How a biofuels landgrab has destroyed the life of an African village

Monday, October 31, 2011 - 11:51

In 2006, Sun Biofuels arrived in Kisarawe District and took land the size of 11,000 football pitches to establish a jatropha plantation - a crop that is grown for biofuels (above). 13-year-old Mariam tells how her dreams for the future were destroyed when Sun biofuels broke their promises.

Mariam Shabani's story:

New wells, clinics, schools and roads were also pledged, but nothing has been built. Mariam's mother Halima Ali describes the promises that were made, and how little has been achieved.

Halima Ali's story:

 

People are no longer allowed onto the land, so they are unable to access the nearest water sources or even the graves of family members. 89-year old Seleman Pazi has lost access to the land where his parents, his grandfather and his great-grandfather are buried.

Seleman Pazi's story:

 

There was no negotiation on the amount of compensation with villagers, and only those who have really pushed for it have received any money at all. Village teacher Ramadhani Athumani shows us the letters the village have written, campaigning to get compensation for the land.

Ramadhani Athumani Lwinde's story:

 

Poor Tanzanians have been tricked into giving up their land to a biofuels company and are now even worse off than before. This case shows yet again how biofuel crops can ruin poor people’s livelihoods in the communities where they are grown as well as driving up food prices. A billion people already don’t have enough to eat. Biofuel use could add hundreds of millions more.

Moreover, biofuels don’t even provide environmental benefits, as many have higher greenhouse gas emissions than the fossil fuels they are designed to replace.

The great biofuels land-grab is only happening because of subsidies from European countries. You can do something about it.

If you're in the UK now - Sign our petition now to stop the biofuels land-grab.

Also watch the video from the Guardian UK to find out more about working conditions.

And join our HungerFREE campaign!