Journal Article

Title Losing ground. The impact of increased biofuel production on local smallholders - A case study of Addax Bioenergy, Sierra Leone
Author Vlasak, Lisa
Published on 31 Mar 2014
Published by Technische Universität Wien
Published in Volume 40 • Issue 1 • 2014 , pages 17-29
AC AC11360358
DOI 10.34749/oes.2014.429
URN urn:nbn:at:at-ubtuw:4-429

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Abstract (English)

Sierra Leone, one of the poorest countries in the world, has recently become a popular target for foreign farmland investors. It is estimated that about 18% of the country s cultivatable land have already been leased to foreign investors or are subject to negotiations so far. The present paper takes a closer look at the case of the Swiss company Addax Bioenergy, which leased a huge area of farmland in the central part of Sierra Leone for the export-oriented production of bioethanol from sugarcane. The project area is home to more than 13,600 people, mostly small-scale (semi-)subsistence farmers. Based on interviews with 6 affected farming families, the paper describes the (mainly negative) effects of the project on local smallholders. These include not only losses of farmland as the smallholders basis of existence, but also broken promises made by the company regarding employment opportunities and infrastructure development. The compensation payments and salaries do not cover the smallholders expenses for food, education and health services. Longer walking distances, health problems and social discontent contribute to the bad situation of the smallholders.

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