Brazil's agroenergy sector, especially ethanol, has recently attracted foreign investment of around US$ 1 billion. This information was just disclosed by former minister of Agriculture Roberto Rodrigues, currently coordinator of the Agribusiness Center at Getúlio Vargas Foundation (FGV) and president of the Higher Agribusiness Council at the Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (Fiesp).
"Much investment is taking place," stated Rodrigues, who considers biofuels the new paradigm of the energy sector. He himself is setting up a company called Agroerg to promote the Brazilian agro-energy sector abroad and attract capital from investment funds. The sugar and alcohol sector estimates that over the next 10 years, 50% of the Brazilian ethanol production will be in the hands of foreigners.
For this picture to be consolidated, Rodrigues defends initiatives for the establishment of international norms and standards that are going to make possible the transformation of ethanol and other fuels of agricultural origin into commodities.
Among these initiatives is the International Biofuel Forum, launched yesterday, March 2, at the headquarters of the United Nations (UN), in New York, by Brazil, the United States, China, South Africa, India and the European Union (EU).
This will also be the main theme of the meeting that Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva will have with United States president George W. Bush next week in São Paulo (SE Brazil).
Both countries, the main world producers of ethanol, are studying a partnership that should result in incentives to the production and consumption of alcohol as a fuel all over the continent.
"It is an initiative to create a producer and consumer region in the Americas, for later thought about expansion to other regions, like Africa and Asia. It will only be possible to create a global ethanol market with production," stated the former minister. "Agroenergy is going to change trade relations and the economic geography of the world," he added.
To Rodrigues, the expansion of the use of biofuels, mainly ethanol, mostly due to alcohol being added to petrol, is a natural tendency. "If in the 20th century the central question for the world was food safety, in the 21st century the paradigm will be energy safety," he said. "As the development of a country may not be promoted without energy," he said.
In his point of view, the "oil civilization" is going to die out. With the reduction of offer of fossil fuels, other alternatives will have to arise, with biofuels serving as a "bridge" to a future society that will use new energy sources.
Not that liquid biofuels are going to replace petroleum. The tendency is for them to be used as additives to fossil fuels, granting extra life to oil reserves and helping reduce the emission of pollutants, until it is possible for new commercially viable technologies to arise. "Biomass may be added to the development of a new energy strategy," finished off Rodrigues.
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