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 significant growth.
Sugarcane cultivation is very efficient in comparison to other crops. While using a reduced area, Brazil has been able to replace 47% of its gasoline needs with sugarcane ethanol, avoiding emissions from fossil fuels. In addition, it still generates additional volumes for export to the United States, Europe and other markets.
Reports by the European Commission found that with large agricultural areas, high self-sufficiency in food and raw materials, and processes of urbanization already completed, Brazil has been able to harmonize domestic food security and biofuel production. In fact, the expansion of sugarcane production on degraded pastures with the parallel increased yields of food crops and livestock intensification has been said to have decreased land competition between food and sugarcane in recent years.
As a clean, low carbon renewable fuel, sugarcane ethanol can help fight climate change, the real threat to food security. Higher temperatures, extreme weather events, water scarcity and increased concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere severely affect crop production. Sugarcane ethanol avoids CO2 emissions by up to 90% when compared to gasoline.