Whenever Lloyd has dared to question the logic of the Malaysian palm oil industry in clearing rainforests for biofuels, he has attracted furious responses from supporters of the industry. However, it seems that the Ugandan government may have avoided a similar controversy before it has even started, dropping plans to allow a private company to grow sugar cane for biofuels in a forest reserve that is home to more than 300 species of birds, 200 types of trees and nine different primates.
While we welcome any decision to protect endangered ecosystems, it seems that conservation may not have been the sole motivation of the government. The plan was also deeply unpopular within Uganda due to racial tensions that date back to the days if Idi Amin. The company developing the site was Indian-owned, and according to The Guardian many Ugandan’s are apparently wary of tax breaks and access to land that are currently being offered to ethnic Asians who were welcomed back in the 90s, after being exiled by Amin.Apparently though, this is not the first time that the Ugandan Government has reversed a decision to allow forest clearance for biofuels. In May, a decision to allow a Kenyan company to clear rainforest in order to grow palm oil was also reversed, Whatever the complex social, cultural and ethnic drivers towards these decisions may have been, we do strongly believe that the need for alternative fuels must not be pursued at the expense of habitat conservation or biodiversity. ::The Guardian:: via site visit::