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Planting bio-fuels, in Rwanda, while Rwandans go hungry

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Ann Garrison     Permalink
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Rwanda's greatest natural resource is its fertile agricultural land, but most is centralized in the hands of government elites and planted in export crops, coffee, tea, flowers, and soon, bio-fuels----while Rwandans go hungry.

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On November 9, 2009, Benoit Ndagijimana, Deputy Secretary General of the United Democratic Forces of Rwanda, a.k.a., the UDF-IINKINGI, a dissident Rwandan political party, protested the Rwandan government's dedication of 10,000 hectares of land, in Eastern Rwanda, to produce bio-fuels, in a consortium with U.S.-based Eco-Fuel Global and UK-based Eco Positive:

"This unique decision is made when prices of food commodities are increasing every day, but many Rwandans barely have one meal a day and display obvious undernourishment, and, when at least 60% of households in the rural areas of Rwanda suffer from different degrees of food insecurity. This decision poses additional harms to the Rwandan peasants already afflicted not only by current land expropriation underway since July 1994 but also by forced villagization and technocratic regionalization of crops. . ."

Rwanda's greatest natural resource is its fertile agricultural land, but most of it is centralized in the hands of government elites and planted in coffee, tea, and flowers for export. This Global Eco-Fuels investment, like Costco and Starbuck's investment in Rwandan coffee plantations, obviously undermines most Rwandans struggle to secure life's most basic necessity---food.

The best hope of redistributing Rwandan land to Rwandan people, for sustainable agriculture that might feed them, is a fair and honest election in Rwanda in August 2010, which the government of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, the U.S.A.'s greatest ally in Africa, is doing all it can to prevent----as evidenced by its repression of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda's four attempts to convene, and, its refusal to grant a passport to the United Democratic Forces of Rwanda's First Vice Chairman Eugène Ndahayo.

If allowed to participate, the Rwandan Greens, the United Democratic Forces of Rwanda, and other parties would probably be able to form a coalition capable of winning the election.

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For a critique of bio-fuels planting on the entire African continent, see the Pambazuka News, "Bio-fuels and neo-colonialism," which describes it as "a new and massive land-grabbing scramble in Africa, unprecedented since the fall of colonialism."

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I grew up around a radioactive toxic mess called the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, in a gorgeous place, Washington's Olympic Peninsula, by way of Western Oklahoma, another gorgeous place. I'm a compulsive writer and sometimes I sign as (more...)

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