Ghana Debates Viability of Biofuels
(Voice of America News) Africa is central to the worldwide growth in biofuels, with Dutch, American, Swedish, Japanese, German, and British firms all competing for farmland to grow the next generation of energy producing crops. Some farmers in Ghana are concerned about what biofuels mean for food security.
Ghana has made itself a focal point of biofuel growth in Africa. As host of this year’s World Jatropha Summit, the government in Accra is seeking greater investment in the hardy plant whose seeds can be crushed into an oil that is processed into high-quality biodiesel.
… “How would we justify an essentially agrarian country importing most of the food that it eats and then using our lands to produce something else that we don’t eat? Which country is doing that in the world and why should Ghana do that? We have the capacity to produce the food that we eat,” said (Kingsley Ofei) Nkansah, (general secretary of Ghana’s Agricultural Workers’ Union). “Why should we be encouraged to lease large tracts of land for bio fuel production that we are not eating to make money and use that money to import food?”
Ghana’s Agriculture Ministry says private sector farmers are free to do what they like with their land. The ministry’s chief director, Joseph Boamah, says government officials have seen no evidence that biofuel growth is threatening food production.
… Ghana’s Energy Commission has been working on a biofuels policy since 2005. The government says it will now work with a new umbrella organization called the Civil Society Coalition on Land to push ahead on land rights issues including biofuels, environmental management, and sanitation. READ MORE