The Local Livelihood Implications of Biofuel Development and Land Acquisitions in Zimbabwe

"In recent years, proponents of “green and clean” fuel have argued that the socio-economic and environmental costs of over reliance on traditional fuel (oil) could be reduced by a global transition to biofuel. Such discourses propound that a transition to biofuel could result in significant local and national benefits, including local job creation, infrastructural development, high revenue generation for local government authorities and less national reliance on fossil fuel and energy imports, and come with minimal negative impacts on the environment. With a dominant focus in the discourse on these purported benefits, little attention has been given to livelihood impacts related to land acquisition for the development of biofuel. With many risks and costs associated with fossil fuels, it is likely that many countries will move towards the “green and clean” alternative, yet there is thin academic understanding regarding the on-the-ground processes of land acquisition for biofuel production and how these in turn affect local people, whose livelihoods depend on land-based activities. Using a case study of bioethanol development in the Chisumbanje communal lands of Zimbabwe, this project assesses the processes and local livelihood implications of biofuel development and considers who is likely to bear the costs."