Stakeholder’s Meeting for Biofuel Policy Recommendations at New Palm Tree Village, Bagamoyo, Tanzania.
Tanzania is in the process of formulating a sound policy and legal mechanisms to foster investments in biofuels. This has been attributed to different firms which have shown interest in biofuel investments and local need of reducing fuel imports. In different areas where such investments have taken place, the people have already started experiencing environmental, economic and social effects due to inappropriate coordination of biofuels activities between responsible government departments, the investing firms and the absence of a policy to govern biofuel activities.
Lack of national policy on biofuels development remains a major obstacle towards the realization of the huge potential of biofuel in the country. Between 1st to 4th of November 2011, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals and the Infosys of the Netherlands organised a key stakeholders meeting to develop biofuels policy at the New Palm Tree Village, Bagamoyo, Tanzania
The meeting brought together representatives from the government sectorial ministries, Civil Society Organisation (CSOs) and Academic Institutions. Specifically, members involved in the workshop came from the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security, the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, Vice President Office (Department of Environment), Haki Ardhi, TaTEDO, Land Use Planning Dept., Sokoine University of Agriculture, University of Dar es Salaam.
The objective was to put in place a policy to support and regulate the development of a sustainable biofuel industry in Tanzania. The specific objectives were:
It was reported from the workshop that it has been difficult to operate in an environment where one is uncertain of what the laws, which are not yet made, would say about investments. Although seven companies have invested in cultivation of biofuel plants such as jatropha, sugarcane, croton and palm oil, this happened when there was no any document to guide investment.
The companies include Agro-Eco-Energy Tanzania ltd, Prokon, Africa Bioenergy, Felisa, Sun Biofuels, Diligent and Kakute.
Many lessons were learnt through the biofuel policy workshop in Tanzania. The main lessons are concerned with future biofuel industry in Tanzania. Still the views of some stakeholders are to develop biofuel by using large investors which are foreign companies.
There are little efforts of using local initiatives and local investors to develop t biofuel industry in Tanzania. Need to develop local demand and markets for the biofuel products rather than depending on biofuel investors and markets abroad. This goes concurrently with efforts of establishing medium scale biofuel companies to stimulate development and use of biofuels in Tanzania .
The last day participants visited RAZABA Biofuel farm (Sugar cane) located in Bagamoyo and managed by the AGRO ECO-ENERGY COMPANY.