'Leaving aside the insanity of producing food to feed cars while so many people are starving, industrial agro-fuels production will actually increase global warming instead of reducing it. Agro-fuels production will revive colonial plantation systems, bring back slave work and seriously increase the use of agrochemicals, as well as contribute to deforestation and biodiversity destruction.'
Inspired by a similar statement from European counterparts, five US based groups - Rainforest Action Network, Global Justice Ecology Project, Food First, Grassroots International, Family Farm Defenders, and the Student Trade Justice Campaign - issued a call in 2007 for an immediate moratorium on further US incentives for agro-fuels development. Over 50 groups from around the world signed onto this statement in solidarity, including Mozambique's own National Farmers' Union (UNAC), host of the Fifth Via Campesina Conference. Yet, the forces of corporate globalisation are hard at work and have apparently already reached the ear of President Guebuza. Chief among these agro-fuels peddlers is the Nairobi-based Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), bankrolled by the Rockefeller and Gates Foundations and chaired by former UN secretary general, Kofi Annan.
While some leaders, such as former US President George Bush Sr., may argue that the lifestyle of the global North is not negotiable, and the current food versus fuel debate dominating media headlines is hard to ignore. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), food prices skyrocketed 88% worldwide between March 2007 and March 2008, triggering riots in dozens of countries with some demonstrators even being killed in Cameroon, Senegal, and Mozambique. The crisis has been attributed to a vicious convergence of several factors - runaway speculation in commodity markets, weather related crop failures induced by global warming - and, as even the World Bank had to admit, the boom in agro-fuels. The creeping expansion of these green agro-fuel deserts that destroy biodiversity, supplant subsistence production, and siphon off scarce public funds is more a recipe for corporate profit than genuine energy security.