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International Biofuels Conference Slated in Manila

Laguna, Philippines, October 06, 2007 --( How much do people know about biofuel production and its impacts?

Biofuels served as alternatives for imported oil before World War II. Germany, in particular, sold a type of gasoline that contains alcohol fermented from potatoes while grain alcohol was blended with petrol in Great Britain. Most recently, the US already has tax incentives, subsidies, and consumption mandates for biofuel production. The US plans to produce 15 billion gallons of biofuel by 2010.

The biofuel bandwagon has long been debated by governments all over the world. While biofuel offers the potential of huge new markets for agricultural producers, there are also growing concerns on its implications to food security, poverty and environments.

Biofuel is a renewable source of energy derived from organic matter. Current biofuel technologies use agricultural feedstock such as grains and sugar for ethanol and rapeseed and palm oil for biodiesel. Many developed and developing countries including those in the Southeast and East Asia have plans to expand the production of biofuel.

To address the many issues and uncertainties regarding biofuels, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Center for Chinese Agricultural Policy (CCAP), together with the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) of Canada and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) organized a workshop titled Biofuels Development in Southeast and East Asia: Policy Issues and Research Agenda to be held on 7-8 October 2007 at Renaissance Hotel, Makati City, Philippines.

This workshop will gather key stakeholders in energy development to discuss a systematic and research-based impact assessment initiative on biofuel development in the Southeast and East Asia region.

Specifically, discussions will focus on: (1) identifying key policy issues and agenda for research; (2) coming up with an overall framework for the impact assessment study; and (3) establishing the regional and country teams in the selected Southeast Asian countries that will undertake the assessment study.

International resource speakers will present global and regional perspectives on the topic as well as country papers on national biofuel initiatives. There will be representatives from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand. From the workshop, the organizers will develop a project proposal on the “Effects of Emerging Biofuels on Agricultural Development, Food Security, Poverty and the Environment: with specific focus on Southeast and East Asia.”

Contact Information
Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture
Maria Angela Abad

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