Nelly Bassily | May 4, 2009
Over the past couple years, the notion that jatropha is a “miracle crop” has played a large role in the debate over biofuels. The idea that jatropha can grow well in nearly any soil conditions supported the argument that jatropha could be grown on a large scale for biodiesel without displacing food crops. It is for this reason that we felt it important to share this article with you. Africa: “South Africa’s president says biofuel crops must not crowd out food” (FRW#42, November 2008)
–Burkina Faso: “Burkinabe farmers say food comes before fuel” (FRW#34, August 2008)
–Kenya: “Herders oppose controversial sugarcane project” (FRW#29, July 2008)
–Mali: “Campaign for biodiesel intensifies but farmers remain cautious” (FRW#7, January 2008)
-Africa: “The promise and potential perils of biofuels” (FRW#3, December 2007)
If you would like to research a local story on biofuel production, you may wish to ask some of the following questions:
-Do farmers in your area currently produce biofuels for use on their farms or in the community? If so, who processes the fuel?
-Who benefits from the production and availability of local biofuels?
-If an external company plans to open a biofuel processing plant in your area, how do farmers plan to maintain their food security while also producing crops for the plant?
-If there is already a biofuel processing plant in your area, are small-scale farmers contributing to production? How do they rate their experiences in working with the processing plant (e.g. support for proper harvesting and storage, prices for crops, etc)?
The following articles from past issues of FRW look at how farmers in other parts of the continent are responding to the demand for biofuels:
The following Farm Radio International scripts discuss local uses for jatropha:
–Jatropha – Not just a biofuel crop! (Package 80, Script 7, March 2007)
-Women are actively involved in planting jatropha in Malian village (Package 87, Script 4, April 2009): Featured below as this week’s Script of the Week.