A well known Physicist urges a review of the Biofuels law on the grounds that oil bearing plants do not utilize sunlight as much as the food crops and therefore requires additional fertilizer. In the end, the quantities of oil derived from the plants do not really make the effort worthwhile. In addition, there is the scare that we will end up planting more oil yielding plants and maybe, convert our food crops into oil plantations. Should that happen, it will be detrimental to our food production efforts.
Here are my initial views:
ON LAND CONVERSION:
- I agree that no matter how we try to outlaw it, crop conversion is inevitable if the farmers find more money in planting Biofuels instead of rice, corn or food bearing crops. However, should food become scarce, its prices will also increase and therefore, farmers will again convert their plantations into rice (food) farms. I say, let economics take its course. Just don’t let anybody force the farmers to do something that they do not want to.
- It has been noted that the government owns millions of hectares of arable but unutilized land. Why not allocate it to both big and small private investors? Economics will again dictate the optimal use of the land.
- The President of PNOC also said that rice fields are not conducive to biofuels meaning, Jathropa will not grow optimally on the kind of soil being used as rice fields.
ON THE OPTIMAL USE OF THE SUN:
- The PNOC President also said that there are varieties of Jathropha that yields a lot of oil. In my mind, there’s a possibility that the scientist have not studied all biofuel varieties.
- Previously, I have also been told that there are trees that bear really high yields of bio fuels. One reason why it is not yet being commercially introduced is that it will take a few years (after planting) before it will really yield real money for the farmer. Therefore, Jatropha, which yields money only after 6 months is being used to prime the people into investing. Eventually, the better varieties will be introduced.
As for now, my initial thoughts are.. “Let the market dictate!”
Let us not forget that we have plenty of problems that needs to be tackled all at the same time.
- We need to increase our food production
- There’s the growing population to feed
- There’s also this growing demand and increasing price petroleum.
Let’s discuss this issue… Ciao!