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University of Leeds (2014)

Powering Mali with sustainable biofuels ? Livelihood opportunities and policy challenges of Jatropha curcas

Favretto, Nicola

Titre : Powering Mali with sustainable biofuels ? Livelihood opportunities and policy challenges of Jatropha curcas.

Auteur : Favretto, Nicola

Université de soutenance : University of Leeds.

Grade : PhD thesis (2014)

Résumé
Biofuel investments have been fostered as an attempt to mediate the energy crisis and climate change, and as a way to assist rural development. Great hopes have been pinned on the oilbearing, “drought resistant” non-edible tree Jatropha curcas (Jatropha) through both its smalland large-scale cultivation. However, the Jatropha sector is still young and empirical analyses on the potential impacts on rural livelihoods and improved access to energy are largely lacking. This hampers the development of effective policy to promote the use of biofuel for sustainable development. This research presents new integrated mixed-method, multi-level assessments of the implications of the Malian Strategy for Biofuels Development for the promotion of Jatropha in Mali : a sub-Saharan African country that has led the region’s biofuel policy initiatives. Semistructured interviews were undertaken with government departments, international organisations, private sector representatives and NGOs. National level data, household questionnaires and participatory methods for livelihoods assessments were integrated using conceptual frameworks of discourse analysis, stakeholder analysis and policy implementation and impact analysis. A multi-scale approach to assess the role of Jatropha as a tool for reducing energy poverty and fostering rural development is adopted. In the decade of the United Nations’ “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative, lessons from Mali on these vital energy and development issues could usefully inform the adaptation and transfer of successful approaches and practices to other sub-Saharan countries. Livelihoods data show that households involved with NGO or private sector activities linked to Jatropha cultivation can gain financial capital due to income from the sale of Jatropha seeds and soap and reduce household expenditure. When grown on a small-scale as a living fence, Jatropha demarcates property and can reduce soil erosion. Projects focusing on Jatropha use for rural electrification offer potential to improve energy access. However, farmers’ difficulties in establishing successful plantations are observed and Jatropha oil supplies remain insufficient for these benefits to materialise. National-level interviews and policy analysis show that mainstreaming internationally agreed principles into national policies are vital to attracting monetary, institutional and technical support from international organisations and donors. However, gaps between policy targets, actual yields and land cover are identified. The limited availability of Jatropha oil supplies hampers the substitution of national consumption. While small-scale cultivation does not threaten food security, ambitious land cover targets set within national policies can risk land use shifts away from food towards biofuel production. The findings presented in this thesis advance academic understanding of the opportunities and challenges of biofuels for sustainable development, contributing to key debates on food versus fuel, large-scale land acquisitions, rural development and fossil fuel substitution potential. A theoretical contribution is made by extending the use of the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework by incorporating policy and stakeholder analysis into a more integrated analysis of the impacts of biofuels on rural and energy development. The policy analysis advances the understanding of the role of national policy instruments in the uptake of biofuel activities. To address the identified policy gaps and move towards the development of a Jatropha biofuel industry that meets pro-poor development objectives, the following policy measures and ways forward are proposed, to : (i) Adopt a cohesive mix of country-specific policies that integrate biofuel promotion with rural development concerns, private sector needs and international donor priorities ; (ii) Promote coherent institutional frameworks as well as strong partnerships and effective dialogue between state departments, the private sector and NGOs ; (iii) Enhance monitoring of biofuel programmes and projects ; and (iv) Establish and enforce adequate legal and regulatory frameworks governing private biofuel investments, access to land and water resources in order to avoid threats to food security and land tenure disputes. By better linking policies to local-level practices, these measures offer the potential to achieve more sustainable outcomes.

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Page publiée le 9 juillet 2014, mise à jour le 22 octobre 2018