Agrofuels and oil palm plantations

The promotion of agrofuels as a form of renewable energy is proving to be one of the European Union’s biggest policy mistakes.

EU agrofuels policies are aggravating climate change. They have become a key driver of forest and biodiversity loss, land-grabs and conflicts, and human rights abuses in producer countries such as Indonesia. Increasingly, agricultural land needed to produce food is being reallocated to grow crops for agrofuels to fuel cars rather than to feed hungry people. [more]

Down to Earth No.79, November 2008

Indonesian organisations have circulated the following information about the impact of the global credit crunch and falling palm oil prices on peasant farmers in the province Jambi, Sumatra. Translation from the Indonesian by DTE.

Since palm oil became 'the golden crop' around the year 2000, the European market for this commodity has grown year on year, not only to satisfy demand from the food and cosmetics industries, but also as an alternative energy source to fossil fuels.

Down to Earth No.76-77, May 2008

Indonesian agrofuel,1 producers are putting operations on hold as high demand drives up prices.

Since the Indonesian government issued its agrofuels policy in 2006, 22 companies have been set up to produce these alternative fuels.

Down to Earth No. 74, August 2007

The Jambi-based NGO, SETARA, which focuses on issues related to livelihoods, energy, natural resources and foreign investment, distributed a position paper on Indonesia's palm oil supplies in May. It was headed with a quote from Cuba's former leader, Fidel Castro, that the use of food crops to produce fuels would cause rising prices and hunger for millions of people in developing countries.

Down to Earth No 67  November 2005

Indonesian NGOs are concerned that fuel price rises are increasing poverty, while long term energy plans are failing to encourage alternatives to fossil fuels.

Indonesian politics have been dominated throughout the fasting month of Ramadan by the government policy to reduce fuel subsidies. The move breaks a promise made by SBY that fuel price rises in March would be the last this year. It has sparked weeks of angry protests and is already causing hardship for ordinary people.