Ethanol and supplying food can work - envoy

06 November 2008 12:20  [Source: ICIS news]

SINGAPORE (ICIS news)--Brazil has demonstrated that balance can be achieved between food and fuel production as the world’s largest exporter of ethanol and sugar, the Brazilian Ambassador to Singapore said on Thursday.

“The Brazilian model proves we are feeding our people, feeding the world population and can produce ethanol,” Ambassador Paulo Alberto da Silveria Soares told ICIS news on the sidelines of “The Biofuels and Food Security” forum in Singapore.

“It is a strategy, it is logistics. We have been doing this for the last 30 years.”

“Look, the logic is very clear: if Brazil would be employing half of its sugarcane production to produce fuel, how come you can still be the first sugarcane or sugar-refining exporters in the world?” said Soares.

“This argument destroys all other arguments, including this idea that we are diverting food away. If you use corn to produce ethanol, as the US has been doing, then it is a serious problem, plus that you’re subsidising the farmers,” he said.

“In Brazil, we don’t subsidise any farmer to grow sugarcane. Zero government subsidy. It is the market that rules,” the ambassador said.

Ambassador Soares’ comments come just after Lee Kuan Yew, Singapore’s former prime minister and current minister mentor, said first-generation biofuels are not the solution to the world’s energy needs.

First-generation biofuels, made from starch-based feedstock such as corn, sugarcane and crude palm oil (CPO), sparked a worldwide food-versus-fuel debate when grain prices soared to record highs earlier during the year.

The forum, organized in conjunction with the International Energy Week, runs from 3-7 November.

Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels
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By: Leon Toh
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