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NSukala Sugar plantation and refinery in Cercle de Segou, Mali


In 1996, the Malian government and state-owned China Light Industrial Corporation for Foreign Economic and Technical Cooperation (CLETC) entered into a joint venture to establish the Mali Sugar Conglomerate, with CLETC holding 60% of the company and the government holding 40%. The Conglomerate took control of two sugar factories that were built with Chinese assistance in the 1960s and 1970s and sugar-cane plantations on 5,700 ha, known as SUKALA S.A. In 2009, the Malian government signed a deal with CLETC to establish a new sugar project, New Complexe Sucrier Du Kala Superieur SA (N’Sukala), in which CLETC was given a 50-year renewable lease on 20,000 ha of lands in the Office du Niger for irrigated sugar-cane production. The plant was completed in November of 2012, and production had started on test plots at that time, however construction started before the ESIA was completed or villagers notified of the agreement. As of 2011 only 4,000 ha of the allocation was planted – and the CEO of Sinolight cited squatters as a main setback, saying all of the acreage is to be developed by 2013 if the government arranges for the removal of the ‘squatters’.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:NSukala Sugar plantation and refinery in Cercle de Segou, Mali
State or province:Cercle de Ségou
Location of conflict:Bewani
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)
Specific commodities:
Project Details and Actors
Project details:

The project is to process 6,000 tons of sugarcane daily, with an annual output of 104,000 tons of sugar and 9.6 million liters of alcohol. This project and the existing two facilities at Dougabougou and Siribala together are to produce over 140,000 tons of sugar, and therefore exceeded domestic demand. The sugar plant will employ 740 permanent workers and 10,500 seasonally. While the government of Mali is responsible to notify those to be resettled the CLETC is responsible to cover all costs (article 7 in contract).

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Project area:20,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:At least 8 villages (31,470 people)
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:China Light Industrial Corporation for Foreign Economic and Technical Cooperation (CLETC) from China
Affiliated with Sinolight Corporation from China
Relevant government actors:Malian government, Office du Niger
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Via Campesina,
Conflict and Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Impacts of the project
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Food insecurity (crop damage)
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Prior to clearing, the land was used for grazing, firewood collection, and dry cereal cropping. Local people were not informed nor received prior compensation. In addition, according to Article 15.1, the company has priority access to water in case of drought over subsistence farmers in the area. Protests and sit-ins in the region continue.
Sources and Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Oakland Institute, 2011, 'Understanding Land Investment Deals in Africa: Mali'
[click to view]

Nolte, Kerstin and Voget-Kleschin, Lieske, 2013,'Evaluating Consultation in Large-Scale Land Acquisitions', p.12-3
[click to view]

Djire, Moussa, Amadou Keita, Alfousseyni Diawara, 2012, 'Agricultural investments and land acquisitions in Mali'
[click to view]

Djire, Moussa, Amadou Keita and Alfousseyni Diawara, 2012, 'Current dynamics of large-scale agricultural investments and inclusive business models in Mali'
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

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, 'Land Grabbing in Mali: Farmers Arrested'
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, 'Convention Particuliere sur les Conditions de Cession et de Bail des terres an Nouveau Compleze Ducrier du Kala Superieur (N-Sukala)
[click to view]

[click to view]

, 'Les attributions de terres a N-Sukala au Mali'
[click to view]

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Sinolight, 'Sugar Business Dept'
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Malijet, 'INAUGURATION DE N-SUKALA-SA Les prémices de la souveraineté sucrière'
[click to view]

Wikileaks, 2009, 'A spoonful of Chinese Sugar Sourts US Investors in Mali'
[click to view]

Mali Sugar Conglomerate, 'DLETC Project Case in Mali'

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

'Why Poverty' Directed by Hugo Berkeley & Osvalde Lewat
[click to view]

Other comments:'In the absence of clear national guidelines in respect of the displacement and resettlement of affected communities, everything depends on the goodwill of the developer and any requirements imposed by lenders' Dijire, 2012
Sinolight announced plans to build another sugar refinery in Niger in 2012.
Meta information
Contributor:Aliza Tuttle
Last update24/06/2014
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