Over the past 20 years, the volume of sugarcane harvested and processed in Brazil has almost tripled to meet rising demand for sugarcane ethanol and bioelectricity. During this time, Brazilian food production has also experienced a dramatically grown.
Sugarcane cultivation is very efficient in comparison to other crops, producing more using less land. Sugarcane for ethanol production in Brazil currently occupies 6.7 million hectares, or 0.8% Brazil’s total territory. Yet using a reduced area, Brazil has been able to replace 48% of its gasoline needs with sugarcane ethanol, a renewable fuel, avoiding emissions from fossil fuels. In addition, it still generate additional volumes for export to the United States, Europe and other markets.
The real threat to food security is climate change. Higher temperatures, extreme weather events, water scarcity and increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere affect crops severely. As a clean, low carbon renewable fuel, sugarcane ethanol can help fight climate change. Being one of the leading alternative for the transportation sector, sugarcane ethanol produces on average 90% less CO2 emissions than gasoline.
In 2017 Brazil launched RenovaBio, a new National Biofuels Policy designed in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change. It is one of the world’s largest programs to decarbonize the transport sector and has been recognized by the International Energy Agency as an example to follow.