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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Asian capitalism, primitive accumulation, and the new enclosures in Uganda
Author:Olanya, David RossISNI
Periodical:African Identities (ISSN 1472-5851)
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:land acquisition
foreign enterprises
colonial period
Abstract:The new scramble for farmlands in Uganda is similar to the colonial practice of allocating productive land for plantation agriculture. This article reviews historical cases of capital accumulation by Asian investors of Indian origin in Uganda, the result of the failure of the dual economy. The colonial cotton frontier changed into a more lucrative sugar industry. The Metha and Madhvani Groups embarked on large-scale acquisitions of land despite the unfavourable policy environment for foreigners. In general, both Metha and Madhvani incrementally acquired land through (1) purchasing freehold land from other non-Africans, (2) leasing untenanted Crown land directly from the British authority, (3) acquiring 'mailo' land indirectly from African landowners, a practice where 'mailo' land was surrendered as Crown land, and with Governor's consent, the land was regranted leasehold Crown land, (4) exchanging freehold for 'mailo' land with the consent of colonial government and Buganda authority, and (5) entering into yearly agreements with African landowners. The existence of relatively balanced domestic power relations during British colonialism protected the local indigenous population from land alienation. Although a maximum cap of 10,000 acres was institutionalized to limit the amount of land owned by non-Africans, both Metha and Madhvani companies circumvented the cap to acquire more land, an insight not really appreciated in the current land grab discourse. Using economic historical analysis, the article reviews how Metha and Madhvani accumulated more land, and compares this with the current quest for primitive accumulation of 7100 hectares in Mabira Forest Reserve and 40,000 hectares of communal land in Amuru district. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]