The sharp increase in the price of petroleum products, the finite nature of fossil fuels, growing
environmental concerns, especially related to greenhouse gas emissions, and health and safety
considerations are forcing the search for new energy sources and alternative ways to power the world´s
motor vehicles. Biofuels – fuels derived from biomass – may offer a promising alternative. Some
analysts estimate that substituting by 2020 up to 20 per cent of mineral fuels consumed worldwide
with biofuels is a feasible option.
Some specific challenges for developing countries include:
- avoiding diverting too much land from food production to energy crops
- avoiding sharp rises in the prices of food, especially for net-food importing developing countries
- finding ways to ensure that small farmers do not face undue barriers to participation in the sector
- gaining access to relevant energy technology, including advanced technologies that are expected to reap greater environmental benefits.
Conscious decisions, sharing of information and data collection, organizational strategies, government support
services, technical and financial assistance will be necessary to minimize the risks and enhance the
benefits that emerging biofuel markets may present to developing countries.