[For further information on the Electronic Forum on Biotechnology in Food and
Agriculture see the Forum website.
Note, participants are assumed to be speaking on their own behalf, unless they state otherwise.]
Sent: 12 November 2008 09:22
Subject: 1: Bioenergy - Certain issues and views
[Welcome everybody to this FAO e-mail conference that examines the role that agricultural biotechnologies can play for production of bioenergy in developing countries. About 400 of you have subscribed to the conference, living in all the different regions around the world and working in universities and research institutes, government ministries and non-governmental organisations, United Nations bodies, farmers' organisations and the private sector. It is a unique opportunity to share viewpoints and experiences and to debate the issues described in the background document. The four weeks available for this conference will go very fast, so we encourage you to participate actively right from the beginning to get the maximum benefit from it. Participants are also reminded, as Janaki has done below, to briefly introduce themselves in their first message to the conference and to try to limit their messages to 600 words...Moderator].
I am Dr P S Janaki Krishna from India. I am working as an 'Associate Professor (Biotechnology)' in the Institute of Public Enterprise, Hyderabad, India. My areas of interest are biotechnology for rural development and emerging issues of biotechnology like intellectual property rights (IPRs) and biosafety, public-private partnerships in biotechnology, waste management and e-agriculture.
Firstly, I would like to congratulate FAO for coordinating an 'Electronic Forum' on a very contemporary and important issue like 'energy security' (which has become equally important as food security in this new/modern world) and how biotechnological interventions can help in achieving this objective through generation of 'bioenergy'.
Following are my views on some of the issues raised in the 'background document'.
By increasing the area of fuel crop production for generation of liquid biofuels of the first generation, there will be burden on food crops which raises the issue of food security versus energy security. Hence, the research and development (R&D) should focus on utilizing the non-food crops for extraction of biofuels and on means to increase their potential by identifying high oil yielding genotypes and developing protocols for large scale production of these crops (isolation of high-yielding tissue culture mutants of Jatropha, Pongamia, etc.). Developing cost effective technologies for utilization of agricultural wastes and identifying microorganisms that can effectively decompose the biomass to yield ethanol etc, isolation of enzymes from these microorganisms are other areas of biotechnological interventions. Though research is going on in this direction, concerted multi-disciplinary efforts are needed as establishing a viable 'bioenergy unit' needs both entrepreneurs and researchers including physiologists, plant breeders, microbiologists, biochemists, chemists and engineers etc. Technology transfer, commercialization of technologies, complying with the national and international regulations, awareness on regulations, quality control, cost are other major issues. Public-private partnerships for waste utilization and establishing the 'bioenergy units' also can be considered. If these units are encouraged in rural areas it can contribute to both farm/non-farm employment generation. However, many countries are lagging behind in exploiting the potential of non-food crops and agricultural waste for bioenergy generation as capacity building is the major issue.
If we can discuss some of the successful case studies also in this conference (from Brazil, US etc.) it would be useful.
Dr (Mrs) P S Janaki Krishna,
Subject Expert (Biotechnology)
Institute of Public Enterprise
Osmania University Campus
Hyderabad - 500 007,
jankrisp (at) yahoo.com