Assessing the socio-economic implications of industrial biofuel plantations: Repercussions of Jatropha curcas on rural land use alienation and conflict escalation in Ghana and Ethiopia.

Dr. Joleen Timko + Partners (RECA and HoAREC/N)

Ethiopia and Ghana host industrial plantations of Jatropha curcas, a globally important feedstock used in biofuel production. Yet, the impacts of Jatropha curcas plantations on the lives and livelihoods of local people have generally not been considered. Plantations for the production of biofuels continue to be established, causing both conflict and land use changes. But there are opportunities for cooperation over these resources as biofuels and other alternative fuel sources have enormous potential to meet both development and conservation needs. Jatropha curcas can offer a sustainable solution to local energy needs if the opportunities and constraints facing their production are addressed in a fair and equitable manner, and in consideration of local livelihoods. The purpose of this project is therefore to assess the socio-economic implications of industrial plantations of Jatropha curcas in order to understand and better address emerging conflicts over land in Ghana and Ethiopia.

Funded by the CoCooN (Conflict and Cooperation over Natural Resources in Developing Countries) program of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) (www.nwo.nl/cocoon).