Two decades of economic turmoil have starved Zimbabwe of foreign currency, at times creating fuel shortages. A controversial ethanol project, run by Green Fuel (Pvt) Ltd., is helping curb the need for imports and is providing jobs, as it steadily expands output.
Activist groups say nearby farmers in Chisumbanje in the nation’s southeast weren’t adequately compensated for the land now used to grow sugar cane for the plant.
A 2015 parliamentary committee report alleged that the facility has spewed toxic waste and that it’s also increased truck traffic, leading to more fatal traffic collisions. Green Fuel, which has denied polluting waterways, didn’t respond to questions about the criticisms and allegations.
The venture’s main backer is Billy Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean businessman who was previously on European Union and U.S. blacklists for alleged links, which he’s denied, to the regime of late disgraced former President Robert Mugabe. The Agricultural and Rural Development Authority is a minority partner.