Biomass for food or fuel: Is there a dilemma?

Sep 2006

After centuries of daily struggle for food, it takes our breath away that today a farmer is able to single-handedly cultivate hundreds of hectares to produce sufficient food to feed thousands of families at the other side of the planet. In spite of a threefold increase in world population since the Second World War, the fastest increase ever in human history, available calories per capita have grown by nearly 25%. This truly remarkable feat is the combined result of academic research, government policy and private investment. It shows that agricultural research has been one of the most rewarding sectors in terms of investment.
We can learn a lesson from this: human capacity to innovate is great and allows us to be confident that collectively we are capable of innovation and rapid change.
The future of bio-energy is closely linked to agriculture and food, and in the future of agriculture, bioenergy will play an increasing role.

By: L. O. Fresco (University of Amsterdam)

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