Partners sound the alarm on Brazilian biofuels

11 May 2007 - 5:38pm

The biofuels getting the most attention are ethanol, which can be combined with petrol, and biodiesel, which is a diesel substitute. Between 2000 and 2005 production of ethanol doubled, while global production of biodiesel quadrupled.

Brazil is the world's biggest producer of ethanol, making 16 billion litres a year from its vast sugarcane stocks. Biofuels do have some advantages, but also some serious drawbacks. To keep up with the rapidly increasing global demand the country will have to convert more and more of its agricultural land to ethanol production. Biodiversity suffers, as do poor Brazilian farmers who may no longer grow food crops in an effort to eke out a meagre living. Increased ethanol production will make a few wealthy land owners wealthier while ordinary people grow hungrier.

War on Want partner the Landless Workers' Movement of Brazil (MST) has written a series of articles about the threat ramped up ethanol production poses to Brazil's farmers.

Here you can read MST's criticism of the Brazilian government's ethanol policy.

MST's indictment of the sugarcane industry and defence of smallscale farming can be found here.

Further research sent to us by MONLAR on Brazil's biofuel policy, and how they may effect people across the developing world, can be found here.


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