Knowledge for Development

Scoping report on biofuels projects in five developing countries


Date: 28/02/2014


This report by ODI, UK, summarises the results of scoping exercises carried out in early 2013 into the status of biofuel projects in five countries: Ethiopia, Indonesia, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia. These scoping exercises were undertaken to determine: (i) Whether countries which are commonly referred to as important for biofuel production have seen proportionate levels of biofuel project activity; and (ii) if so, whether projects have reached a stage at which it is possible to assess the impacts of biofuel projects on local food security. The report concludes that in the four African countries, there is little basis to comprehensively investigate the possible effects of increased biofuel production on food security. What could be further researched is the impact of the displacement of people and their agricultural activities, which often occurs as part of biofuel projects. It is too early to know whether the contraction in biofuels project development is indicative of a temporary setback or whether it is of a more permanent nature. However, the number of projects which have already ceased their operations and the time required for new projects to start up operations indicate that production will not reach significant levels in the four African countries anytime soon.    

(ODI, 05/2013)

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