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Visit of Dr. Jeremy woods to NIPE/UNICAMP: collaboration GSB/LACAf

Grant number: 12/17066-1
Support type:Research Grants - Visiting Researcher Grant - International
Duration: October 08, 2012 - October 27, 2012
Field of knowledge:Interdisciplinary Subjects
Principal researcher:Luis Augusto Barbosa Cortez
Grantee:Luis Augusto Barbosa Cortez
Visiting researcher: Jeremy Woods
Visiting researcher institution: Imperial College London, England
Home Institution: Núcleo Interdisciplinar de Planejamento Energético (NIPE). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil

Abstract

The push for biofuels is the latest of these so-called "solutions" that is extensively promoted as an opportunity for Africa to develop energy security and alleviate rural poverty. The African continent produces 10.6 Mt of sugar and it consumes about16 Mt, so with its large land area and cheap labor, is an obvious target for biofuel developers. However, concern with population growth, demand for improving living standards, undernourishment, and misconceptions on land use for biofuel production, together with moral/ethical issues, continuous to cause concern as an overly ambitious promotion of biofuels could have serious economic, social, political, and environmental consequences if the right policies are not put in place. This is why it is becoming increasingly apparent that to produce biofuels while ignoring food security is no longer a realistic alternative and thus combining food security with biofuel production may be the best way forward. It has widely been assumed that increased production of energy from biomass requires a sacrifice in food security, particularly for the world's poor. Yet closer scrutiny suggests that modern bioenergy e.g. in the form of fuel, electricity or heat, could be developed in ways that actually enhance food security. This is particularly the case with sugarcane because high overall efficiency, low costs, adaptability and multitude of products it can be obtained from this crop. In Africa, where the incidence of food insecurity is highest, hunger persists because of multiple compounding factors: poverty, poorly developed agricultural infrastructure and support, degraded land and armed conflict. Underlying these factors is a legacy of three decades of neglect for agricultural development. For example, support for agricultural development in Africa has declined from $8 billion a year in the 1980s to less than $3 billion today. Consideration of the impact of bioenergy on African food security has tended to focus on land competition and to overlook bioenergy marked potential to promote rural development. However, potentially productive land is rather plentiful in much of Africa whereas lack of development is the most important underlying cause of hunger. This project has four fundamental pillars: 1) Strengthen research collaboration between IC and NIPE and other research institutions in UNICAMP (&) on biofuels and food security production 2) Close collaboration and specific contribution to the LACAf Project's objectives 3) Develop world-leading research network (Africa, Brazil and EU) on the role of bioenergy to support food security4)Close collaboration and contribution to the BSC project's objectives. (AU)

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