Pangan di Era Biofuel

ROMA – Dalam beberapa tahun terakhir, biofuel (bahan bakar nabati) telah menjadi pokok perdebatan. Bagi sejumlah pihak, sumber energi terbarukan yang dihasilkan dari bahan organik ibaratnya sama dengan tongkat sihir dalam perjuangan melawan perubahan iklim. Namun yang lainnya memandang biofuel sebagai ancaman terhadap keberlangsungan hidup, sebab tanaman yang digunakan untuk menghasilkan biofuel harus bersaing dengan lahan pertanian dan air yang sebaliknya dapat dimanfaatkan untuk memproduksi pangan.

Akan tetapi ini merupakan dikotomi yang salah. Pilihannya bukanlah antara pangan atau bahan bakar. Kita dapat memanfaatkan keduanya. Jika diterapkan dengan baik, biofuel dapat menjadi sarana yang efektif untuk meningkatkan keamanan pangan melalui penyediaan sumber energi berkelanjutan dan terjangkau bagi petani miskin.

Di beberapa negara-negara land-locked di Afrika, harga bensin mencapai tiga kali lipat dibandingkan rata-rata harga global, sehingga harga bahan bakar merupakan salah satu hambatan utama menuju pertumbuhan pertanian.  Perluasan penggunaan biofuel di kawasan ini dapat mendorong produktivitas dan menciptakan kesempatan kerja baru, khususnya di wilayah pedesaan. Dampak ini bisa diperluas jika tambahan permintaan akan bahan baku untuk biofuel dapat dipenuhi oleh petani keluarga dan produsen skala kecil.

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