Respondents acknowledge that the mounting demand for food does
not necessarily sit easily with commitments towards the development
of biofuels. Even so, almost 80 per cent believe that nations can
meet renewable energy targets at the same time as boosting food
production. Indeed, respondents are more optimistic about this
issue than in 2012, when only 59 per cent thought that food
production would not suffer from a focus on renewable energy.
Many respondents think that the enthusiasm for biofuels amongst
states is now on the wane and that renewable energy targets are
better served by a focus on hydroelectric, solar and wind power.
Respondents note that bio-crop output accounts only for a very
small proportion of total production, so its impact on the food
sector is limited.
Respondents see embracing the latest food and agribusiness
technologies as integral to boosting food production and think that
this should not hinder the ability to meet renewable energy
targets. Some believe that the use of GMOs will enable the
agribusiness industry to meet demand without impacting on green
"I think the industry should be carbon
Mark Bainbridge, Managing director, Kilombero Sugar
Respondents also think that, despite concerns about limited
resources, there should be enough land for agricultural purposes
and that more efficient and effective use of this land will meet
the growing demand for food.
Several respondents suggest that food and biofuel production
should be made to complement each other, not conflict (as sometimes
happens now). They state that proper regulation could ensure that
excess food production could be channelled towards biofuels.
Respondents are strongly against the existence of subsidies for
biofuels. This is in line with the data from our 2012 survey.
A number of respondents think that subsidies may be necessary to
establish or stimulate the industry in a new location, but they
should then be phased out once the sector is well developed. There
is a concern that longer-term subsidies lead to a distortion of the
Most respondents support the principle of a free market. In
common with the issue of subsidies in the biofuel sector,
respondents are largely against the use of subsidies in food
production, although they accept that subsidies are currently
necessary to feed certain poorer parts of the world. However,
respondents believe that these should be closely monitored and
phased out once living standards improve.
Several respondents point to the negative effects of subsidies
and the fact that in many circumstances their eradication has led
to increased production. One respondent suggests that better access
to finance would be a more effective and fairer way of stimulating
production in the agribusiness industry.
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