EU biofuel targets are driving a “land grab” in Africa, according to a report by Friends of the Earth.
The report, Africa: up for grabs, released on Monday, says the biofuel sector is generating an African land grab that will cause deforestation, promote food insecurity and create conflict with local communities.
The report details the trend among foreign governments, private companies and investment funds to acquire land in Africa to grow crops for biofuel. According to Friends of Earth, around five million hectares across 11 African countries have been bought or leased for biofuel purposes, chiefly by European and Chinese investors.
While biofuel developments promise to create employment and develop local African economies, Friends of the Earth says the land grab puts pressure on farmland, increases greenhouse gas emissions and in some instances threatens access to resources such as water and forests.
“While foreign companies pay lip service to the need for ‘sustainable development’, agrofuel production and demand for land is resulting in the loss of pasture and forests, destroying natural habitat and probably causing an increase in greenhouse gas emissions,” said the report.
The report recommends dumping policies that increase biofuel demand, such as the EU’s renewable energy target.
Friends of the Earth said the EU’s mandatory target for increasing biofuels is a “clear driver to the land grabbing in Africa” and recommended, “political targets that increase demand for agrofuels should be scrapped, in particular the EU’s mandatory target”.
By. Charlotte Dudley
Source: Environmental Finance