How Biofuel Production Makes the Poor Suffer

'Land grabs' correlated with corruption and mismanagement of funds hurt the poor

By Oana Grigoras on December 14th, 2011 12:56 GMT

A new study issued by the International Land Coalition reveals that biofuel production has required a series of “land grabs” in developing countries, affecting the already vulnerable inhabitants.

The reports highlights that, so far, 40 million hectares have been used to come up with a reliable source of biofuel, Mongabay informs.

The report, entitled “Land Rights and the Rush for Land: Findings of the Global Commercial Pressures on Land Research Project” reveals that food production has ranked second in terms of importance, representing a main objective for only one fifth of the land deals signed from 2000 and 2010.

During almost a decade, biofuel production has been the main goal, since 60% of the deals were aiming to boost this sector. Also, the same source reveals that during this period of time, 200 million hectares of land were used to provide biofuel.

Under these circumstances, "they are more likely to cause problems for the poorest members of society, who often lose access to land and resources that are essential to their livelihoods," reveal the authors of the report.

This situation is quite alarming, since poor inhabitants depend on their lands to put food on the table on a daily basis.

Moreover, it seems that the people in developing countries often can't prove they have rights to exploit their land. In other cases, the financial benefits obtained through advantageous acquisitions end up in the pockets of “local elites.”

The impact of the biofuel industry is correlated with a mismanagement of funds and local corruption. All these factors worsen the lives of many poor people, that have access to only scraps of the considerable financial benefits provided by large-scale land deals.

The study also highlights that the interests of big investors are often protected by legal frameworks, but the small land users can't afford the same luxury.

Moreover, it appears that governments worldwide seem to go in favor of industrial farming, instead of providing extra support for small-scale attempts.

The main exit strategy drawn up by the authors of the report is an increased transparency in the decision-making process when it comes to surfaces of land that play an important role in safeguarding the poor. 
'Land grabs' demanded by biofuel industry correlated with corruption make the poor people suffer
   'Land grabs' demanded by biofuel industry correlated with corruption make the poor people suffer
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