Bioenergy and Food Security: Markets, Institutions and Regulation

Bernardo M.T. Reynolds S. Pacheco de Carvalho


The discussion about bioenergy solutions and respective interaction with food security concerns continues to be a difficult subject in the international arena. The academic efforts to address the issue should be based on facts and models that allow a sound decision process. However, beyond theoretical considerations and model implications, the facts based on case studies provide, probably, the most powerful arguments, mainly when they are supported by some rationalization and a chosen reference model. The research we want to discuss is based on the study of the two major countries and “players” in the bioenergy initiatives and related agricultural changes driven by that process, USA and Brazil. The key factors to study the subject are markets, institutions and regulation needs, within a systematic approach, beginning with sustainability considerations (environment impacts), market behaviour and food prices and opportunities “versus” risks at local and global levels. For agribusiness opportunities it seems evident that bioenergy alternative is a powerful area for intervention mainly in less developed countries with available land resources. On the other hand, markets and mainly food markets need to be under consideration which might require institutional innovation and different forms of regulation, both public and private regulation. 
More regulation does not mean, necessarily, less markets and more state intervention. In some cases it can be a decisive factor for better markets and more market economic driven changes. The actual research also provides examples of private regulation with good results.

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ISSN 2194-511X


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