The Brazilian Minister of Agriculture, Roberto Rodrigues, believes the biofuels will become important commodities and that Brazil will have a great role in the world trade of these products.
“Agri-energy and biofuel arrive as new paradigms and Brazil has exceptional conditions to become the great world supplier of these new commodities,” he stated, at the headquarters of the Brazilian Rural Society in São Paulo, last Friday.
The international demand for alternative fuels is growing. Two factors that drive this phenomenon are the Kyoto Protocol, which has become effective and foresees the reduction in the emission of polluting gases in a world level, and the sharp rise in oil prices.
Just to have an idea, Brazil, which already is the greatest producer and exporter in the world of fuel alcohol, exported last year 2.4 billion liters of the product, against 1.1 billion in 2003. The main buyers of alcohol from the country are the United States and India, which use the product mixed in gasoline.
Brazil has used ethanol in a large scale in its vehicles fleet for 30 years, first with the cars that ran exclusively on alcohol, and now with the bi-fuel vehicles, which run both on petrol and alcohol, and on any mixture of the two.
According to Rodrigues, today there are about 750,000 bi-fuel vehicles in the country, but this number is expected to reach 8 million in 2013.
This will generate, according to the minister, a demand for 11 billion liters per year more than the 14 billion liters Brazil currently produces.
“If this happens, we will need 1.8 million hectares more to harvest sugar cane,” he stated. According to him, the country currently has 5.5 million hectares with the plant’s crops.
Another factor that should drive the increase in the sugar cane planted area is the increase in demand for sugar. According to Rodrigues, as of 2013 there will be an additional demand of 25 million tons of sugar per year, and the country should be responsible for half of this demand.
“The sugar sector in the world is going through a positive moment. The demand for sugar increases by 2% per year,” he said.
With the increase in alcohol and sugar production there should also be an increase in the number of jobs.
“Adding the two forecasts, of alcohol and sugar, the horizon is of a demand for more than 3 million new hectares of sugar cane, generating more than 200,000 direct jobs, not to mention biodiesel,” said the minister. As well as alcohol, Brazil is investing in the production of biodiesel.
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