An ambitious project to produce clean energy for the Netherlands and Belgium has degenerated into a controversial abuse of natural resources. BioShape, a clean energy company based in Neer, the Netherlands, is going through bankruptcy proceeding after spending $9.6 million dollars on a failed biofuel project in Tanzania.
According to a WWF study published in 2009, the Project’s Environmental Assessment failed to mention that the concession falls within the Namateule/Namatimbili Forest. The plantation thus poses a risk to seven threatened vertebrae species, according to the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group. Villagers were not properly informed about the terms of the law and did not know they would permanently lose land ownership of the land allocated to BioShape. They agreed to give their land away with the expectation of receiving fair financial compensation based on the value of the allocated land. However, only 40 percent of the compensation paid by BioShape went to farmers and the rest went to the District Office which had persuaded local villages to sign up to the deal.
Title: Tanzania Biofuel Project’s Barren Promise
Author: Stefano Valentino
Student Researcher: Caitlin Morgan, Sonoma State University
Faculty Advisor: Peter Phillips, Sonoma State University