Industralized nations are engaged in massive efforts to use biofuels in their battle against powerful oil rich societies. As the need for land to produce crops that will create energy grows more intense, their eyes increasingly are gazing toward Africa. Tanzania is inviting many nations to buy up its lands to plant crops. A German company recently purchased an area of land equal to the nation of Luxembourg while British, US, Swedish, Canadian and others are buying up farm land. Malawi and Zambia are also targets of companies seeking land. Of course, these companies will be creating huge farms run by a staff hired by companies. What happens to farmers who live in these regions? Will they and their families share in the wealth that is being produced? Local interests are rarely considered by African governments in making these decisions.
In fairness, most companies coming into these African nations are promising to build roads and schools and hospitals, but for local residents, land and jobs are dominant concerns. Of course, a company farm can out produce local farmers and make it difficult to compete in an international arena of biofuels. Frequently lost in agreements is the issue of water. Company farms need extensive supplies of water and in many African areas, water means life. To what extent are water needs factored into these agreements?