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European biofuels firms scramble for 'idle' lands in poor countries

Source:  Copyright 2009, EUobserver
Date:  May 13, 2009
Byline:  Leigh Phillips
Original URL: Status ONLINE


Massive tracts of land in Africa, Russia and Ukraine are being bought up or leased by richer countries to ensure access to food and for production of biofuels - a development that could result in unrest as locals begin to lose access over their territory.

An area roughly the same size as the amount of farmland in Germany is in play and at a cost of tens of billions of euros.

This phenomenon, a product of the twin food and fuel crises of last year, is threatening local communities whose traditional use of such lands is being undermined by the food and energy security needs of others.

This all comes from a warning issued on Monday (11 May) by the US-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), an agricultural research centre funded by an alliance of 64 governments around the world.

A year after the global food crisis that saw food riots and protests spread throughout the developing world - and even to some rich ...

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