Study: Africa to Look to Bioenergy Crops

OUAGADOUGOU, Burkina Faso, July 23 (UPI) — Crops could be produced for bioenergy production across Africa without displacing food production to “unlock Africa’s latent potential,” a report says.

Polices would be needed to manage potential conflicts but bioenergy crop production for fuels such as ethanol and biodiesel would not damage food supplies or natural habitats, a report by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa said Friday.

“If approached with the proper policies and processes and with the inclusion of all the various stakeholders, bioenergy is not only compatible with food production; it can also greatly benefit agriculture in Africa,” report author Dr. Rocio Diaz-Chavez of Imperial College London said.

“Bioenergy production can bring investments in land, infrastructure, and human resources that could help unlock Africa’s latent potential and positively increase food production,” he said.

The report found there is enough land available in western, eastern and southern Africa to significantly increase the cultivation of biofuel crops such as sugar cane, sorghum and jatropha without diminishing food production.

“Food versus bioenergy” should not be the choice, but rather how to properly integrate bioenergy into agriculture production systems in different regions of Africa, the report said.

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