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Home > Focus > Africa up for grabs

Africa up for grabs

di Jonathan Hankins [1], 30 Gennaio 2011

Last year Friends Of The Earth [2] published a report entitled Africa up for grabs, the scale and impact of land grabbing for agrofuels [3]. The report was part Funded by the European Commission within the feeding and fueling Europe project, and takes a critical look at the problem of companies buying or leasing large pieces of land in Africa for the production of crops that are grown in order to be turned into bio-fuel, mainly for export to Europe.

There have long been arguments about the problems created by mass fuel crop cultivation. The associated rises in prices of both general food crops due to the loss of agricultural land and the explosion in the price of crops that can also be used for fuel production are well documented, but this report goes one step further. The report argues that the EU policy of aiming for a minimum of 10% use of renewable fuels for transport before 2020 is actually exacerbating the problem and driving the practice of land grabbing, and asks for a change in the directive.

The document makes some interesting points. The problems of water and land use as well as the actual environmental credibility of the entire policy are brought to the fore, as is the use and development of GM crops for fuel production purposes. Agrifuel companies (specializing in industrialized crop production for bio-fuel purposes) are criticized for paying lip service to environmental and social problems whilst depicted as only interested in making money at the expense of the African people.

This is not a report aimed at the scientific community, and some of its arguments are framed within a political ideology and sound journalistic, although this is more due to the writing style than the actual content. The arguments are well referenced, and on the whole it raises some very interesting and important points, and the mere fact of bringing the scale of these developments to the public eye makes the document valid and useful, and the problem of responsibility in both innovation and in governance protrudes from every crack.

A short report, free to download [4], available in several languages, an hour well spent.

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Link citati nell'articolo:

  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Jonathan Hankins
  2. 2] http://www.foe.co.uk/
  3. 3] http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2010/africa-up-for-grabs/view
  4. 4] http://www.foei.org/en/resources/publications/pdfs/2010/africa-up-for-grabs/at_download/file
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Africa up for grabs


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