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June 05, 2011

Namibia bans large-scale jatropha plantations

by Chamwe Kaira

Namibia has banned large scale jatropha-based biofuel projects in its north east until a study on its impact is undertaken, according to the country’s communications ministry.

The southern African nation’s Cabinet recommended a halt to jatropha in the Kavango and Caprivi regions “due to its negative impact on food security, land tenure, and loss of access to communal land; climate change implications; yield rates; and low financial viability,” the ministry said today in an e-mailed statement.

The Namibian government’s study will “determine the suitability of jatropha plant and other fuel plants” in the regions, the ministry said. Plantations of up to 400,000 hectares have been proposed by some investors, the statement said, exceeding the government’s plan of having 63,000 hectares under cultivation by 2013.

Seed harvested from jatropha trees yields oil that can be used in the manufacture of biodiesel.

Bloomberg

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