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Mexico's biofuel hopes

The Mexcican government believes the country's biofuel sector should move away from the use of maize and sugarcane (©FAO/1351/F. Botts)
The Mexcican government believes the country's biofuel sector should move away from the use of maize and sugarcane
©FAO/1351/F. Botts

Farmers in Mexico are to receive government-backing to grow crops for biofuel production. The country's new biofuel law, which comes into effect this year, aims to encourage the use of beets, yucca root and sorghum to produce biodiesel, while improving the livelihoods of some of the country's poorest farmers. The Mexican administration has shunned the use of maize and sugarcane due to the dominance of the US and Brazil in the bioethanol sector. Critics have argued that the new law will hit the poor hardest as more agricultural land will be dedicated to the production of so-called "green" fuels, forcing up the price of food.

Increased world demand for maize for the production of bioethanol pushed up the price of Mexico's staple, triggering street protests across the country in February 2007.

Date published: January 2008

 

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