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DER SPIEGEL 36/2008 - Storming of the plaice  May 26, 2023 – 11:19 am
How forest privatisation could attract biofuel energy companies

Storm on the soil

Of Knaup, Horand

Western companies want to operate large farms for power plants to extract oil. The local farmers and governments are lured by dubious promises.

Everything is good, everything will be better. New roads, there will be a new school, a pharmacy, a proper water supply. And jobs expected to be created, at least 5, 000. "If there are jobs for us, it's a good thing." Njagu Juma, 26, hopes that he can make his already meager existence as a planter and Köhler behind soon.

Njagu lives in Mtamba, maybe 1100 inhabitants in size, a small village in Tanzania nowhere, Kisarawe in the district, about 70 kilometers southwest of the city of Dar es Salaam. The patch is only accessible to dust slopes, people live a bit of farming, from producing charcoal, a bit of fishing - there is not much more in Mtamba.

That could change if the British company Sun Biofuels begins with letting grow on the farmland of Kisarawe the oleaginous energy plant "Jatropha curcas", in order to extract oil.

9000 acres of sparsely populated farmland, good 12 000 football pitches, the Tanzanian government has left the British, for free, for 99 years. In return, the company will invest approximately $ 20 million to build roads and schools and provide a little prosperity.

Sun Biofuels is not alone. Half a dozen companies has sent his scouts in Tanzania. They come from the Netherlands, the USA, Sweden, Japan, Canada, but also the German company Prokon, known primarily for his wind turbines, has begun to grow Jatropha curcas leave a large area. 200 000 hectares across the country are to be planted shortly - an area almost as large as the Saarland.

Gold fever has captured not only East Africa, but the continent: In Ghana, the Norwegian company BioFuel Africa cultivation rights secured for 38 000 hectares, Sun Biofuels is except in Tanzania in Ethiopia and Mozambique in business. In northern Namibia, the British company Kavango BioEnergy plans to invest millions euros. In Malawi and Zambia speak to Western companies to gain from the jatropha curcas, palm oil or sugarcane diesel and ethanol. In Mozambique, the overseas investors have eleven million hectares of plantations in their eye, which is more than one-seventh of the total area of ​​the country. In Ethiopia, the government has even put 24 million acres available.

The consequences of this are dramatic offensive. The global push to grow energy crops, as the experts now agree, has the global food price explosion contributed significantly. According to a World Bank study, 75 percent of the inflation back to this change of cultivars. Many farmers in the industrialized countries take the subsidies for corn or canola with like, the cultivation of wheat, potatoes or legumes, however, remains on track.

Source: www.spiegel.de

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