South Africa's Biofuels Strategy: greenwashing agribusiness interests

The impetus for the establishment of a biofuels industry in South Africa also came from industry lobbyists under the banner of the Southern African Biofuels Association (SABA). Consequently, the South African government published a feasibility report and a draft Biofuels Industrial Strategy in 2006, which proposed the establishment of a mandatory bioethanol target of8% and biodiesel blend of 2%, to be derived mainly from maize, although sugarcane also featured prominently. The draft Strategy was formulated without any public consultation and elicited swift condemnation for this shortcoming from civil society. At the only public meeting held in the Eastern Cape, rural communities there were informed that a project was already underway to clear large tracts of communal land to make way for an oilseed rape mono-crop that would be processed into agrofuels for export tothe European Union (EU).4 In a public statement, communities and NGOs castigated the Strategy asbeing preoccupied with economic instruments designed to facilitate large corporate involvement with trickle down economic benefits to the poor. They also viewed the Strategy as heralding an intervention that would have disastrous socio-economic and environmental consequences arising from expansion of industrial agriculture into new areas. [button icon="" size="medium" backgroundcolor="#99cc00" color="#ffffff" target="_blank" link="…"]read more[/button]