2010 press releases
Cancun package merely prevents collapse and leaves kyoto protocol on life support
governments urged not to rush into redd deal and focus on effective forest conservation
World Bank should stay out of carbon markets and climate finance
cancun week 2: friends of the earth international analysis
nnimmo bassey to receive 'alternative nobel prize'
the people’s voices: mobilizations in cancun
rich countries must reject any secret text that puts in place process that could kill kyoto
Japan threatens progress at climate talks in Cancun
Forest deals set to harm the environment and reward corporate investors
Governments urged to turn away from carbon trading at climate talks
EUROPE'S BIOFUELS PLANS DRIVING SOCIAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION
GLOBAL DAY OF REMEMBRANCE: 15TH ANNIVERSARY OF KEN SARO-WIWA'S MURDER
UN ADVISORY GROUP ON CLIMATE FINANCE REPORT FALLS FLAT
high level advisory group on climate change must avoid pitfalls
Market mechanisms are a false solution to biodiversity loss
CLIMATE CHANGE: RICH NATIONS BACKTRACKING
Climate Talks : Developed Countries Must Stop Stalling
'Alternative Nobel Prize' Awarded to FoEI Chair Nnimmo Bassey
HEADS OF STATE MUST TAKE FIRM STEPS TO HALT BIODIVERSITY LOSS
TREE PLANTATIONS CAUSE GRAVE PROBLEMS
WORLD BANK LAND GRAB REPORT COMMENT: BIOFUELS CAUSE LAND GRABS
Biofuels for Europe driving land grabbing in Africa
OUTRAGE AT SHELL-FUNDED UN REPORT ON NIGERIA OIL SPILLS
un climate talks: developed nations strangle hope of progress
eu-brazil biofuels deal: "land-grabbing charter"
g20 summit: leaders should aim for 'robin hood tax'
US actions in Bonn threaten strong and just climate agreement
Launch of 'responsible soy' label faces global opposition
Developed countries attempt to launder aid money through World Bank and call it 'climate funds'
Fairness must guide Bonn climate talks: UN must not cede to weak US proposals
biodiversity lost at unprecedented rate
european union complicit in human right violations in latin america
European Transnationals Accused of Rights Violations in Latin America
2010 photo competition winners announced
world bank accused of promoting land grabbing
Bolivian Government Increases its Moral Authority on Climate Change
friends of the earth swaziland director wins prestigious goldman prize
BOLIVIAN CLIMATE CONFERENCE SIGNALS HOPE
FAO Accused of Favouring Polluting Industrial Agriculture
GM crops failing to tackle climate change
'Solidarity and Movements' Photo Competition Starts Today
2010 BIODIVERSITY YEAR: URGENT ACTION NEEDED
 
You are here: Home / Media / Archive / 2010 / Biofuels for Europe driving land grabbing in Africa

Biofuels for Europe driving land grabbing in Africa

BRUSSELS, (BELGIUM) / BENIN CITY (NIGERIA), August 30, 2010 – The amount of land being taken in Africa to meet Northern countries’ increasing demand for biofuels is underestimated and out of control, new investigations by Friends of the Earth reveal today. [1]

The research, which looked at 11 African countries, found at least five million hectares of land – an area the size of Denmark – is being acquired by foreign companies to produce biofuels mainly for Northern markets.

The practice – known as land grabbing – is increasing and is dominated by European and Chinese companies. However with official public information largely absent, current figures are likely to be only a snapshot and gross underestimates.

The report, ‘Africa: Up For Grabs’ reveals how local communities are having their land taken and there are few safeguards for local community land rights. Forests and natural vegetation are being cleared, and biofuels are competing with food crops for farmland. 

 


Mariann Bassey, food and agriculture coordinator for Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria said:

“The expansion of biofuels on our continent is transforming forests and natural vegetation into fuel crops, taking away food-growing farmland from communities, and creating conflicts with local people over land ownership. We want real investment in agriculture that allows us to produce food and not fuel for foreign cars."

A leaked World Bank report on wider land grabbing [2] corroborates this pattern, stating that ‘consultations with local communities were often weak... Conflicts were common, usually over land rights’. The World Bank has so far refused to release these controversial findings publicly.

In Tanzania, Madagascar and Ghana there have been protests following land-grabs by foreign companies.
Even more land will be required for biofuels if the European Union is to meet its political targets to increase transport fuels from renewable sources, according to the research.

Adrian Bebb, food and agriculture campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe, said:

“Our research shows that Europe’s demand for biofuels is a major driver of land grabbing in Africa. Local communities are facing increasing hunger and food insecurity just so rich countries can fuel their cars. The EU must urgently scrap its biofuel policy. We must invest instead in environmentally friendly agriculture and decrease the energy we use for transport.”

This is just one example of rich countries’ over use of the world’s resources. Friends of the Earth is calling on the EU to start measuring and curbing its use of land, water, materials, and climate emissions around the world. [3]

A map showing the scale of the problems and a list of companies involved in growing biofuels in Africa can be found here: http://www.foeeurope.org/agrofuels/FoEE_Africa_up_for_grabs_2010-Map-Tables.pdf


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For more information please contact:

Adrian Bebb, food and agriculture campaign coordinator for Friends of the Earth Europe, Tel: +49 1609 490 1163, adrian.bebb@foeeurope.org

Mariann Bassey, Food and Agrofuels Program Manager Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, Tel: +234 7034 495940, annybassi@yahoo.com

Francesca Gater, communications officer for Friends of the Earth Europe, Tel: +32 289 1010, +32 485 930515, francesca.gater@foeeurope.org


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Notes for editors

[1] Friends of the Earth Europe (2010, August). ‘Africa: Up For Grabs’ http://www.foeeurope.org/agrofuels/FoEE_Africa_up_for_grabs_2010.pdf.
Also available in:

* French: http://www.foeeurope.org/agrofuels/FoEE_Africa_up_for_grabs_2010_FRENCH.pdf

* Spanish: http://www.foeeurope.org/agrofuels/FoEE_Africa_up_for_grabs_2010_SPANISH.pdf

* German: http://www.foeeurope.org/agrofuels/FoEE_Africa_up_for_grabs_2010_GERMAN.pdf


[2] Financial Times (27 July 2010) http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/62890172-99a8-11df-a852-00144feab49a.html


[3] http://www.foeeurope.org/activities/waste_management/index_resources.html

 

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