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Biofuels, Land Grabbing and Food Security in Africa

Edited By: Prosper B Matondi, Kjell J Havnevik and Atakilte Beyene

Zed Books

Paperback | Jun 2011 | #191979 | ISBN-13: 9781848138780
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £21.99 $29/€24 approx

About this book

Energy crisis and climate change have generated global demands for alternative non-fossil fuel sources. This has led to a rapid increase of investments in production of liquid biofuels based on agricultural feed stocks such as sugar cane. Most African governments see biofuels as a potential for increasing agricultural productivity and export incomes and thus strengthening their national economies, improving energy balances and rural employment. At the same time climate change may be addressed through reduction of green house gas emissions. There are, however, a number of uncertainties mounting that challenge this scenario.

Using in-depth African case studies this book addresses this knowledge gap by examining the impacts of large-scale biofuel production on African agriculture in regard to vital land outsourcing and food security issues. The surge for African biofuels has also opened space for private investors both domestic and external to multiply and network 'independently' of the state. The biofuel expansion thus generates new economic alliances and production relations, resulting in new forms of inclusions and exclusions within the rural population. An essential book for anyone wishing to understand the startling impact of biofuels and land outsourcing on Africa.

'This is a most welcome and timely addition to the growing literature on biofuels. It comprises an interesting mix of country (Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana) and broad studies, which raises serious concerns about the future of African smallholder farmers, usefully critiques the famous Brazilian biofuels 'success story', and makes a strong and surely unanswerable case for increased African intellectual engagement in this disturbing and highly dangerous field.' - Robin Palmer, Mokoro Ltd, Oxford, formerly Global Land Adviser, Oxfam GB 'A timely set of probes into one of Africa's burning issues. It assembles concrete findings of why and how the continent's land resources are being packaged in new forms and served up to outside corporations and sovereign funds to be used to meet the latest scarcities of fuel and food of developed and emerging countries - and how these processes are at the expense of food security in Africa and of the rights and livelihoods of its farmers' - Lionel Cliffe, Emeritus Professor, University of Leeds. 'Biofuels, Land Grabbing and Food Security in Africa' represents the most substantial collection of research to date on the implications of global investment for the local poor.' - Professor James Smith, University of Edinburgh


1. Introduction: biofuels, food security and land grabbing in Africa - Prosper B. Matondi, Kjell Havnevik and Atakilte Beyene 2. Grabbing of African lands for energy and food - implications for land rights, food security and smallholders - Kjell Havnevik 3. Biofuels governance - a matter of discursive and actor intermesh- Marie Widengard 4. Peak oil and climate change: Triggers of the drive for biofuel production - Rune Skarstein 5. Attracting Foreign Direct Investment in Africa in the context of land grabbing for biofuels and food security - Prosper B. Matondi and Patience Mutopo 6. Smallholder led transformation towards bio-fuel production in Ethiopia - Atakilte Beyene 7. Biofuel, land and environmental issues - the case of SEKAB's biofuel plans in Tanzania - Kjell Havnevik and Hanne Haaland 8. Agro-investments in Zimbabwe at a Time of Redistributive Land Reforms - Prosper B. Matondi 9. Competition between biofuel and food? Re-thinking biofuel narratives, evidence from a jatropha biodiesel project in Northern Ghana - Festus Boamah 10. Land grabbing, smallholder farmers and the meaning of agro-investor driven agrarian change in Africa - Prosper B. Matondi, Kjell Havnevik and Atakilte Beyene

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Prosper B. Matondi (PhD) Prosper is the Executive Director of Ruzivo Trust, a not for profit organization based in Harare, Zimbabwe. He holds a PhD in Rural Development from the Swedish University of Agricultural University based in Uppsala, Sweden. He has more than 15 years experience researching on land, natural resources management, environmental policy and planning in Zimbabwe, within the southern African region and internationally. He has widely published and has made a contribution to many international, regional and international networks on land and agrarian reform issues. He sits on various research boards and is currently supervising PhD students working on land issues in Zimbabwe and beyond. Kjell Havnevik (PhD) Kjell is senior researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute and head of the institute's research cluster on Rural and Agrarian Dynamics, Property and Resources in Sub-Saharan Africa. He holds a PhD from the University of Bradford (development studies 1988) and has been working with universities and research institutes in Norway, Sweden and Tanzania. From 1996, he was professor of Rural Development at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden. He has published a number of book and articles on African development issues with special focus on rural development, natural resource management, the strategies of international financial institutions in Africa, and development assistance. He has a wide experience as a teacher and lecturer on African and development issues. Atakilte Beyene (PhD) Atakilte is a researcher in rural development. He is based at the Stockholm Environment Institute, Stockholm, Sweden. His research focuses on institutions, and the relationships between smallholder agricultural systems, property rights and national agricultural policies. He has facilitated and conducted extensive empirical field studies on livelihood systems, food insecurity and risk management strategies, natural resources management, and recent developments in commercial farming, including bio-fuels. He is also a lecturer at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden where he also doubles up as coordinator of an international MSc program in Integrated Water Resources Management.

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