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Via Campesina report: agro-fuels threaten smallholders and the environment
In a position paper released this week, Via Campesina challenged the environmental and social rationale for the agrofuel production. According to the paper, the cultivation and industrial processing of materials such as corn, soy, palm oil, sugar cane, and canola actually exacerbate climate change and other environmental problems, while dimming the prospects of poverty alleviation for smallholders around the world:
"Monoculture and industrial agriculture, whether for agro-fuel or any other production, are destroying land, forests, water and biodiversity. They drive family farmers, men and women, off their land. It is estimated that five million farmers have been expelled from their land to create space for monocultures in Indonesia; five million in Brazil, four million in Colombia."
In conjunction with these pressures, the paper asserts that agrofuels are responsible for 30% of the global increase in food prices, with further detrimental effects for the livelihoods of the world's most vulnerable populations.
As a response to these trends, Via Campesina advocates the promotion of small scale production and local consumption, together with a decrease in global energy use.
Posted By Andrew Davis at 11:03am on June 25, 2008
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