From an interesting article by Dave Harcourt in Ecoworldly:

The castor [oil], equivalent to 12,000 tons of oil, would actually be grown by 25,000 families [small African farmers] contracted by GEE and would have a value of around US$ 10 million [$400 per year or $1.10 per day per family].

Ashenafi Chote was one of the farmers contracted by GEE. He as well as the other farmers have not been paid for their production because … GEE has been unable to raise the loan it was expecting to use to buy the castor. Ashenafi Chote is now in a very dangerous situation as he planted all his land with castor. He now has neither the food he normally grew for his family, nor the small income he generated by selling his excess production

A final interesting point is that planting a non food crop like castor or Jatropha (both contain toxins and are inedible) benefits the biodiesel refiner as it means that there is no market competition for the farmer’s production. For the farmer it limits their options, but more importantly, the crops can’t be eaten if the refiner doesn’t deliver as is the case in the above story.

Final or fatal?

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