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Namibia Agriculture and Renewables / CAPARO farming project in Caprivini, Namibia


Namibia Agriculture and Renewables (NAR) is a subsidiary of Caparo Renewable Agriculture Developments Ltd (CRAD-L), founded with backing from UK-based Caparo Group (owned by Baron Swraj Paul, an Indian-born, British-based business magnate and Labour politician close to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown. NAR originally planned to grow jatropha on 100,000 ha in the Caprivi Region of Namibia (of the developable 150,000), but in 2010 decided it was not viable. It then pursued a US$250-million deal to produce grains, pastures, fruit, vegetables, nuts, and herbs on 30,000 ha of irrigated lands in the same area. In October 2010, NAR project manager Fran├žois Waal told Insight Magazine that his company had been waiting for over a year for the final go-ahead from the Ministry of Lands, and in June of 2010, Reuters reported NAR 'recently backed out of a 100,000-hectare jatropha development in Namibias Caprivi region'. The company also owns 46,000 ha in Sierra Leone where it farms palm oil (this land is also under dispute because of a lack of transparency and documentation).

It was reported in 2011, that the national Namibian Government has banned jatropha biofuel projects in the north east area of the country in both the Caprivia and Kavango regions until such time as a study on its viability can be completed.

Basic Data

NameNamibia Agriculture and Renewables / CAPARO farming project in Caprivini, Namibia
ProvinceCaprivini Province
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
Intensive food production (monoculture and livestock)
Specific CommoditiesWater
Herbs, Nuts

Project Details and Actors

Project DetailsDetails are unclear.

Project Area (in hectares)150 000
Level of Investment (in USD)250,000,000
Type of PopulationRural
Start Date2010
Company Names or State EnterprisesCAPARO Group
CAPARO Renewable Agriculture Developments Ltd (CRAD-L)
Namibia Agriculture and Renewables from Namibia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersOakland Institute,

The Conflict and the Mobilization

Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)UNKNOWN
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Forms of MobilizationCreation of alternative reports/knowledge
Media based activism/alternative media


Environmental ImpactsPotential: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Desertification/Drought, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion, Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
OtherThe large scale plantations analysed would lead to widespread loss of biodiversity and carbon sink through debushing activities and monocropping. Although the investors promise to make provisions for intercropping and maintain natural vegetation and wildlife corridors in their plans, these efforts only reduce the negative ecological impacts of a plantation. Furthermore, space for some herders during the rainy season would be reduced leading to more pressure on land from grazing elsewhere. Also, irrigation changes the natural water cycle, and fertilizers and pesticides may pollute water and soils.
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Other environmental related diseases
Socio-economic ImpactsPotential: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession


Project StatusStopped
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseNew legislation
Project cancelled
Project suspended
Do you consider this as a success?Yes
Why? Explain briefly.The project is stopped. In May of 2011 Namibia instituted a moratorium on large-scale jatropha.

Sources and Materials


Bio-Energy In Namibia: Opportunities, Threats And Institutional Challenges For Rural Development And Food Security


CRAD-L, 'Projects' (archived, copyright 2009)

Reuters, 'Jatropha: From buzz to bust in Namibia'

Oakland Institute, 'Meet the Millionaires and Billionaries Suddenly Buying Tons of Land in Africa'

Other CommentsThe websites for CRAD-L and NAD were archived in 2011. Only one reference was found pertaining to the case, dating to 2010. In May of 2011 Namibia instituted a moratorium on large-scale jatropha plantations.

Meta Information

ContributorAliza Tuttle
Last update08/04/2014