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Bio Fuel: Group Condemns Land Grab In Africa

Source: FIRAUNA GOWASH - thewillnigeria.com

JOS, Sept 01, (THEWILL) - The Environmental Rights Action, Friends of the Earth Nigeria ERA/ FoEN has condemned the taking of farmlands in Africa to meet Europe’s demand for bio fuels.

The Head of Media of the group, Mr. Philip Jakpor in a statement condemning the development said recent research conducted by ERA shows that the amount of lands being taken away in Africa to satisfy bio fuel driven countries is underestimated.

He said the research looked at 11 African countries and found at least five million hectares of land being acquired by foreign companies to produce bio fuels mainly for the European market.

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

The group says there is the possibility that even more land will be required for bio fuels if the European Union is to reach its target of 10% of transport fuels from renewable sources by 2020.

The statement also quotes the African Food and Agricultural Coordinator, Marianne Bassey as saying the expansion of bio fuels on Africa 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.

Bassey said what Africa needs is real investment in agriculture that allows for the production of food and not fuel for foreign cars.