The promise of new science and technology for increasing food and fuel production was part of a conversation panel at the World Food Prize Norman Borlaug Symposium in Des Moines on Wednesday.
Among the panelists was Brazil’s former minister of agriculture Roberto Rodrigues, co-chair of the International Biofuels Commission, who talked about the importance of biofuels development for developing nations. “Biofuels depend enormously on sun,” Rodriques said. “That means that the production of biofuels, bioelectricity and agri-energy in general will happen between the two tropics – the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn – Latin American countries, African countries and the poorest Asian countries,” meaning that the poorest countries could be the producers of the most important commodity – energy.
Rodrigues says “absolutely we are going to improve new technologies and we are able to feed humankind and produce biofuels all together.” He notes that Brazil is a good example of what can be done in that regard and that there is a “myth” that production of sugarcane for ethanol is reducing the production of food. “This year we have a record grain production, but we also have record sugarcane production, record meat production and record production of dairy products -so there is no competition between sugarcane and food in Brazil and we can apply that in African, other Latin American and Asian countries.”
Listen to Rodrigues’ comments here: