EU biofuels boom fuelling land grabs in Africa

(Brussels): EU energy policies could cause evictions and push some of the world’s poorest people further into poverty, according to a new report released today by international anti-poverty agency ActionAid.

The report, 'Fuelling Evictions - Community Cost of EU Biofuels Boom', focuses on a community of over 20,000 people from the Dakatcha Woodlands in Kenya’s coast region, who face eviction from their homes and land to make way for a plantation by an Italian biofuel company.

David Barissa, ActionAid Kenya’s biofuels expert:

“The case of the Dakatcha Woodlands is one of many across Africa, with increased demand for biofuels because of the EU targets attracting companies keen to cash in”.

“But the communities are not being consulted or compensated, meaning that these so-called green policies are having huge impacts for poor people around the world”.

EU leaders have got the policy wrong. Under no circumstances should communities be evicted to grow fuels to meet the EU’s energy needs. 


Editors' notes

What is happening in the Dakatcha Woodlands in Kenya?

In 2009, Kenya Jatropha Energy Ltd - owned by Italian company Nuove Iniziative Industriali Srl - proposed clearing 50,000 hectares in the Dakatcha area to develop the plantation. Following protests by the local community, the Kenyan government put the project on hold. But the company has resubmitted a proposal for pilot project of up to 10,000 hectares, which if successful, could increase to the full 50,000 hectares.

How is jatropha not a green solution to the EU’s energy needs?

Taking into account the emissions produced throughout the production and consumption process, a study for ActionAid and Birdlife Europe has found that biofuels made from jatropha from Dakatcha would emit between 2.5 and 6 times more greenhouse gases, depending on how the land was used before the jatropha was planted. The main reason is that the forest – which stores massive amounts of carbon in its vegetation and soil - will have to be cleared to make way for the plantation. 


ActionAid is an international anti-poverty agency which takes sides with poor people to end poverty and injustice together. Formed in 1972, for over 30 years we have been growing and expanding to where we are today - helping over 13 million of the world's poorest and most disadvantaged people in over 40 countries worldwide.