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Kenya sued over biofuel project

Discussion in 'Kenyan News and Politics' started by BAK, Jul 23, 2008.

  1. BAK

    BAK JF-Expert Member

    Jul 23, 2008
    Joined: Feb 11, 2007
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    Kenya sued over biofuel project
    BBC News Online

    The project backers say it will provide thousands of jobs
    Environmental and community groups have taken Kenya's government to court over a controversial project to grow sugar in the River Tana Delta.

    The $369m project aims to grow sugarcane to produce ethanol and generate power.

    The project was approved last month, despite concern of possible negative impact on the fragile coastal wetlands.

    But last week, a judge ordered work on the project to be halted while the case was being heard.

    The lawsuit claims that at least five laws and the Kenyan constitution would be broken if the project goes ahead.

    The court action is backed by Kenyan Nobel Laureate and environmentalist Wangari Maathai, who warned that the country would regret failing to protect its environment.

    "We cannot just start messing around with the wetland because we need biofuel and sugar," Ms Maathai told the AFP news agency.


    The area, about 190 km (120 miles) north of the port city of Mombasa, is home to 350 species of birds, including the globally threatened Basra reed warbler and Tana River cisticola, according to the UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

    It also hosts lions, hippos, elephants, rare sharks and reptiles including the Tana writhing skink, as well as endangered primate species.

    Nature Kenya says the project would have serious effects on the 20,000 hectare site.

    "We want the project stopped because it's likely to make the region an ecological disaster," Enoch Kanyanya, the organisation's conservation manager told the BBC.

    Sugarcane needs considerable irrigation and its cultivation would cause substantial drainage of the wetland, conservationists say.

    Although the project's backers say the project will boost the area's economic growth and provide thousands of jobs, environmental groups say it is not economically viable and its growth potential has been massively overestimated.

    A report commissioned by Nature Kenya and the RSPB showed the project's costing had ignored the costs of water, land and the loss of community livelihoods.

    The Tana River Delta is a popular tourist attraction and environmentalists argue that the project would also lead to the loss of earnings from tourism, and want the wetlands to be declared a protected area.

    The global race to produce biofuels has been blamed for rising food prices and shortages by diverting resources from the cultivation of food crops.

    UK aid agency Oxfam says the push for biofuels has dragged more than 30m people worldwide into poverty.
  2. K

    Kleptomaniacs Member

    Jul 23, 2008
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    Mbona haya yanafanyika nyumbani Tanzania na hakuna tunalolisikia? Rufiji, Kisarawe labda tuseme Pwani nzima imeshagawanywa na hao wanaotaka kulima miwa, jatropha nk katika maeneo ya vijiji? Kila anayeenda kijijini kuomba ardhi anasema ametoka ikulu Jk karidhia! na wanakijiji wanatoa maeneo makubwa tu! wapo wapi watetezi, wapo wapi wenye moyo kama wanaharakati wa Kenya na majuzi tu Shamba la Kapunga liliponea chupuchupu kugeuzwa kuwa shamba la Jatropha! from Mpunga to jatropha ama kweli sie ni wadanganyika! Wala tusijidanganye kwamba tutapona katika hili, hii ni sehemu ya ripoti ya utafiti iliyofanywa hivi karibuni kuangalia hali ikoje Tanzania:

    Investors have identified several regions/land areas for biofuel development. Sunbiofuel Tanzania Limited, for an example, has just secured land for jatropha farming in Kisarawe District, Coast Region. The determining factor being rainfall, soil nutrients and infrastructure. Two Tanzanians hold shares worth 1% while the remainder is held by British entities and persons. Sunbiofuel applied for 20,000 hectares of land but has received only 9,000 hectares. This land [is home] to 11 villages including: Muhaga, Matamba, Marumbo, Paraka, Kidugalo, Kului, Mtakayo, Vilabwa, Mitengwe, Mzenga A and Chakaye (Edwin, Wilfred, The East African, August 7th 2007).

    According to Sunbiofuel this land is not habited. But there is admission that it supports livelihoods of about 250,000 households on account of which, affected villagers became entitled to compensation. But in a questionable development, the compensation awarded was based on planted trees and not on the commercial/market value of the land being dispossessed. According to Sunbiofuel the analysis of the costs and payment was conducted by UCLAS. As a result, the maximum amount paid is Tanzanian shilling 250,000 (roughly US $ 250) for giving up livelihood supporting land. It is not stated as to whether Sunbiofuel is planning to employ the farmers or assist them in their livelihoods in any way whatsoever. According to initial media reports, a total of 2,840 households were entitled to compensation. However, our enquiries at the Sunbiofuel offices revealed that only 250 households were actually compensated. Details of names and quantum of the respective awards are available from the Sunbiofuel office in Dar es Salaam.