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Biofuels innovations in Brazil: replicable prospects for sustainable development in Sudan.

By James Solomon Padiet December 26, 2008 eI| It is said that diplomats are legalized spies send by their countries to report back what is happening in the host country or its neighbourhood with the intention of making use of the opportunities available at best cases, and also pre-empting emerging threats at worst cases. I happened to be one of these spies send to Brazil by the government of the Sudan. However, my espionage is a bit different from the traditional ones that focus mostly on military and political intelligence. My focus is neither about Brazilian best Soccer nor Volleyball Sports. It is not even about Brazilian Samba Dance, February Carnivals or Tourism Beaches where men enjoy seeing the best parts of semi-necked beautiful women made in the image of Biblical Eve as is the common perception of Brazil by many people around the world. My focus is a positive espionage on the Brazilian innovations in bioethanol energy matrix and its investment prospects. Therefore, what I intend to present here is how I optimistically think the Brazilian evolutionary green revolution in the sugarcane farming, processing, and business could be emulated in the tropical Sudan for rolling the wheel of sustainable development from bioethanol, sugar, bioelectricity, bioplastics and other bio-alcohol-chemical and biologics commodities that are engineered from sugarcane biomass using efficient technological conversion routes, logistics and infrastructure that are developed self-sufficiently out of articulate continuous scientific research and development. Both the tropical Brazil and the tropical Sudan are great in crude oil reserves and vast arable lands for agricultural productivity (including plants and animals eIf fish & birds). The Federative Republic of Brazil (with geographical size of 924,511,292 km2 and population of 191,869,683 human beings [2008 deduction from 2000 Census] living in 26 decentralized federal states in addition to the Federal District of Bras[R]ilia) has recently started to do very well economically because of the newly discovered big quantity of petroleum under the salty Atlantic waters of this country, in addition to its constant renaissance in agricultural sector, especially the bioethanol production and marketing at national and international levels. Because of these discoveries, Brazil no longer regards bioethanol as an alternative fuels for meeting its satiable wants, but rather as a complementary source of energy alongside with petroleum naphtha or methanol. The new computerized technologies that can blend both black and green fuels for use in machines without causing environmental hazards or price hike has become the nude truth about the success of Brazilian sugar-based ethanol. The geographical size of the Sudan is 2,505,805 km2 most of which is affected by desertification in the North. The estimated population for 2008 is about 42 millions human beings located in 25 decentralized states. And Southern part of the Sudan with its 10 states is almost an all-arable land with an area of 639,501 km2 out of which only 10,860 km2 has been cultivated primitively. This means 358,641 km2 of the total area of Southern Sudan remains virgin; ready for marriage and fertility at any time from now. Sugarcane plantations for producing sugar staple, bioethanol, bioelectricity, bioplastics and other useful bio-etc... could be an attractive bridegroom; given Brazilian experience. 1. SOMETHING GOOD IS HAPPENING IN BRAZIL In the recent history of search for diversified energy matrixes due to unstable prices and depletion of petroleum fuels in the world, the Brazilian sugarcane-based ethanol (or call it eIEbioethanol' in environmental promotion term) has emerged as a competitive fuel for securing the needed energy for automobiles and industrial machines in the contemporary world. This new biofuel has been tested to be a good complementary and alternative source of energy when blended with gasoline fuel or used purely in computerized Flex-Engines and industrial machines that have less chimneys for smoke airing. Thus, the discovery of bioethanol has made the environmental activists very optimistic about the continuity of the planet earth because the chain of its production and use does less harm to Mother Nature. Compared to black fossil fuels of coal, petroleum and natural gas, the meteorological scientists say that bioethanol does not emit risky black smoke into the sky. This could be traced back to the hibernated discoveries of Rudolf Diesel who first extracted biodiesel from palm oil and Henry Ford's who first used bioethanol from sugarcane: I foresee the time when industry shall no longer denude the forests which require generations to mature, nor use up the mines which were ages in the making, but shall draw its raw material largely from the annual products of the fields. I am convinced that we shall be able to get out of the yearly crops most of the basic materials which we now get from forest and mine [Henry Ford: Modern Mechanix, 1934]. According to well-to-tank analysis of fuels used by vehicles, Brazilian sugarcane bioethanol has an energy balance ratio of 9:3 units of clean and renewable fuel for every unit of fossil energy spent in its production and transportation stages. Bioethanol produced from other feedstock (like sugarbeet, cereals and grains) has only an energy balance ration of 2:1. And according to Agronne National Laboratory in USA, fossil fuels has lower energy balance ration compared to biofuels, especially sugarcane ethanol. For example, for each unit of fossil energy consumed during the production process of biofuels from corn, only 0:8 unit of fossil energy is generated. In simple explanation, the little smoke that gets into the air in the process of distillation and utilization of sugar-based ethanol is captured and neutralized by the green leaves in the sugarcane fields through photosynthesis cycle. There is also a significant balance between mega joules of energy consumed and energy produced in the technological processing of bioethanol from sugarcanes. These scientific calculations have won Brazil carbon credits in accordance with the UN Green Energy Assembly which led to birth of 1997 Kyoto Protocol of Clean Development Mechanism (CMD) for the world. On the business side, it is being evidenced that the new Flex-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) are conquering the consumer markets in Brazil and beyond because of the discovery of bioethanol. The business from the blending of sugarcane-based ethanol with fossils-based methanol of gasoline is becoming more lucrative, partly because of less government taxation on it. Many international automobile companies are being observed revising their production models so that they could manufacture and supply engines that run on pure bioethanol or a mixture with gasoline. This is being done after testing safety of bioethanol fuel in engines in terms of octane rating, volatility, oxidation, hydration, electrical combustibility, temperature moderation, deposits, corrosion and engine stability. Though it has been tested that bioethanol alters some properties of gasoline engines, yet it has been proven that these have minor effects that cannot damage engines. According to Brazilian National Carmakers Association (Anfavea), the outlook for the FFVs market is booming in Brazil as 90% of the new light cars were sold in 2008. About 6 million of these cars are now running on Brazilian roads with a forecast of 10 million by 2010 (about 40% of the Brazilian light vehicle fleet). Companies offering FFVs include Citro[R]'n, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Mitsubishi, Peugeot, Renault, Toyota and Volkswagen with Hyundai and Nissan to join the race in 2009. In addition to the booming business on Brazilian roads, business in the air is also taking the pace as some new aircrafts are being designed with Flex-Engines. This is enhanced by the cooperation of Brazilian Petroleum Company (Petrobras) who are willing to construct 100,000 km pipelines in Brazil for faster transportation of blended bioethanol-gasoline from producing stations to consumer locations and markets. This coordinated turn-out of automakers and sugarcane companies is being evaluated by economists and business investment experts as a revolutionary igniter of Brazilian economy on a new basis. This is good news to Brazil because the growing economy will be accompanied by more job opportunities that are capable of reducing poverty of the poor while maintaining wealth of the rich. The Brazilian Agriculture Families (Agricultura Familiar) are being encouraged here to generate more income from sugarcane farming and other related agribusiness. For example, the sugarcane and bioethanol industry sector in Brazil employs about one million people with 72.9% having formal labour contracts for job security and average minimum monthly remuneration of R$ 1000 (equivalent to US$ 500). These employees are given necessary safety equipment, physical exercise sessions (including different sports) and balanced diet for ensuring their well-being in sugarcane fields and factories. According to Brazilian sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA), Sugarcane industry provide rural workers with education and retraining projects that can keep the retrenched workers employable despite the introduction of mechanized planters and harvesters in sugarcane fields. Examples of such programmes are training in areas like electricians, gardeners, and truck and tractor drivers. At the corporate level, UNICA has established a mechanism of partnership with the Federation of Rural Workers based on continuous Round Table Dialogue for negotiating the improvement of the working conditions and fair remuneration packages for the employees. Amongst the various projects implemented is eIuCities for Peace.eIN This project is aimed at planning, organizing and implementing activities that can help promote culture of non-violence in towns and cities. According to UNICA, Brazilian sugarcane cultivation has occupied 7.8 million hectares (2.2% of the country's total arable land) with 390 sugar and bioethanol Mills nationwide but mainly in South-central with harvest periods from April to December (where Sao Paulo State alone produces 60% of the 85% total sugarcane income in Brazil), and in North-eastern with harvest periods from September to March every year. The annual gross earnings from sugarcane products, especially the bioethanol sector stood at around US$ 20 billion in 2008/2009 crop year where 65% of this was generated from local consumption and 15% from exports. With integrated use of new technology and mechanization, Brazil is now producing 26.90 billions of litres of sugarcane bioethanol. This productivity corresponds to increase in sugarcane production to 569 million tons for 2008/2009 compared to 426 m tons in 2006/2007, 386 m tons in 2004/2005, 321m tons in 2002/2003 and 307m tons in 1999/2000. According to Brazilian bioethanol proponents, Brazil uses only 1.1% of its useful land (of 8.51 million km2) to produce sufficient quantities of bioethanol without reducing food production or raising food prices. For example, according to Brazilian National Food Supply Company (Conab), in 2007/2008 grain and oilseed harvest has doubled to reach 144 million metric tons and also Brazil remains the world's leading exporter of beef, coffee, orange juice, poultry, soybeans and sugar. In other words, with its high-productivity and biodiversity in agriculture, Brazil is not just feeding itself better but also it is providing food security with reasonable prices to many agriculture barren countries. According to Brazilian sugarcane bioethanol zealots, the international hike of food prices is not caused by bioethanol production but rather by protectionism against international liberalization of agricultural trade by USA and EU who use tariffs and subsidies against imports of food materials from countries like Brazil. Also economic shift following higher income and consumption in Asia, besides commodities speculation on the part of investment and huge funds have contributed to this crisis. Further, the higher price of oil has had an enormous influence on the explosion in food prices because it increases transportation, energy and fertilizer costs. The financial crisis in USA has also affected the income of many people due to reduction in job opportunities. According to bioethanol defenders, slavery which had been associated with deteriorating working conditions of manual labourers in sugarcane plantation is not true anymore in Brazil because UNICA and the government of Brazil has a legal social responsibility mechanism with frequent government inspection for ensuring a fair remuneration package for the workers in sugarcane fields and distilling mills (about 844,398 employees nationwide). Also the introduction of harvesting machines will make this accusation superfluous and obsolete as far as work ethics is concerned; no slavery to conscienceless machines! They continue to argue that bioethanol production and use is a viable way for combating hunger and poverty, especially in rural areas where bioethanol innovation is capable of availing cheap and renewable electricity without negating other activities. Further, this revolution will balance the oil energy monopoly by 20 countries because it will cut down on petroleum imports as it is capable of providing new alternative biofuels export opportunities for over 100 countries who now produce sugarcane in Latin America, Caribbean, Africa, South and Southeast Asia, Europe, USA and Oceania. According to them, bioethanol will be consolidated as a global energy commodity only when it is produced, used and traded in big quantities by many more countries in an atmosphere of liberalized free market economy, far from politicking. This energy paradigm shift is needed because biofuel is a key element in any global solution to the growing challenges of energy security, climatic warming and environmental degradation. However, despite the good news and defends of Brazilian green innovations, the new bioethanol is feared and suspected to be bringing bad news to livestock keepers in savannahs and hunters in the jungles and forests of Brazil. The pessimists are prophesising that the expansion of the sugarcane plantations due to the rising demand of bioethanol in the automobile markets is going to cause deforestation and depletion of sweet water in the green Amazon and Pantanal regions. They say that, the few indigenous Red Indians who survived from the wrath of white colonialists, and who (so far now) make their daily livings from hunting in forests and fishing in waters, will be threatened to extinct vulnerably in urban centres that get piled up and classified on the basis of rich-poor around sugarcane schemes. Not only this, but also the pastoralists will not get enough pastures to raise their animals and this will reduce meat production where Brazil has been the leading producer and exporter in the world. Further, the critics argue that since sugarcane plantations in Brazil and other countries of America is connected to slave labour, the conditions of the workers in the sugarcane fields and factories is going to get worst. Many of the manual labourers may become refugees and IDPs as a result of displacement caused by the new introduced planting and harvesting machines for faster work and more productivity in sugarcane industry. They back their criticism by referring to History of slave trade, especially on the hard-working and skin-tough black African who were massively hunted by the white and Arab slave traders and exported to North and South America to be sold to the rich white farmers, who in turn, would exploit their energies in sugarcane, tobacco and cotton fields without any monetary payroll to compensate their labour. Because of these fears and other factors, Brazilian bioethanol innovators have faced some difficulties here and there, especially the market tariffs and subsidies imposed on this product by USA and European Union. Nonetheless, Brazil has been determined to avoid the hurry Hare-like race towards the defeat that results from overconfidence. Instead, the Brazilian optimists have kept patiently to the slow Tortoise-like race that is destined for sure victory and success based on keen observation, repeated experimentation and scientific argumentation of certainty from mastering the best sustainable knowledge, technology and lucrative business about sugarcane and its advanced products like bioethanol and other co-products like bioelectricity that are becoming more demandable in the contemporary supply and consumption markets. USA and EU are now softening their stands, not really to favour Brazil's sugarcane bioethanol but to fill in the possible energy gaps due to instabilities surrounding petroleum naphtha in the 20 top producing countries. To go beyond the surface a bit, it is said that bioethanol economic gospel may raise Brazil to a status of a Developed Country in near future. This new identity may enable Brazil to secure a permanent seat in the United Nations diplomacy and other important international bodies where the World's important decisions are made. With economic power at hand, Brazil is now almost speaking authoritatively as a super political power in international arenas. It is said that a country that have vast reserves of arable lands, sweet water, petroleum naphtha and advanced technology, and uses these for generating energy for itself and for the world, will automatically develop a weight in international political and economic balances. Though Brazil is competing with Europe and USA, yet it has a great chance and choice of winning energy battles-of-interests as the sign of times tells about the current neo-economic cold war. Intelligent and integrated prudent socio-economic and political approaches with well-synchronized firm decisions have made Brazil progressive in achieving sustainable development from bioethanol industry and business. With public-private sectors partnerships and continuous dialogue at local and international levels, Brazil is managing to surmount the critical questions about sugarcane plantations and bioethanol industry in regard to land tenure, labour (human and machines), capital and investment, demand and supply, and marketing and recycled consumptions nationally and internationally. By constant search for integrated answers with broader avenues of understanding, and by using its liberal economic system harmonised by morals and social responsibilities, the Federative Republic of Brazil has succeeded to: 1) Improve the productivity of sugarcane in arable lands that are suitable for planting and growing genetically improved varieties of sugarcane plant, using scientific directives from researchers and experts in this plant; 2) Improve the mechanized plantation, harvest and transport loading of sugarcane, particularly by avoiding the pre-harvest burning of the straw as well as avoiding steep slop planting; 3) Improve computerized Biochemistry and Thermophysics technologies of sucrose fermentation and Cellulosic Hydrolyses and Gasifications of sugarcane biomass (straw, bagasse, molasses and vinasse) in advanced factories that are well-equipped and electrified for efficient extraction of sugar, bioethanol and other useful products after loosing the bonds of Lignin from the sugarcane cells, using acids and enzymatic reactions for digesting, separating and manipulating the carbon, oxygen and hydrogen molecules to form new compounds the are more needed for contemporary consumers. Hemicellulosing Technology for manipulating the Pentose (C5) and other compounds like Hexose is also being used for more productivity, and the produced bioethanol is stored and distributed either as Hydrous (liquid) or Anhydrous (solid). Bioelectricity is also generated from sugarcane biomass (about 1.800 Mega Watts and 3% of Brazil's overall need) in addition to bioplastics that are produced using Poly-hydroxi-butrate(PHB) Technology; 4) Increase local and international awareness using mechanisms like conferences, summits and promotion advertisement about the importance of bioethanol from sugarcane plant and the need to use it as the best renewable and secure energy source in the advancing world, especially in transportation sector where vehicles and aircrafts are enormously increasing on the roads and in air respectively; and 5) Improve government-private sectors partnerships with continuous encouragement and support for bioethanol innovations in Brazil and in the friendly tropical countries that are willing to cooperate with Brazil in improving the productivity and supply of bioethanol in the world, especially by reducing taxation and custom levies on this environmentally safe energy commodity whose production cycle has proven to be capable of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, particularly with the help of carbon cycle photosynthesis in sugarcane green leaves. According to Brazilian plant doctors, the Phytosanitary Health of sugarcane plant relies on periodic renewal of the planted canes and diversification of varieties. Once this is done, sugarcane becomes more capable of maintaining high productivity as a result of improved genetic resistance to diseases, pests and soil infertility. The improved genetic technology and research is now enabling Brazil to harvest the sugarcane in only 6 - 7 months, though some experts are opposing this and recommending 15 eIf 18 months for better concentration of sucrose levels within the Stalks and between the Tips of sugarcane plant. The Brazilian experts seems to have understood the wisdom of British Philosopher, John Locke(1632 eIf 1704) who said that waste of natural resources after mixing human labour with it, is the core cause of deadly human's and nature's conflicts on planet earth. The new development paradigm shift that is being propagated by Brazil is based on the fact that reserves of natural resources (be they energy, water or metals) are limited and should be utilized wisely to meet some of the most pressing human satiable wants of the generations that have invented so many fuel-consuming facilities and technologies that make their life comfortable and easy-going. For example, the hypothesis of eIuOil peakeIN or eIuHubbert CurveeIN foresees the future problem: Maximum extraction and use of Petroleum Naphtha will lead to its depletion because this fuel is not renewable. Thus a global bioethanol market will probably become an interesting pressing reality in a few years ahead. Righteous political will and efficient business management by the Brazilian people who have been inspired and directed by scientific and professional conclusions from field research and data, is the secret in the progressive success of Brazil's biofuels revolution and sustainable development for 21st Century. Brazilian experts and decision-makers have been working to make something good for humankind to happen in their country and then be marketed to other countries in a liberal manner. They have acknowledged that in few decades back God has blessed the cold-weathered green countries with Fossil Coal as a source of energy as well as desert-weathered countries with Fossil Petroleum as sources of energy for facilitating development functions. Now, another blessing has been poured down by the divine providence to save the world from the unwise overuse of fossil fuels for energy making. God chose Brazil as the spiking centre for producing a new source of energy from sugarcane and other sugary and starchy green plants that grow on wetlands with moderate climate, balanced by dry and wet annual seasons. But in order to avoid intruding into the well-established traditional sources of food security and to avoid deforestation, Brazil has found it a moral obligation to keep away from producing biofuels from corn, wheat and sorghum as done in USA; or from sugarbeet and cereals flours as done in Europe, and from sweet potatoes, monioc or timber as done in China and Thailand, and etc. Brazil has been encouraged by the following statements from the higher well-informed decision-makers of the UNDP and the World Bank: International trade could play a much larger role in expanding markets for alternative fuels. Brazil is more efficient than either the European Union or the United States producing ethanol. Moreover, sugar-based ethanol is more efficient at cutting carbon emissions. The problem is that imports of Brazilian ethanol are restricted by high import tariffs. Removing these tariffs would generate gains not just for Brazil, but also for climate change mitigation (UNDP, 2007 Human Development Report). We need action in the US and Europe to ease subsidies mandates and tariffs on biofuels from corn and oilseeds. The US's use of corn for ethanol has consumed more than 75 percent of the increase in global corn production over the past three years. Policymakers should consider eIusafety valveseIN that ease these policies when prices are high. The choice does not have to be food or fuel. Cutting tariffs on ethanol imported into the US and European Union markets would encourage the output of more efficient sugarcane biofuels that do not compete directly with food production and expand opportunities for poorer countries, including in Africa (World Bank, 2008). Brazil has now awaken from hibernation and has started activism for convincing the whole world (especially the critics and prophets of doom for biofuels from sugarcane) to build trust in this new revolution and paradigm shift in energy use for sustainable rolling of development wheels. They go around, and with the lead from President Luiz In[R]ccio Lula da Silva, they keep knocking at the doors of the less-informed and prejudiced people trying to convince them to trust the new revolution by saying: Eh look! A new Energy Gospel has descended down from heaven to Brazil and you should come to see it and help Brazil in its missionary zeal to evangelize and baptise the whole world with this biodegradable and renewable green energy that is capable of mitigating the loudening and scaring alarms on energy security and global warming, which might reduce the earth to human nothingness if not neutralized by alternative clean energy sources. Not only this, but also Brazilian higher authorities carry the new gospel to the least advantaged developing Southern hemisphere countries in Africa, Caribbean and Asia saying: Believe us! If you are a poor country troubled by constant persistence of hunger and food insecurity, we assure you that the promotion of Brazil's experience and implementing it in your country will help your people get out of poverty because this green gospel will bless them with new jobs and increase their income from sugarcane plantations and harvests, and also from sugarcane bioethanol production and transportation to consumption zones nationally and internationally. With the increased income, your angry hungry people will be very happy to buy sufficient food from money they get from sugarcane economic activities; their current suffering will be a past memory as they will be joyful to celebrate, dance and do all the merry things after work hours and during the holidays! They will not have idle time for pre-meditating violent conflicts, wars or genocides against themselves any more! They will not even think of migrating overseas to get shocked by closed doors and security dogs! From the events surrounding Brazilian experience in sugarcane industry and biofuels (ethanol and diesel from green plants and yellow leaves), I can say that Brazil is ascending vertically and extending horizontally in playing the role of a bridge-builder between the developed and developing countries, especially the one located in the tropical savannah zones. This has been observed recently in the venture of higher Brazilian authorities (both at the public and private sectors) into different parts of the world to preach the gospel of the new green energy revolution, which has a high potentials of becoming the driving force of sustainable development in the 21st Century and beyond, since sugarcane has turn out to be an interesting biomass resource with wide array of multiple products achieved from integrated and interdependence processes that are mimicked at times from the etheno production technologies used in advanced petroleum refineries. The Brazilian bioethanol innovation is not only fulfilling Henry' Ford Prophesy about the green fuels but also Thomas Edison's vision about the human miracles of electric power. In short, the benefits of using sugarcane biofuel in Brazil can be summarized in the following points according to Brazilian authorities and researchers in this revolutionary endeavour: 1) It is clean, renewable and biodegradable fuel for a safe use by human beings and their labour facilitating machines; 2) It is compliance with the limits for mitigating global warming as it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 90% compared to gasoline and other fossil fuels; 3) It does not contain sulphur and so it does not inject Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) into the atmosphere with the resultant hazards like acid rains; 4) It strengthens the public image of the companies that adopt it because it is a safe and balanced energy matrix for a wise use in the technologically advancing and globalizing world; 5) It generates employment (with better income) in agricultural and industrial sectors and in other related socio-economic development sectors; 6) Its price is competitive in the local and world markets because it has additional benefits from the cogeneration of electricity, plastics, medicines and soil fertilizers from sugarcane residues and by-products (straw, bagasse, molasses and vinasse); 7) It is widely available as it offers higher productivity in terms of tons of sugar and litres of biofuel per small hectares with energy balance that is better than that of ethanol produced from other plants;

8) It does not lead to deforestation because it is efficiently produced in savannah and semi-savannah areas without any need for further expansion to dense forests and ecosystems; 9) It may affect pastoralists livestock pastures but it will lead to establishment of more reliably small comfortable grazing farms for tamed animals; and 10) It will not affect food production and prices but will rather enhance food productivity due to its new energy security for food farms and industries. To elaborate, Brazilian authorities and researchers have come to a conclusion that Brazil's sugarcane industry is the best in the world in terms of the best agricultural and environmental practices because: a) It uses Less Agrochemicals: For example, the use of pesticides in Brazilian sugarcane fields is low. In addition, the use of fungicides is practically non-existent. Major diseases that threaten sugarcane are fought through biological control and advanced genetic enhancement programmes that help identify the most resistant varieties of sugarcane. This is due to the innovative recycling of sugarcane residues such as Vinasse and Filter Cake to be applied as organic soil fertilizers. This has enabled Brazilian sugarcane companies to use less industrialized fertilizers unlike what is done in the plantations of other major crops. b) It Causes Low Soil Loss: for example, the Brazilian sugarcane fields have relatively low levels of soil loss because of the semi-perennial nature of sugarcane itself, which only needs replanting every five to six years. Future trends indicate that the current losses, however limited, will decrease significantly through the use of sugarcane straws as recycled organic fertilizer (Mulch) without burning as done in the past. It is important to note here that eIuGreen ProtocoleIN called eIuAgro-environmental ProtocoleIN was signed in 2007 between the sugarcane industry and the S[R]"o Paulo State Government where it was agreed to speed up the elimination of pre-harvest sugarcane burning by 2017 with adaptation of use of mechanized harvesting, especially for areas that use steep slopes. c) It uses Minimal Water: for example, Brazilian sugarcane fields require practically no irrigation because rainfall is abundant and reliable, especially in the main South-Central production region. This rainfall is complemented by Fertiirrigation; a process that involves applying Vinasse. Due to this method, water use during sugarcane industrial processing has decreased significantly from around 5 m3 per tonne to approximately 1.5 m3 per tonne. And with improved technologies such as dry wash, the industry expects to reduce water use further in the future. In addition to these efforts, sugarcane plant itself is capable of storing water in its stem and protecting it naturally from evaporation and waste. d) It Encourages Plantation of Food Crops: in Brazil, output of Sugarcane bioethanol has not affected the venture into production and supply of other food crops, partly because Sugarcane plantation requires periodical rotation after its maximum use in one location. The previously used land is either left fallow or planted with other crops like soybean. In figures, this means 13.7% of sugarcane plantations in Brazil are used to plant other crops. This in turn has improved the record of grain harvest up about 142.1 millions tons in 2008, with a growth of 1.6% in the cultivated area and 5.5% in yields. It is recorded that since 2000, harvest yield of Brazilian agriculture have grown to an average of 4.75% per a year. This constant growth is partly a result of introducing variety of sugarcane species according to the suitability of the land and its capability to produce big quantities of quality sugarcane within every nine months annually. To put it in a nutshell, the Brazilian authorities and researchers in the sugarcane industry want to show how competitive is Brazil in the advantages of this new revolutionary human endeavour of 21st Century. According to their defence, they see Brazil's sugarcane industry as an excellent example of how social, economic and environmental concerns can be addressed within the framework of sustainable development, especially as the sugarcane bioethanol represents nowadays and in the future the best option for the production of large-scale of sustainable biofuels as an alternative renewable and secure energy for a peaceful green world of dignified human persons who love Mother Nature. 2. SOMETHING GOOD CAN HAPPEN IN TROPICAL SUDAN TOO Since the tropical savannahs parts of the Sudan are similar to Brazil in terms of climate, soil, water, sunshine and hard-working people in agricultural fields and other socio-economic sectors, it could be highly probable that the replication of Brazilian experience in sugarcane innovative technology could bear extensive fruits in this vast virgin region of Africa. It is a fact that the Sudan has vast lands for implementation of this experience. The Sudan has even enough capital from oil wealth to pour into this new green endeavour. What it lacks is only the technological expertise; it can ask and borrow the copy right for these from Brazil so as to avoid unnecessary venture into the burdens of fresh trial-and-error. This theory can be put into fruitful practice if the Sudanese and Brazilians improve information and understanding about their countries. Brazilians need to broaden their understanding of Africa because African continent is not only Western Africa, Southern Africa nor Northern Africa; it is also Eastern Africa and Central Africa as well, comprising of independent states whose features are diverse and unique from each other. Brazilians would need to get well-informed that the Sudan has a strategic advantage of being the largest and potentially resourceful country in the heart of Africa as its boundaries stretches to the different geographical directions of the continent like Brazil in South America. The Sudan area is one million square miles out of which 86.6 hectares are arable lands with only 16.8 million hectares utilized. From the utilized hectares the Sudan produces only about 760 thousands tons of sugar per annum and it is the second larger sugar producer in the whole Africa after South Africa (5.419 million tons). Nothing of this quantity is yet produced in Southern Sudan or in Darfur and with peace in place, the prospects is comparatively promising in these two regions. The Brazilians development partners need to get it well that the Sudan is not only a country of wars and poverties as it is portrayed by most International Media outlets, Human Rights activists, Humanitarians NGOs and Zionist activists in Darfur's Case. The Sudan is also a country of untold opportunities in agricultural sector with less business barriers and more investment incentives. The Brazilians need to know that under the veils of the bad imaged Darfur of the Sudan, lies the untold best sides. For instance, it is known that Darfur is seated on unused large subterranean lake with enough sweet water that can irrigate large sugarcane and wheat fields in Sahara desert of the Sudan. 16% of world's demanded wheat could be grown in Western Sudan to help humanity from hike of food prices. The green beautiful areas around Darfur Mara Mountains have been known as the best tobacco plantations in the world. But since tobacco is becoming a banned commodity in many countries due to its health hazard, these fields could be re-directed for other useful plantations. Darfur has also vast natural pastures and few forests in addition to unexploited reserves of petroleum naphtha, which I believe is a blessing more than a said curse. Notwithstanding, it is also important for Brazilian to understand that Darfur does not make all the Sudan; its area is not even a full quarter of the whole Sudan. Tropical Southern part of the Sudan is far greater and greener with big reserves of arable lands and oil fields than Darfur. Most of this area is rich of natural resources like fertile soil, sweat water, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, swamps, animals, plants, petroleum, gold, and other valuable minerals. The problem of international media houses is that they only portray the bad small parts of the developing countries and leave untouched the good big sites. This is like reporting a one person who dies in a bus crash without showing the good conditions of the fifty nine persons who remained alive after the accident. This selective and biased reporting makes the viewers and listeners to think that all the passengers were killed in the bus. This analogy is true of the Sudan now. And on the other hand, the Sudanese would need to get well-informed so as to widen their limited conception of Brazil. They need to know that Brazil is the largest country in South America (occupying E[c] of the continent). Brazil has a lot more good things other than the best soccer and volleyball players in the world, beautiful girls and ladies who are so seductive in places of Samba Dance and February Carnivals, and attractive beaches for tourism. Brazil is not only the images shown in some international media outlets. Brazil is far better than what is being portrayed outside about it. Brazilians are excellent human beings who do not temper with their enjoyment needs and happiness. To believe in what I say, the Sudanese authorities and business persons need to come to Brazil and see with their own eyes so that they could believe the facts about Brazilian sugarcane-based bioethanol innovations beyond the words written here. However, and in the course of a decision to replicate Brazilian bioethanol innovations, a critical caution must be taken by Sudanese so that a wrong start could be avoided early, especially in regard to land tenure and job security. For example, in Southern Sudan, land is legally ensured to be belonging to the local communities who have been living there and practicing all their customs, traditions and beliefs in terms of spiritual, social, political and economic cultures for ages. Thus, the implementation of Brazilian experience in the tropical Sudan should be harmonized with smooth transition from older generations to the new ones who have lesser bonds to the old traditions of land tenure and affections to Mother Nature. This is to avoid putting local communities into a pathetic situation where they will fight a war of land tenure with unequal battle against government and giant international agribusiness investors or invading neo-adventurers. Since the communities' lands in the tropical Sudan are still virgin agricultural places in Africa, surely they will be very attractive for either legal land marriage or illegal land prostitution by the rich international investors in the new sugarcane bioethanol evolution from Brazil or elsewhere. Therefore, it should be legally and socially ensured that the breaking of the virginity of such arable lands goes hand in hand with promoting the welfare of the local inhabitants who owns these virgin lands. These primitive original owners need to be granted good and sustainable bride prices and dowries (in terms of quality services and goods) as a compensatory return of taking away their virgin lands for a better economic and entrepreneurial use by intelligent hardworking investors. The local communities should be convinced tangibly that it is better to let go their arable lands instead of keeping them untouched and idle perennially, and with perpetual suffering from food shortages, ignorance and curable disease; leasing these lands for better productivity is lesser evil to tolerate if it brings greater common good at the end. The Brazilian revolution in biofuels industry could get along well with the current Sudanese eIuAgricultural Renaissance.eIN But so far, this Renaissance is still imprisoned by futile attempts to rejuvenate the lost glory of El Gezira Cotton Scheme. Further, this renaissance is caught up in the horns by the pressing high demands of wheat flour for the supply of the increasingly consumed bread and other wheat flour food products in expanding cities and towns of the Sudan; leave alone few towns that were taken to villages. Despite the increasing oil exports (81% of the total) in the Sudan, agricultural production should not be sacrificed or neglected because of more Dollars, Euros, Yuans or any etc hard currency the petroleum international trade brings into the Sudan. Though hard currency can buy anything, there will come a time when it will be looked upon as a mere paper without any material help. The Oil rich Gulf countries are starting to understand this irony and are now buying lands in agriculturally fertile countries so that they could ensure food security for their citizens in case of eventualities of food crisis and price hiking. Some of these Gulf countries are already adventuring inside Southern Sudan. Let the Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) beware of their motives before giving them agricultural lands or any investment incentives! In the course of urban expansion and increasing mobility of people and goods, the number of transportation automobiles has increased recently on the Sudanese roads. In addition, the numbers of fuel-consuming machines have increased in agricultural fields and industrial sites. Not to forget, the newly introduced computer and communication technology in many of economic and business administration sectors have also boomed in the country. All these development indicators pose high and pressing demands for use of more fuels and electric power. Bioethanol and bioelectricity from sugarcane biomass is now emerging as complements for fuels shortages and missing voltages that can resolve the problems of blackouts and power cuts from the public power stations due to unfavourable weather conditions or other administrative situations. Let the tropical Sudan try the blessing and glory of this green miracle; perhaps it may dispel the despair about the black miracle of Oil Naphtha. 3. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR THE SUDANESE For the above reasons and perhaps for many more, it is high time for the Sudanese decision-makers at public and private sectors to venture into implementing the Brazilian Experience in Sugarcane Bioethanol Industry and Marketing. Some Sudanese experts and investors (from South, West, East, North and Centre) need to exchange visits with Brazilian counterparts so that they can see with their own eyes and believe in the constant innovations in sugarcane, bioethanol, bioelectricity and bioplastics. The wise people say that experience is not what happens with a person, but rather what a person does with what happens. The Sudanese need to do something with what is happening in Brazil even if it is far from home. If the Sudanese government (with all its levels in the South and North) and business authorities hibernate now, they will be disappointed in future by the things they failed to do when the time was ripe. The Sudanese Agricultural Renaissance programmers and executors need to put into their priorities the adoption of Brazilian innovations in efficient large-scale sugarcane farming and bioethanol distillation. If the Sudan could produce Wheat, Cotton and Sugarcane in big-scale and market it profitably as a result of government's and private sector's commitment to the success of Agricultural Renaissance, then there is no doubt that Sudan will benefit more than it could have from only concentrating on the improvement and incentives in the productivity of one crop, Wheat. It is important to introduce Sugarcane Bioethanol Engineering and Technology courses eIf based on combination of basic sciences and mathematics in connection to Agriculture eIf in the Sudanese Higher Learning institutions and Research and Development centres. The purpose should be mastering of skills and expertise knowledge for bioethanol processing, bioelectric generation and other useful products, and not for mere conference of academic decrees for money-making. The bright youth should be encouraged and motivated to venture into this innovation. This should be complemented with other related researches on Land Legislation, Employment Ethics, Environmental Preservation, Economic Development, Political Governance, Geography, Geology, Meteorology, etc. For your attention, some credible Brazilian Higher Learning Institutions like the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro have signed an Academic Cooperation Agreement with some universities in the Sudan and have been offering free-of-charge opportunities for eIESandwich-Courses' and research supervision for Sudanese graduate students at Masters and PhDs levels. Not only this, but also this university and other credible universities in other Federative States of Brazil are there with open hands for the Sudanese to come and learn something good from Brazil and tell Brazilians about something better in the Sudan. However, from these freely offered opportunities, the Sudanese failed to send many students to Brazil except 1 eIf 3 in four years. No exchange of academic researches have been done so far while the only cost incurred on any Sudanese student or academic researcher who comes here is just on accommodation and other necessary personal needs that do not exceed US$ 700 per a month. I strongly recommend to the Ministry of Higher Education of the Sudan and the Ministry of Education of GoSS to take great interest in this Brazilian offer and utilize it maximally by sending the interested academic researchers from different regions of the Sudan (not only from the North) to benefit from Brazilian scientific experiences. Rio de Janeiro University and S[R]"o Paulo University are the pioneers in sugarcane-bioethanol research and development endeavours here in Brazil; do not undermine their offers and good intentions for cooperation! Some Sudanese Women, especially from Southern and Western Sudan are skilful in primitive ethanol production (called Seko and Areki) for alcoholic consumption. They extract this from a mixture of Sugar with Date Fruits from Palm Trees, and also from Dura and Sorghum grasses. They use Gasification process primitively but intelligently in small closed containers, heated with firewood or charcoal at the bottom with the fermented biomass inside. However, these hard-working women have faced subsequent prosecution and imprisonment in Khartoum and other Towns in Northern Sudan because the Sharia (Islamic Law) in Northern Sudan prohibits production, sale and consumption of Alcohol publicly. But nowadays with the shift of alcoholic consumption to machines in big quantities, there is no doubt that the capacity of these women could still be enhanced so as to improve their ethanol production in an advanced manner. They could be trained with modern Gasification and Cellulosing Technologies so that they could work in big factories. Let it not be forgotten that these mothers are so great and have contributed a lot in nation building, because with their primitive ethanol business, they have managed to place food on many tables and also paid education fees, hospital bills and living costs for their extended families. Let these eIEEves' not be humiliated any more! The private sector links and partnership is already established between some Brazilian sugarcane and bioethanol companies (like Dedini) and Sudanese sugarcane companies like Kenana for production of 65,000 cubic litres of bioethanol per a year with possible increase in future. This is a good step forward that needs to be extended and diversified to include Blue Nile Sugar Project, White Nile Sugar Project, Assalaya Sugar Factory, Sennar Sugar Factory, Gunied Sugar Factory, and New Halfa Sugar Factory which are all located in Northern Sudan (for reasons known to their initiators). Not only these, but also more sugarcane plantations and factories should be established in Southern and Western parts of the Sudan where the whole climate and soil conditions are totally similar to Brazil's. Heavy Tax Exemptions from the government could be a good incentive for this new investment venture. The White Elephant Melut Sugarcane Plantation and Factory in Upper Nile State should be rejuvenated since there is no more war to fear in Southern Sudan now. Professional research and pilot surveys should be carried out there so that the past mistakes that led to the ruins of this great project could be avoided, and also possible future risks could be pre-empted proactively. If a synchronized public and private seriousness is exerted on this Project, it is highly probable that it will be more productive as it will use the newly invented machines and technologies of sugarcane plantation, growing, harvesting, transportation and processing, especially for bioethanol production and bioelectricity generation. Such kinds of modern equipments and technologies are available in Brazil with high quality. If the grand project of Merowe Dam is completed, then it would be a great opportunity to establish many agricultural irrigation schemes in the desert of Northern part of the Sudan. This irrigation should not be focused on wheat or rice production only. If the Dates plants could yield fruits that can be used for producing bioethanol as primitively done by the above-mentioned mothers, then it would be wise not to uproot palm trees that have been grown along the Nile basin. It would be greater to extend the plantations of these palms for the new revolution in diversified sources of generating biofuels. Jatropha plants could also be cultivated vastly in Western Sudan for this purpose. By transferring and extending Brazilian sugarcane and bioethanol innovations into tropical Sudan, it will be highly probable that this endeavour will propagate this blessed 21st Century Good News there. It has been said that the discovery and extraction of Black Oil was a curse for the country because of violent conflicts and untold death tolls and land pollution associated with its business. But who knows, may be the green energy revolution is going to be a blessing for the best development paradigm in the Sudan as it stands for Brazil now. Since the public sector links and partnerships is not yet properly established between the Sudan and Brazil, this should be cemented now, especially by motivating research authorises in Brazil like Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) to open an office in tropical Sudan in return of the Sudan attaching Sugarcane researchers to Brazil. This should be enhanced by scholarships in higher studies, aimed at learning from Brazilians' expertise and experiences in sugarcane, bioethanol and other related products and technologies. 4. CONCLUSION The distance between Brazil and Sudan is very long and tedious to travel because the two countries are very far from each other, especially when flight and shipping connections are made in the Middle East, Gulf, Europe, USA and South Africa. Nonetheless, with common interests and public or private wills at hand in regard to sugarcane and bioethanol industry and business, Brazil would not be far from the Sudan. It is observed that China has become a closer neighbour to the Sudan in petroleum and other related businesses. Also with the use of new information and communication technologies, countries become nearest villages to each other. If the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) becomes peaceful, surely the distance of Brazil to Southern Sudan is going to get shortened through Atlantic Ocean, rather than using a long and risky Indian Ocean where Somalis Pirates hide. The language barriers will be another delaying obstacle but with time Sudanese can learn Brazilian Portuguese and Brazilian can learn Sudanese Arabic and English. It should be known that Brazilian bioethanol is coupled with business from other sources of energy: Petroleum, Natural Gas, Coal, Firewood, Hydropower, Windpower and Solarpower. Nevertheless, the Sudanese have to be cautious not to get overwhelmed by the experience of this miracle because at the end of the day it remains a human miracle subject to tendencies of accomplishing selfish gains. They need to filter the information they are bombarded with so that they can identify the propaganda from the truth. Also they need to be patient with Brazilian slow bureaucracy, especially when it comes to bilateral agreements and the schedules of implementation follow-up. When we understand the weakness we can be able to find the strength as well. eIuDifficulties reside not in development of new ideas, but in escaping from old oneseIN (J.M. Keynes). The Sudan has achieved a significant economic growth rate (11%) recently from petroleum exports and business. However, the distribution of this wealth remains unfair because most of the dividends are concentrated in the Central States, and amongst few elites, particularly in Khartoum. For justice and peace in the Sudan to get into an equitable balance, social and infrastructural spending need to be decentralized appropriately across the country, especially southward and westward so that development could be touched in these areas too. Transferring part of oil revenue to ignite efficient generation of agricultural revenues (including animal production and fisheries) should be an utmost political and business commitment for promoting economic activities that are capable of reducing gradually the disparities that have caused so much harm and disquiet in the Sudan. Nothing is missing in this attractive great virgin country of Africa to effect a better change in socio-economic common good; only the political and business Will to do the best that could have not been done right!!! *James Solomon Padiet is a junior Sudanese diplomat in the Embassy of the Sudan in Brasilia. This article is his personal outlook that he wants to share publicly, especially with those who are interested in sugarcane agribusiness and bioethanol innovations. The author has fully researched technical details of this summarized article. You can contact him individually at jpadiet@gmail.com

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Dec 29, 2008
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