Brazil’s Lula Says New Deal Inspired His Biodiesel Program

“The 21st century must be Brazil’s century,” affirmed President Luiz Inácio
Lula da Silva, speaking November 8 at the ceremony to install the new board of
directors of the Fiesp (Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo).

The President defended the implantation of the Biodiesel Program as an
instrument to promote social inclusion.


“This program, to my mind, follows the same development model as (the
American) President Roosevelt’s in the Tennessee Valley. This program will be
experimental and, uppermost, a matter of priority for the parts of Brazil’s
regions that had no chances to develop in these five centuries, above all the
semi-arid Northeast and the Jequitinhonha Valley.


“We shall begin in this region with biodiesel from castor beans. In another
region, with biodiesel from dendê palms, and, who knows, when we have the entire
market consuming biodiesel, we might include soybeans so that we can become the
world’s biggest producer of biodiesel and can clean up the planet Earth,” he
affirmed.


Since last year, the formulation of the National Program for the Production
and Use of Biodiesel has involved representatives from various Ministries,
including among others Mines and Energy, Agrarian Development, Environment,
Science and Technology..


It also count on business associations such as National Association of
Automobile Manufacturers – Anfavea – and the Brazilian Vegetable Oil Industry
Association – Abiove.


The program is scheduled to begin effectively this month, with the addition
of 2% biodiesel to the diesel oil consumed in the country.


In June of this year, the executive secretary of the Ministry of Mines and
Energy, Maurí­cio Tolmasquim, informed that the addition of 2% biodiesel – the
so-called B2 – would represent a savings of 800 million liters for the Brazilian
fleet of vehicles.


Moreover, biodiesel fuel releases 78% less carbon gas into the Earth’s
atmosphere.


For President Lula, the program should assign priority to stimulating the
development of the country’s poorest regions.


“At a ministerial meeting the other day, I said that it will be a rural
exodus in reverse. If Northeasterns came here in search of work in the decade of
the ’50’s, and if biodiesel turns out to be what I imagine, we shall see many of
our Northeastern brothers returning to their native soil not as beggers, but as
citizens, because they will have a job and a chance to work and grow.”


Agência Brasil
Translator: David
Silberstein

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