Los alimentos en la era de los biocombustibles

ROMA – Estos últimos años los biocombustibles fueron tema de controversia. Para algunos, producir energía renovable a partir de materia orgánica es como tener la varita mágica contra el cambio climático. Para otros los biocombustibles son una amenaza existencial, porque los cultivos usados en su producción compiten por tierra y agua que podrían destinarse a la producción de alimentos.

Pero es una falsa antinomia. No se trata de elegir entre alimentos y combustibles, ya que podemos tener las dos cosas. Si se dan ciertas condiciones, los biocombustibles pueden servir para aumentar la seguridad alimentaria, al dar a los agricultores pobres una fuente de energía sostenible y barata.

En algunos países africanos sin salida al mar, el precio de los combustibles es uno de los principales obstáculos a la expansión de la agricultura, ya que la gasolina cuesta el triple del promedio mundial. Aumentar el uso de biocombustibles en estas regiones ayudaría a mejorar la productividad y crear empleo, especialmente en áreas rurales. Efecto que podría incluso ser mayor si la demanda adicional de materia prima para los biocombustibles fuera cubierta por granjas familiares y pequeños productores.

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