A recent report by the African Biodiversity Network highlights the trends and threats in the new push for biofuels as a solution to climate change. Case studies from Benin, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia show how large areas of Africa’s best land are being being turned over to biofuel production; even if this means privatising customary land, evicting farmers, raising food prices, competing for precious water sources, and cutting down precious forests and conservation areas.

INTRODUCTION

Africa is at a crossroads of trying to reconcile the conservation of its vast cultural and natural heritage with the many and increasing needs of a growing population. Powerful external forces continue to divert the continent from solutions that come from within, as they push for the privatisation and industrialisation of land, knowledge and biodiversity all in the name of poverty alleviation. The push for agrofuels is the latest of these so-called “solutions” that is extensively promoted as an opportunity for Africa to develop energy security and alleviate poverty in rural areas.

The African Biodiversity Network (ABN) decided at a meeting in January in Kenya to investigate this new development, analyse its real and potential impact on biodiversity and livelihoods and develop strategies to deal with it.

As a first step, ABN supported research in four African countries (Benin, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia) by four ABN partners, to establish the impact that new developments promoting large-scale agrofuels will have on the environment and livelihoods of African farmers and rural communities. At the same time GRAIN, an ABN partner in Africa also did research and analysis of the impact of agrofuels in Africa. This publication is a compilation of the work of these different partners, and further work on this issue will build on these findings. The four country studies were summarised for the purpose of this publication. At the end of the publication the reader will also find a response from a few ABN partners on the EU biofuels targets, setting out many of our concerns and urging people in the North to consider the impact their fuel needs will have on food security in the South.

Download the full report at:
http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/docs/ABN_Agro.pdf