UN-FAO: Thailand's Bioenergy Development Plan is Sustainable, Will Benefit Farmershttp://www.fao.org/world/regional/rap/news_detail.asp?event_id=39539
Findings from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) Project indicate that "Thailand has the means to realize the Government's plan for the development of the biofuels industry in a sustainable manner, without negatively impacting on food security". The roadmap for biofuels development program of Thailand is embodied in the "Thai Alternative Energy Development Plan", which aims to expand biofuels production to 5 billion liters by 2022. In order to achieve the targets, "total cassava production will need to grow 25 percent from 31.5 million tonnes in 2010 to over 40 million tonnes by 2022 largely through yield improvements. Production of crude palm oil is expected to double from 1.8 million tonnes to 3.4 millions tonnes over the same period following expansion of oil palm plantations".
The findings of the FAO-BEFS project were presented recently at a high-level forum, co-hosted by the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board and FAO in Bangkok. Among the highlights of the findings are: (1) "Biofuels production in Thailand is already economically competitive and offers measurable greenhouse advantages over fossil transport fuels", (2) better farm productivity will bring benefits to Thailand's biofuel sector in terms of increased farm incomes, and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions; but in order to ensure sustainability of biofuels production, "significant land or crop use changes in feedstock production must be avoided and biofuel producers should continue to identify opportunities to utilize renewable sources and wastes in the production process", (3) "agricultural research and extension need to be further promoted, in particular associated to plant pest management, land and water use efficiency, varietal improvements, plant nutrient and soil fertility", (4) the North-east region of Thailand was identified as the target area where substantial investments in agricultural productivity will be needed.
This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)