Biofuels could transform Sub-Saharan Africa

In 2010, 239 million people living in Sub-Saharan Africa were left hungry due to inadequate food supply. This number is likely to worsen over the next 40 years, if food production is not quadrupled.

With the amount of available land, Africa is custom made for the production of biofuels, an answer many believe to the growing food shortage epidemic.

Two scientists, Dr. Lynd and Dr. Woods, suggest that a growing bioenergy economy can be the key to driving this agricultural boom. “Land is relatively plentiful in Africa,” they write, “and land for crops and land for fuel will not necessarily be in direct competition.” On marginal lands that cannot support agriculture in any case, they see great potential for biofuel crops, which require less water and nutrients. Africa’s vast land resources could also make the continent a competitive exporter of biofuels, which could bring in money for the basic infrastructure needed to transport and process food, they argued. “It could also provide an economic incentive for rehabilitating degraded lands, the thinking goes.”

Africa has fertile land and an abundant workforce that is already in place to start the plantation of biofuel crops. There is a need for modern agricultural, business, and land management expertise that suit the dynamics for Africa.

The potential is large and promising, with a future with Africa to feed even larger numbers than at present and provide its people with a decent income.

Dr. Woods pointed out that people critical of biofuels in the food vs. fuel debate have not bothered to keep up with research and development in the rapidly changing field. They tend to look at 10-year-old date on corn ethanol production, and base their calculations and projections upon obsolete technological systems. He says “Such approaches typify the mediocrity rampant in modern academia, thanks to a politically correct dumbing down of academic standards, and a destructive tendency to abort healthy debates prematurely — declaring winners on the basis of ideological criteria”.

Dr. Lynd and Dr. Woods suggest that a growing bioenergy economy can be the key to driving this agricultural boom. Land is relatively plentiful in Africa, and land for crops and land for fuel will not be in direct competition.

 

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