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Biofuel Potential in Africa

International experts will convene in Burkina Faso for three days this week to discuss the prospects for biofuel production in Africa, conference organisers said Monday.

The talks which open on Tuesday will bring together more than 300 specialists from Africa, Europe and the Americas to evaluate Africa's potential to produce biofuels -- whilst assessing the environmental, economic and social impacts of biofuel production.

Participants will examine the impact of growing biofuel crops on water, soil and food production on a continent already buckling under shortages of locally-produced food and escalating prices of imported substitutes.

"The aim is in fact to draw up biomass use strategies that respect the environment and food crop production systems in each African country," said the organisers in a statement.

The conference is organised by the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering and CIRAD, the French agricultural research centre international development.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the government of Burkina Faso are co-organisers.

A few African countries have in recent years begun to experiment with biofuel production to supplement fossil fuels, but some experts have raised concern at the increasing conversion of arable land to biofuels crops at the expense of food production.

International experts will convene in Burkina Faso for three days this week to discuss the prospects for biofuel production in Africa, conference organisers said Monday.

The talks which open on Tuesday will bring together more than 300 specialists from Africa, Europe and the Americas to evaluate Africa's potential to produce biofuels -- whilst assessing the environmental, economic and social impacts of biofuel production.

Participants will examine the impact of growing biofuel crops on water, soil and food production on a continent already buckling under shortages of locally-produced food and escalating prices of imported substitutes.

"The aim is in fact to draw up biomass use strategies that respect the environment and food crop production systems in each African country," said the organisers in a statement.

The conference is organised by the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering and CIRAD, the French agricultural research centre international development.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) and the government of Burkina Faso are co-organisers.

A few African countries have in recent years begun to experiment with biofuel production to supplement fossil fuels, but some experts have raised concern at the increasing conversion of arable land to biofuels crops at the expense of food production.


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