april: iadb, stop pushing agrofuels as solution to climate change!
In particular, campaigners urged the IADB to stop lending money to the big companies behind the lucrative ethanol business that some say is partly to blame for soaring food prices. As riots over the cost of living broke out in impoverished Haiti, the IADB announced increased funding of ports, sugarcane mills and other biofuel ventures throughout Latin America, citing plant-based fuels as a crucial counterweight to climate change and rising energy prices.
Coinciding with the IADB meeting, FoE US, FoE Brazil and FoE Haiti released a report entitled “Harvesting Harm: Agrofuels as a False Solution to Climate Change and Poverty” which analyzed the IADB's agrofuels strategy.
"The bank's aggressive promotion of biofuels may be good for corporations, but it's a bad deal for farmers, indigenous people and the environment in Latin America," said Kate Horner of Friends of the Earth United States.
According to Lucia Schild Ortiz of Friends of the Earth Brazil, investors -- many of them foreign -- have been buying tracts of land in Brazil for agrofuels, pushing up prices and driving away the small-scale family-based farms that supply up to 60 percent of the country's food.
In Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, organizations like the IADB are eager to promote projects that cultivate jatropha, a plant capable of surviving in the country's denuded wastelands and also of producing an oil in its nuts that can be used as fuel. "Why don't they use it to produce more food?" said Aldrin Calixte of Friends of the Earth Haiti.