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

October 24, 2011

British biofuel company pulls out of Kenya

Conservationists have congratulated a British firm which has become the first to pull out of the race to exploit a wildlife haven in Kenya.

European renewable fuel targets mean the Tana River Delta in Kenya – a  key site for threatened bird species as well as Hippopotamus and rare primates – is being targeted by companies hoping to grow biofuel crops.

The RSPB and others have been fighting the proposals which will destroy one of the most important wetland wildlife sites in Africa. Now G4 Industries Limited, based near Cambridge, UK, have withdrawn their proposal for a 28,000 ha project at Tana, citing growing evidence of environmental issues.

Tim Stowe, RSPB Director of International Operations, said: “We congratulate G4 Industries on their wise decision. They have listened to all the evidence about the impact of plantations in the Tana Delta and have done the right thing. We hope other companies with similar proposals in the area will now start to follow suit and withdraw their plans. This is fantastic news for wildlife and people in the Tana River
Delta. It is a truly remarkable place and it must be protected from the rush for biofuels which will cause more damage to our planet than the fossil fuels they replace.’’

Mike Pond, Executive Director of G4 Industries, said: “We have become  increasingly concerned about the environmental implications of  operations in the Tana Delta and we have now decided to withdraw from the region.’’

‘‘Sustainable farming is key to the world’s development but it is essential that these operations are carried out in harmony with the environment and working hand in hand with local governments and environmental organisations. This means avoiding areas of wildlife habitat and green field sites where a natural balance cannot be maintained.’’

‘‘It is interesting to note that 90 per cent of African farming operations, particularly subsistence farming, are delivering less than 30 per cent of the yield that could be achieved. Much work is required to address this issue

Bedford Biofuels Inc, a Canadian company, recently started work on their own 10,000 ha project to grow the controversial biofuel crop Jatropha in the Delta. Although described as a ‘pilot’, the plan is Phase 1 of a project aims ultimately to see jatropha plantations on over 60,000 ha in the Delta and surrounding area. The plant has been
hailed as a miracle biofuel crop, but in fact, fully rigorous scientific evaluation is yet to be done.

Paul Matiku, Executive Director of Nature Kenya, said: “We call on Bedford Biofuels to follow the example of G4 and withdraw their project. Their assertion that the land in the delta is currently large and unutilised is simply not true: the land is used by pastoralist communities and in the dry season there can be as many as 1.5 million
animals there.’’

‘‘Indeed, in times of drought like this year there could be as many as 3 million animals there. We hope that Bedford reconsiders its plans for Tana and we will continue to raise the issue with the Kenyan authorities to ensure their proposals do not harm the area’s precious wildlife.”

Bird Watch

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