Up to 8.8m hectares (33, 980 square miles) of the Philippines could be turned into biofuel plantations under an agreement between the Phillippine and Chinese governments, according to IBON, a Philippine consultancy quoted on ABS-CBN interactive.
Last week, the Department of Agrarian Reform had announced it was looking at 400,000 to 500,000 hectares of land for agribusiness development under a memorandum of agreement with China signed January 2007. But the deals could ultimately cover as much as 8.8 million hectares of “idle alienable and disposable lands and forest lands.
"The RP-China farm deals may also threaten the country's food security as more and more lands are shifted from food staples such as rice, to production of crops for biofuels. Since the mid-1990s, the country is already completely a net food importer from being a net food exporter in earlier years," IBON said in a statement.
THE PATSADA KARAJAW NATION blog says
expect more agricultural lands be converted to growing “hybrids” for China and jathropa for bioethanol than our staple food, thereby threatening our country’s food security.
Food security comes in a number of guises, growing your own or being able to afford to buy food from other countries. If the market for biofules takes off and if the contracts are written so that prices reflect world prices and if the people who work on the plantations are properly paid, then that would produce a kind of food security too.