IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Biofuels, food security and compensatory subsidies

Listed author(s):
  • Geraldo Sant'ana de Camargo Barros
Registered author(s):

    Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between food security and cleaner energy and evaluate the financial viability of both ethanol and biodiesel productions in Southern Brazil, the current battleground region among food, ethanol and biodiesel. Southeastern Brazil was chosen to carry the analyses because that is the current battleground region for food, ethanol and biodiesel. Design/methodology/approach - The analyses to be carried out encompass the following steps: evaluate the investment needs for the ethanol and biodiesel programs in Southeast Brazil; gather information on financial costs, converting them to economic costs to evaluate the economic desirability of the programs; evaluate the possible subsidy needed to fulfill the programs' goals; and evaluate the biofuel-food tradeoff under some different scenarios. Findings - The conclusion is that Brazil, despite being the most efficient producer of ethanol, may very well be forced to use compensatory subsidies for ethanol production if the USA persists in imposing importing tariffs on that Brazilian commodity. On food security matters, the production of ethanol has to compete with beef production, whose prices present a rising trend because of strong demand in emerging countries. For the same reason biodiesel becomes less viable the stronger the demand for vegetable oil. Originality/value - The competition among these three alternative uses of natural resources will become tougher in the coming decades as, on the one hand, consumption of food and energy increases at high rates. Developed countries, on the other hand, continue to be heavy polluters and at the same time create all sorts of obstacles to the expansion of food and clean energy production elsewhere.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Emerald Group Publishing in its journal China Agricultural Economic Review.

    Volume (Year): 2 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 4 (November)
    Pages: 433-455

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:eme:caerpp:v:2:y:2010:i:4:p:433-455
    Contact details of provider: Web page:

    Order Information: Postal: Emerald Group Publishing, Howard House, Wagon Lane, Bingley, BD16 1WA, UK
    Web: Email:

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    in new window

    1. Falck-Zepeda, Jose Benjamin & Msangi, Siwa & Sulser, Timothy B. & Zambrano, Patricia, 2008. "Biofuels and Rural Economic Development in Latin America and the Caribbean," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6113, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    2. Zeller, Manfred & Grass, Martin, 2007. "Prospects and Challenges of Biofuels in Developing Countries," 106th Seminar, October 25-27, 2007, Montpellier, France 7945, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    3. Harrison, R. Wes, 2009. "The Food versus Fuel Debate: Implications for Consumers," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Southern Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 41(02), August.
    4. de Gorter, Harry & Just, David R., 2007. "The economics of U.S. ethanol import tariffs with a consumption mandate and tax credit," MPRA Paper 5504, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Harrison, R. Wes, 2009. "The Food versus Fuel Debate: Implications for Consumers," Journal of Agricultural and Applied Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 41(02), pages 493-500, August.
    6. Schneider, Uwe A. & Llull, Christian & Havlik, Petr, 2008. "Bioenergy and Food Security Modeling Income Effects in a Partial Equilibrium Model," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 44176, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    7. Mitchell, Donald, 2008. "A note on rising food prices," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4682, The World Bank.
    8. Adelaja, Adesoji O. & Hailu, Yohannes G., 2008. "Renewable Energy Development and Implications to Agricultural Viability," 2008 Annual Meeting, July 27-29, 2008, Orlando, Florida 6132, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eme:caerpp:v:2:y:2010:i:4:p:433-455. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Virginia Chapman)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.