African Prosperity Reversed by EPA Action Against Palm Oil

EPA's rejection of palm oil industry's application undermines African food
security and economic development

April 23, 2012 (Lagos, Nigeria) - The Initiative for Public Policy
Analysis (IPPA), the Nigeria-based public policy think-tank, submitted
comments <>  to the United
States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in response to the EPA's
imposition of a trade barrier to renewable fuels from palm oil.

Citing the importance of the crop to the long-term sustainable development
in Africa, IPPA noted that this decision reflects a long-term trend of
undermining food security and poverty alleviation throughout the
developing world in the interest of protecting domestic producers. The US
has a long history of protecting its producers. Developing countries’ palm
oil would pose a threat to American seed farmers and biofuel producers.
And while the US and Europe advance the practice of protectionism and
trade distortions, African's small farmers and US consumers will bear the
burden of the EPA's decision.

"Palm oil's low-cost, high efficiency profile makes the product a popular
source of important calories for the African continent, and an ideal crop
for development," wrote Thompson Ayodele, Director of IPPA. "Less land is
committed to oilseed cultivation, more can be devoted to conservation and
other foodstuffs. Meanwhile, US consumers stand to gain significantly from
sourcing this low-cost biodiesel feedstock.

"Over the last few years, a number of African countries have been
attracting billions of dollars in investment for the development of
domestic palm oil sectors. Local and foreign investment in the sector has
continued to gain currency in many African countries.  Liberia alone has
attracted more than USD $2.6 billion in investment in recent years from
countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, promising millions of dollars in
government revenue and bringing more than 35,000 jobs to the country.

"Unfortunately, amidst increasing demand for vegetable oils for edible and
energy purposes has also been the emergence of non-tariff barriers to
trade. The European Union's Renewable Energy Directive has been widely
decried by developing countries from Brazil to Malaysia for its
application of distortive technical criteria, and the EPA is now following

"The global development for biofuels offers enormous opportunity for
greater agriculture investment, particularly in Africa where there remains
a significant potential for expansion, and a need for economic development
and food security. But the EPA's imposition of a trade barrier, in
violation of WTO rules and the US's commitment to open markets, will
greatly undermine this potential. Without reversal of the EPA's decision,
Africa's long awaited development will remain stagnant, while US consumers
remain reliant on higher-cost biofuel sources."

Click here <>  to read the
rest of IPPA's comment to the EPA.

The Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA), the 2005 award-winning
organization and one of the  top 2008, 2010 and 2011 ranked  think tank in
Sub-Saharan Africa, is Nigeria's public policy research institute or think
tank. Its major concern is with the principles and institutions that
enhance economic development and wealth creation, with particular focus on
Africa and Nigeria.

For media enquiries, please contact the author of the report:
Thompson Ayodele on +234.1.791.0959, +234.80.2302.5079 or