Bolivian biofuel policy to extend farming frontier


Bolivia says its “biofuels era” will mean significant expansion of soybean cultivation. (Photo courtesy of Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute)

Six months after authorizing the sale of gasoline containing 12% sugarcane ethanol, Bolivia has taken another step toward what officials call “the biofuels era” by announcing it will promote the production of soy oil as an ingredient in diesel fuel. The new initiative was announced on March 18 by Bolivian Hydrocarbons Minister Luis Alberto Sánchez following a meeting that he and President Evo Morales had with farm-sector business leaders. Sánchez said the effort, whose goal is to produce diesel containing up to 5% soy oil, will involve increasing the amount of land currently under soy cultivation by 250,000 hectares (618,000 acres). The prospect that the so-called agricultural frontier will expand has fanned concern among green advocates that more of the country’s natural plant and animal habitat will be displaced by agriculture—and, moreover, to produce crops not needed for food. Critics also cite the government’s intention for the... [Log in to read more]

Would you like to Subscribe?