One clear inference emerges out of the escalating global debate on biofuels: both from the environment and the economic angles, it is the South that should be supplying the demands of the North. So ethanol may well offer an opportunity that India should develop a holistic strategy for.
With corn-ethanol under growing attack for seriously hurting food security, the US government is being asked to lower its protectionist tariffs and switch to sugar cane-ethanol from Brazil. Not only is sugar cane found to be the far more sustainable source but, as OECD and IEA, among others, say, developing countries’ ecological systems are best suited for biomass production.
Brazil, of course, is ready to take on what could become a large US- and EU-based market. But India, where the ethanol story is still a non-starter and where it is easily brushed off by terming it a sop for the sugar lobby, needs to think hard.