Bioenergy Production Can Expand Across Africa Without Displacing Food

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Crops can be produced for bioenergy on a significant scale in west, eastern and southern Africa without doing damage to food production or natural habitats, according to a report produced by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA), Imperial College London, and CAMCO International. The study was released at the 5th African Agriculture Science Week in Burkina Faso.

“If approached with the proper policies and processes and with the inclusion of all the various stakeholders, bioenergy is not only compatible with food production; it can also greatly benefit agriculture in Africa,” said Dr. Rocio Diaz-Chavez, the report’s lead author and Research Fellow at Imperial College London. “Bioenergy production can bring investments in land, infrastructure, and human resources that could help unlock Africa’s latent potential and positively increase food production.”

The conclusions of the report, Mapping Food and Bioenergy in Africa, were drawn from a review of existing research and case studies of biofuel production and policy in six countries: Senegal, Mali, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, and Mozambique. Among the report’s findings is that there is enough land available to significantly increase the cultivation of crops, such as sugar cane, sorghum, and jatropha for biofuels without diminishing food production.

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