ERIC Number: ED183486
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Food or Fuel: New Competition for the World's Cropland. Worldwatch Paper 35.
Brown, Lester R.
The paper explores how continuously expanding world demand for food, feed, and fuel is generating pressure to restructure agricultural land use. In addition, problems related to transfer of agricultural crop land to energy crops are discussed. The technology of energy crops has developed to the point where large-scale commercial production of alcohol from high-yielding energy crops appears to be favorable. As gasoline prices reach $2.00 per gallon, gasahol becomes not only feasible but profitable, particularly when factors such as subsidies and by-product credit are considered. National plans to produce energy crops have been formulated in the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. Brazil has already implemented a large scale alcohol fuel program based principally on sugar cane. On the negative side, however, Brazil has already felt the impact of rapidly increasing food prices. The millions who are at the bottom of the economic ladder in Brazil and elsewhere, will be increasingly squeezed as the more affluent increase their claims to cropland. The conclusion is that decision makers in developing and developed nations should carefully assess the impact of energy crop iniatives on food prices and availability before encouraging widespread conversion of cropland into energy crops. (DB)
Descriptors: Agriculture, Developed Nations, Developing Nations, Economic Development, Food, Fuels, Futures (of Society), Global Approach, Land Use, Rural Development, Rural Economics, Site Development, Use Studies, World Problems
Worldwatch Institute, 1776 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20036 ($2.00)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: George Gund Foundation, Cleveland, OH.; United Nations Environment Program, New York, NY.
Authoring Institution: Worldwatch Inst., Washington, DC.