Namibia may limit biofuel crop planting: paper
Mon May 9, 2011 9:40am GMT
WINDHOEK (Reuters) - Namibia may ban large-scale growing of biofuel crops in the fertile Kavango and Caprivi regions after a recommendation by Environment and Tourism Minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, the Namibian Sun reported on Monday.
The ban is likely to be adopted by the cabinet after the government last year voiced reservations about proposed biofuel plantations in the African country, which has little arable land.
The plantations would have to compete with elaborate planned 'green schemes' that the government hopes will boost security of food supplies.
Foreign investors have been eyeing several hundred thousand hectares in the fertile regions for the growing of jatropha, a biofuel crop.
Based on a study into the environmental impact, Nandi-Ndaitwah recommended that "no larger-scale jatropha-based biofuel industry be allowed in the Kavango and Caprivi due to its negative impact on food security and land tenure".
Large-scale production are projects exceeding 500 hectares.
Proposed projects included a 300,000 hectare biofuel plantation in the Caprivi by Israeli backed LL biofuels and a plan by Namibia Bio-Energy Investments (NBI) to plant a million trees in the Kavango.
The projects have largely failed to materialize but have triggered questions around land use in the agricultural heartland of the arid country.