertaken, as none was made public. There was no mention of where the agricultural produce would go. The construction of the 40 km long irrigation canal and adjacent road resulted in massive disruption in the Kolongo region. At least 150 households will be displaced by the canal. Only 58 out of the 150 impacted by the construction were to be compensated. The canal also closed the irrigation channels that watered the gardens of women farmers, resulting in the loss of their harvests and livelihoods. A Chinese rather than local company, CGC, was awarded the contract for constructing the irrigation canals. Farmers report being brutally attacked and jailed when they protested.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Hybrid rice in the Office du Niger, Mali
State or province:Office du Niger
Location of conflict:Segou, West of Macina
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict: 1st level:Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of conflict: 2nd level :Water access rights and entitlements
Land acquisition conflicts
Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific commodities:Livestock (Cattle)
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

000 Ha of land to be cultivated for hybrid rice farming, livestock, tomato processing and a 40-kilometre long water canal, under a 50 year renewable lease. The land is free, and the water is to be charged at 2,470 F CFA or USD 5 per ha/year, and 67,000 CFA (USD 140) per ha/year for gravity-fed water. Malibya has the right to use all surface and subterranean water it needs between June and December each year. The project involved the construction of the largest canal in Mali, and a road, both of which are 40 km long in the first phase (25 000 Ha). The canal has a minimum capacity of 130 m3 per second, permitting irrigation using 11 million m3 of water per day or 4 billion m3 per year, according to Malibya. Only 5% of Malis land is arable and water levels have dropped by 30% in the last 3 decades.

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Project area:100000
Level of Investment:25,000,000,000
Type of populationRural
Start of the conflict:2008
Company names or state enterprises:Malibya from Libya - subsidiary of Libya Africa Investment Portfolio
Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAP) from Libya
China Hybrid National Rice Company from China
China Geo-Engineering Corporation from China
Relevant government actors:Malian Ministry of Agriculture, Mali Ministry of Environment, Government department of the Office du Niger, Secretary of State of the Office du Niger, Libyan Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:National Coordination of Smallholder Organizations (CNOP),, Association of Professional Smallholder Organizations (AOPP),, Union of Agricultural Operators in the Office du Niger (SEXAGON), Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa (AFSA),, Oakland Institute,, Centre for Human Rights and Global Justice,, Friends of the Earth International,, GRAIN,
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityLATENT (no visible organising at the moment)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Trade unions
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Objections to the EIA
Appeals/recourse to economic valuation of the environment
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage), Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
Potential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures
Project StatusUnder construction
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Under negotiation
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Given the political situation in Mali and Libya, the project may be stalled or stopped for a while.
Development of alternatives:Farmers want their lands back.
International organizations are calling for public disclosure, transparency, debate and rethinking. They are also calling for the government to rethink its development strategies and open a dialogue with farmers associations on how best to support and strengthen family farming and food security in Mali.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:While Malis political instability has taken a heavy toll on its inhabitants, one positive effect is that investors have begun to lose interest in their projects and farmers are approaching legal avenues to try and recover their lands. Simultaneously, some farmers have negotiated with investors the right to farm land they lost 3 years ago. However, the construction of the canal resulted in displacement and loss of livelihoods without compensation for farmers, and women in particular.
Sources and Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Article 15 of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) [of the World Bank] signed by Mali in October 1990
[click to view]

Investment Code of Mali

Impts sur les Bnfices Industriels et Commerciaux, or IBIC

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

The Oakland Institute (June 2011). Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa. Land Deal Brief.
[click to view]

Land Rush: How Do You Feed the World? (December 11, 2012)
[click to view]

The Oakland Institute (2011). Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa. Country report: Mali.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[click to view]

Friends of the Earth
[click to view]

Farm Radio
[click to view]

[click to view]

China in Africa
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

GreenTV. Land-Grabbing in Mali. April 2012
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Zahra Moloo
Last update08/04/2014
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