Competing claims, competing models:

Understanding (the benefits of) bio-fuel- based development models and their impact

This programme focuses on the impact of the expansion of bio-fuel production systems on rural livelihoods and resource competition in southern Africa. Research is concentrated in Mozambique, where bio-fuel production initiatives are being developed in various agro-ecological zones of the country. Based on different bio-energy crops, land uses, labour organization, processing and marketing arrangements, these bio-fuel initiatives are not merely distinct production models; they simultaneously represent different ‘models’ for rural development. Although biofuel production is promising, and strongly promoted at various policy levels (national, regional and globally), little is known about these production models’ developmental and environmental impacts, and especially, their consequences for poor people’s livelihoods.

Competing Claims, Competing Models is funded by the DGIS-WUR partnership programme.

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Biofuel and food: Opportunities or threats to food security

The use of biomass for biofuel is a development that poses both threats and opportunities to family farms and their livelihoods in developing countries. Safeguarding sustainability and empowering farmers begs important questions about biofuel development. Brazil and Mozambique are two important players in biomass for biofuel developments. The contrast of agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions between these countries provides a challenging setting  for this programme to explore the issues at stake.

The programme endeavours to:

  1. >Identify trade-offs between environmental, social and economic costs and benefits for farmers

  2. >Identify competition for resource allocation between food, feed and fuel production

  3. >Explore alternative organizational models and governance structure for the farmer-processor transaction


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VIDEO: Prof. Ken Giller questions common assumptions regarding bio-fuel production by African smallholder farmers.

        (© Ken Giller)   

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