EU in African ‘Landgrab’ for Bio-fuels

www.guardian.co.uk 30th August 2010, http://www.foe.co.uk

Man Harvesting Sugar Cane Crop

A debate has developed over the burden of bio-fuel plantations on the African continent. In recent years, the demand for bio-fuel crops such as Jatropha and palm oil have soared in response to an EU target of producing 10% of all transport fuels from bio-fuels by 2020. A campaign, spear-headed by Friends of the Earth, has attempted to highlight the problems caused by wide-spread growth of usually inedible bio-fuel crops. According to the charity’s report (link below), these crops not only cut down on the available land used for growing food-crops, causing hunger among the local populations, but also raise carbon-emissions. Bio-fuel companies counter these arguments by claiming they bring local investment and jobs to otherwise poor areas as well as produce fuels for the local economy. There is also debate as to the extent bio-fuel crops compete with food-crops for arable land with bio-fuel companies stating they use poorer soils not suitable for food crops.

See the full Friends of the Earth report here.

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