Biofuels plantation farming in Dakatcha, Kenya


An Italian-owned company, Kenya Jatropha Energy Ltd(KJEL) had proposed to convert the Dakatcha Woodland to plant Jatropha curcas, a biofuel crop on 50,000 hectares, and started clearing part of the woodland and cutting indigenous vegetation even before an EIA was made public for comments. There was strong opposition from Nature Kenya and other institutions because the project had already showed lack of accountability; first, the site hosts rare and threatened species such as the bird Clarkes Weaver. Then, jatropha may produce more greenhouse gases than it will save; finally, there was no comprehensive biofuels policy in Kenya. As a result, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) suspended the project because of environmental concerns, but suggested to scale it down to pilot level in order to prove sustainability before an EIA licence could be issued.

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Basic Data
NameBiofuels plantation farming in Dakatcha, Kenya
ProvinceCoast Province
SiteMalindi District
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Agro-fuels and biomass energy plants
Specific CommoditiesEthanol
Biological resources
Carbon offsets
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsKenya Jatropha Energy Ltd proposed to lease 50,000 Hectares of Trust Land in Bungale area from the County Council of Malindi for Jatropha Cultivation within an initial period of 33 years.

The project aimed at meeting demand for a production chain for vegetable oil for the companys expansion needs in Italy as well as local energy needs.

The plants life cycle, i.e. from sowing to last processing would make it possible to produce 30% export to Italy and 70% for local use.

A part of the Jatropha oil production, bio-diesel would also be produced through a transesterification process to fuel vehicles locally.
Project Area (in hectares)50000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2009
Company Names or State EnterprisesKenya Jatropha Energy Ltd from Italy - belonging to Nuove Iniziative Industriali, Italy, of the Orlandi family
Nuove Iniziative Industriali Srl from Italy
Relevant government actorsNational Environment Management Authority , Kenya Wildlife Service; Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources management Authority
International and Financial InstitutionsFinnish Embassy from Finland
Spanish Embassy from Spain
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAction Aid International, Community Development Trust Fund, Nature Kenya, BirdLife International, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, East African Wild Life Society, Kenya Wetlands Forum, Kenya Forests Working Group, A Rocha Kenya, Community Based Organisations
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationInvolvement of national and international NGOs
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity)
Potential: Global warming, Soil erosion
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Loss of livelihood, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNegotiated alternative solution
New Environmental Impact Assessment/Study
Project cancelled
Withdrawal of company/investment
Development of Alternatives-The developer should explore alternative sites for the project
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.NEMA denied the proponent a licence due to no evidence of local community involvement; no land use plan for Dakatcha; and insufficient data on the viability of Jatropha cultivation in Kenya. The proponent was advised to explore an alternative site for the project.

Though the company had decided moved to a remote area in Dakatcha after NEMAs decision; it eventually withdrew its operations in Dakatcha and moved out in March 2013
Sources and Materials

National Land policy;

Forests Act, 2005;

Forest Policy;

Water Act, 2002;

Water Policy (National Policy on Water Resources Management);

The Agriculture Act, Cap 318;

The Local Government Act, Cap 265;

Wildlife (Conservation and Management) Act of 1976 ; -Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) of 1999; -Environmental Policy;

Constitution of the Republic of Kenya, 2010;


Action Aid Report
[click to view]

Gli Arraffa Terre, il coinvolgimento italiano nel business del land grab, Re:Common
[click to view]

Nature Kenya

Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Reports

[click to view]


Nature Kenya:
[click to view]

[click to view]

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A Rocha Kenya:
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Action Aid:
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorSerah Munguti
Last update21/03/2019