Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has called on sugarcane mill owners to guarantee domestic supply of ethanol and show the world that Brazil can meet foreign demand, as well.
“We have to be careful. The world is watching. And it looks like we cannot even meet our own domestic demand!” said Lula referring to the reduced amount of ethanol that Brazil was now adding to gasoline due to a series of supply problems.
Lula went on to say that there was simply no excuse for what was happening. Neither the rain, nor the price of sugar on international markets, could justify the threat of a real shortfall in the domestic ethanol supply in Brazil.
The president said the situation was complicating Brazil’s efforts to promote the addition of ethanol to gasoline abroad where some European and Asian countries were studying the viability of a mixture that would contain 3% ethanol.
Speaking directly to sugarcane mill owners, Lula said they could not have it both ways. “When we try to transform ethanol into an international energy source that can be negotiated on international markets we need a serious attitude.
“You cannot be energy sector businessmen when the price of ethanol is good, and farmers when sugar prices rise. We have to be able to guarantee supply. Otherwise we will be back to where we were 20 years ago when the sector lost consumer confidence.”
Lula added that Brazil is the world’s frontrunner in renewable fuel technology. But the entire effort could collapse if the country cannot guarantee supply, he said.
Lula also called for more investment to increase the productivity of Brazilian sugarcane, which is already, in terms of energy output to energy input, way ahead of all other bio-energy sources.