[permaculture] Biofuel and Land-Grabbing in Africa

Wesley Roe and Santa Barbara Permaculture Network lakinroe at silcom.com
Wed Apr 30 22:39:31 EDT 2008

.Biofuel and Land-Grabbing in Africa

Biofuel and Land-Grabbing in Africa

 From the African Biodiversity Network comes a tale of plunder, 
opportunism, and greed, a story of how biofuels are providing a 
pretext for privatisation. Full story below the fold.

Press Release Summary

This is the story of how a Norwegian biofuel company took advantage 
of Africa's traditional system of communal land ownership and current 
climate and economic pressure to claim and deforest large tracts of 
land in Kusawgu, Northern Ghana, with the intention of creating "the 
largest jatropha plantation in the world".

Bypassing official development authorization and using methods that 
hark back to the darkest days of colonialism, this investor claimed 
legal ownership of these lands by deceiving an illiterate chief to 
sign away 38 000 hectares with his thumb print.

This is also the story of how the affected community came to realize 
that, while the promised jobs and incomes were unlikely to 
materialize, the plantation would mean extensive deforestation and 
the loss of incomes from gathering forest products, such as sheanuts. 
When given all the information the community successfully fought to 
send the investors packing, but not before 2 600 hectares of land had 
been deforested. Many have now lost their incomes from the forest and 
face a bleak future.

Those of us involved in this struggle want to tell the story as a 
warning to other African communities, leaders and policy-makers to be 
wary of the promises made by biofuel investors and the disasters that 
their land grabbing may bring. Biofuel land grabbing in Northern Ghana

By Bakari Nyari, Vice Chairman of Regional Advisory and Information 
Network Systems (RAINS), Ghana and African Biodiversity Network 
Steering Committee member

Full report here.

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