BRUSSELS (BELGIUM) 8 September 2010 — Commenting on a new World Bank report published today in which the Bank backs the practice of nations selling vast agricultural lands to foreign investors [1], Mariann Bassey, African food and agriculture coordinator for Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria said: “Rural communities and the environment in poor countries are being ignored in the rush for our land and resources.”

“This is a problem that has been created by rich nations and is being pursued with relentless speed by overseas companies across the global south. The world has got to say stop to land grabbing!”

Mariann Bassey added: “A clear cause of land grabs is the demand for biofuels. This demand is transforming our natural resources into fuel crops, taking away food-growing farmland, and creating conflicts with local people over land ownership. We are suffering just so that Europe and developed nations can fuel their cars and lorries.”

Last week Friends of the Earth released new research showing that the scale of land grabbing in Africa for biofuel production was underestimated and out of control. [2]

The research found evidence that 5 million hectares of land, an area the size of Denmark, across 11 African countries, is currently being acquired for biofuels.

Even more land will be required for biofuels if the European Union is to reach its target of 10% of transport fuels from renewable sources by 2020.



Mariann Bassey, Food and Agrofuels Program Manager Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria and Food and Agrofuels Coordinator Friends of the Earth Africa, Tel: +234 7034 495940,

Robbie Blake, agrofuels campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe, Tel: +32 2 893 1017,

Sam Fleet, communications officer for Friends of the Earth Europe, Tel: +32 2893 1012,



[1] The World Bank report “Rising Global Interest in Farmland” can be found on

[2] The report Friends of the Earth Europe (2010, August). Africa: Up For Grabs

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