IFDC Report, Volume 32, No. 4
Dr Rudy Rabbinge, a prominent expert in sustainable development and food security, warns against the potential dystopian consequences of diverting arable land from food production to fuel production. In his lecture at the IFDC's Staff Retreat and Board of Directors Meeting, he emphasizes that the highest value use of starch, sugar, and oilseed crops should be as biofuel feedstock rather than as food or livestock feed. Dr Rabbinge highlights the market-driven shift toward biofuel production, driven by rising petroleum prices, which has already increased food prices, particularly affecting the poor who rely on low food prices. He estimates that a significant portion of corn production in the United States will be directed toward biofuel production, raising concerns about the ability to feed both the world population and the demand for biofuels. In contrast, Dr Rabbinge presents a vision of a utopian solar-based economy, where solar energy becomes the ultimate solution to meet global energy needs. He suggests that biomass could play a transitional role before transitioning to a solar-based energy system. Additionally, the publication discusses the successful implementation of urea deep placement (UDP) technology in Bangladesh, significantly improving fertilizer use efficiency and enhancing rice production. The expansion of UDP technology is expected to increase rice production, benefitting millions of farmers in Bangladesh and contributing to food security. The report highlights the importance of sustainable agricultural practices, energy transition, and technology adoption in ensuring global food security and addressing energy needs.