To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

May 09, 2010

European investors delay Africa biofuels projects

by Shapi Shacinda

European investors have delayed projects for producing biofuels in African nations due to uncertainty over land tenure and lower oil prices, a senior official of a regional political bloc said recently.

Geoff Stiles, technical advisor on biofuels for the 15-member state Southern African Development Community (SADC), said the investors, who he declined to name, who had partnered with oil firms to produce biodiesel from jatropha, had suspended two projects in Zambia and Tanzania.

Jatropha is a non-food crop whose seeds yield oil.

"We are not saying they are not going to do it, but...they are only going to do it as soon as the policy environment, financial incentives that are available and the world financial situation becomes clearer," Stiles said in an interview at a biofuels conference in Midrand, South Africa.

"And these (investors) often have paired with big oil companies like Shell and BP, to do large scale jatropha development," Stiles said.

He said only South Africa and Mozambique had developed national strategies, which target large-scale production of biofuels and include plans to raise the economies of rural communities.

Brazil has said careful planning can ensure biofuels bring jobs, revenue and home-grown energy to African countries without gambling with food security.

But governments, including South Africa's, the continent's largest economy, fear that without proper strategies this could cause food insecurity.

Stiles said African countries needed to raise maize production so that the surplus could be used in producing bio-diesel and that African nations were not far from producing biofuels.

"I would say in the next year we will begin to see bio-diesel production primarily from small to medium scale jatropha (growing) ... and may be from sunflower and from palm oil, there is a lot of interest from that," Stiles said.

Stiles said the SADC would provide policy guides to its members to help them start bio-ethanol projects, mainly using sugarcane, although smaller projects have been going on for the last 25 years in Malawi and Zimbabwe.


Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP