Animal livestock industry should not fear the emphasis on ethanol as a new energy source.
This claim was made by the Brazilian former agricultural minister Roberto Rodrigues on Wednesday (13 June, 2007), calling the feed vs fuel discussion ‘a false dilemma’.
Speaking for over 300 attendants at the 4th Agri Vision conference, organised by animal feed company Nutreco in Noordwijk-aan-Zee, the Netherlands earlier this week, Rodrigues explained about his country’s possibilities to grow sugarcane for ethanol production.
In his view, Brazil still has a lot of acreage to offer when it comes down to future sugarcane production. He suggested using some of the pasture fields to grow sugarcane in the future, by rotation of culture as sugarcane is a semi-permanent crop.
“We can grow 230 billion litres of ethanol, that is about 10% of the consumption of gasoline, without any problem for food availability.”
Fiercely he reacted to sounds from those who feared the Amazon rain forest would suffer from these initiatives.
“A stupidity,” he called it, adding that “there is simply no sugarcane in the Amazon region because of the rain. Even if we had wanted to grow sugarcane or any other crop over there, it is not possible.”
Sugarcane, grown in tropical regions, is a much more efficient crop for ethanol production than corn.