Thirtieth Lecture - Roberto Rodrigues

Roberto Rodrigues

Thirtieth Lecture - October 28, 2008

"Facing Energy Security in the Americas through Agroenergy Sources"

Speaker: Roberto Rodrigues, Former Minister of Agriculture and Co-President of the Inter-American Ethanol Commission

Latin America is being presented with an “extraordinary opportunity” to change the international energy matrix, according to Co-Chairman of the Inter-American Ethanol Commission, Roberto Rodrigues. The former Brazilian agriculture minister said ethanol as a fuel also presents an opportunity to mitigate global warming while generating wealth in the poorest countries, creating jobs and bringing about a paradigm shift in agriculture.

It is an excellent opportunity for Latin America to make a significant contribution in bringing about a better world, the former Brazilian minister declared in delivering his keynote address entitled, “Facing Energy Security in the Americas through Agroenergy Sources,” during the thirtieth conference in the Lecture Series of the Americas at the Organization of American States’ (OAS) historic Hall of the Americas.

Rodrigues called for greater use of ethanol, saying it represents an increasingly significant, environmentally-sound, sustainable and job-creating shift.” He cited among ethanol’s advantages the fact that “there are jobs in cane farming but not in extracting oil.”

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza, meanwhile, welcomed the guest of honor and the others attending the Lecture, stressing how any discussion of biofuels and development of agro-energy in general must make some reference to Roberto Rodrigues, given his “breadth of knowledge on agricultural issues.” Permanent Council Chairman Ambassador Reynaldo Cuadros Anaya of Bolivia introduced Rodrigues to those gathered for the event.

Rodrigues, who also chairs the Agrobusiness Council of the São Paulo Federation of Industries, provided statistics projecting that in seven or eight years the portion of cane that will be used to produce ethanol will increase to 51%, while the portion for sugar will fall to 32%, with 16% for bioelectricity. These figures compare to last year’s figures of 56% of cane for sugar, with 42% for ethanol.