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Alfredo Bini February 26, 2015

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Ethiopia.

From the project on Land Grabbing in Ethiopia 2011

Alfredo Bini (b. 1975, Italy) is a freelance photojournalist whose work has been published in Paris Match, El Pais, National Geographic, Italy and the New York Times among others. His project Transmigrations is about the journey of African migrants through the Sahara desert. It has been published in African and Black Diaspora by DePaul University and Harvard University in the New Geographies Journal. It won several prizes and has been exhibited worldwide in festivals and solo exhibitions. Land Grabbing or Land to Investors? was selected for the 24th Visa Pour l’Image in Perpignan, the 12th China Pingyao International Photography Festival and Photoville. It was recently released as a video documentary. Alfredo is represented by the French agency Cosmos.

About the Photograph:

“Lopiso Lagebocomes is from Kambata, a small town 800 km from Metahara, in the Southern part of Ethiopia. For Lopiso, work starts at 5 A.M. when the plantation is set on fire, and as soon as it cools down, he enters the field and starts cutting cane, finishing at 12 or 1 o’clock. He cuts up to five tons of sugar cane a day and earns 80 cents. The company recruits the entire work force around his home town, where land shortage drives the workers to emigrate. In order to boost sugar and biofuel production, the management of government-owned Metahara sugar factory, has confiscated over twenty thousand hectares of land inhabited by the Afar people, causing discontent among those who refuse to move their village to make room for the plantations.”

“The financial risk to the companies involved in Land Grabbing is almost nonexistent. Governments, motivated by food security concerns, allocate the initial funds to be invested overseas. The EU provides funding to other companies that will produce materials overseas that make it possible to comply with EU green policies for bio fuel production. The World Bank and the IMF also provide companies with funding, and it is possible to purchase insurance against loss that may result from stability issues in the country where the funds are invested. These land use decisions are made far away from the land itself, and even further from the people whose lives and livelihoods are rooted in the land. To investigate these issues in Ethiopia was a natural choice because it is a country where more than six million people survive because of UN food aid, while it exports agricultural products cultivated on land leased to foreign investors.”