Foreign Investors in Biofuels

Biofuels are becoming more and more common in least developed countries. One article talks about plans for biofuels and how they are produced in developing countries. Next article addresses Ghana and their struggle between producing food or fuel.

First article mentions the impacts on developing countries with the pressure on producing biofuels. Foreign investors are buying land and using it for biofuel production, however the land is  located in urban populations and needed for food crops. This article addresses other opportunities for developing countries to produce food crops and still have land for foreign countries to use for biofuels. First plan is to change the way local farmers farm, to stop using the ‘slash-and-burn’ technique and to use “practices that confer multiple environmental and social benefits.” Another plan is the use of biochar which  is a carbon rich product made from the pyrolysis of biomass. This substance will fertilize poor tropical soils, from the overuse of land, and can sustain agricultural production for longer periods of time then the ‘slash-and-burn’ technique. Biochar is a source that developing countries can use on their land and still be able to produce food crops and biofuels for foreign countries. These plans mentioned in this article are the ideal solutions for the fight between food crops and biofuels.

Next article argues the food versus fuel debate in Ghana. Ghana a small country in West Africa is now placed between a rock in a hard place, fuel or food? The foreign investors are competing for land in Ghana for energy crops, yet the populations in which the energy crops are grown do not have available land for food crops. This ongoing land grabbing has occurred mostly in largely populated communities effecting the traditional production of food crops. This article also points out changing food crops into cellulosic ethanol crops, and the use of the “miracle crop” jatropha as biomass which is then converted into fuel. These changes would benefit the country’s land, food crisis, and increase fuel for investors.

Both articles relate to the issue of foreign investors buying land in developing countries for the production of biofuels. They also list the positive and negative aspects and possible solutions to this controversal topic.


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