12 Dezember 2007

Biofuels research and development in the developing world

Biofuels are described by some as “absolutely catastrophic” because of their potential consequences, by others as “the driving force for development in some of the world’s poorest regions”. Under the heading “Spotlight on Biofuels: The research challenge”, the Science and Development Network has published several extensive articles assessing the implications of the dynamic development for developing countries from various viewpoints. Some articles focus on aspects like farmers’ risks or opportunities for sugar-producing countries, others analyse the situation in Africa and Brazil. The authors describe the present situation, explore causes and interconnections and name activities and needs concerning research and development efforts.


  • EDITORIAL: Biofuels – Let’s look before we leap
    A commitment to biofuels should be based on a careful assessment of their prospective benefits and costs, not a blind leap of faith.
  • OPINION: Biofuels – benefits and risks for developing countries
    Biofuels offer huge potential, but pose challenges best countered with strong and coherent development policies, says S. Arungu-Olende.
  • OPINION: Research needed to cut risks to biofuel farmers
    Dryland farmers are growing novel crops for biofuel, but domestication and research into yields and pests is still needed, says William Dar.
  • OPINION: Biofuel revolution threatens food security for the poor
    Strong international policies are needed to stop the biofuel revolution threatening food security for the poor, says Siwa Msangi.
  • OPINION: Building on opportunities offered by biofuel production
    Biofuel production offers a lifeline to sugar-producing countries hit by the European Union’s 2006 sugar reforms, argues Maureen Wilson.
  • FEATURE: Sugarcane ethanol – Brazil’s biofuel success
    Brazil’s successful sugarcane ethanol industry owes much to massive investment in infrastructure and research, reports Carla Almeida.
  • FEATURE: Biofuel – Africa’s new oil?
    Biofuel holds promise for Africa but research is not yet in place to fully reap the rewards, or analyse the pitfalls, reports Kimani Chege.

All texts are available without charge online at www.scidev.net.

(Cf. news of 2007-12-10, 2007-10-22 and 2007-03-02.)

Source: Science and Development Network, 2007-12-06.

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