Brazil, the world's largest exporter of ethanol, is hosting delegates from 40 countries for a five-day conference on biofuels to consider issues related to industry development, food shortages, trade relations and climate change.
An international conference on biofuels involving officials from 40 countries got underway in Brazil on Monday with delegates to consider the issues of development, food security, trade and climate change.
Brazilian government chief-of-staff Dilma Roussef opened the five-day event as a last-minute stand in for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Brazil is keen to see ethanol -- the carburant derived from processing organic materials -- used more frequently in vehicles around the world.
The South American country is the biggest exporter of ethanol, which it makes from sugarcane, and the second-biggest producer, after the United States.
The plummeting price of oil in recent weeks, however, has cast a shadow over prospects of boosting ethanol exports. A lower price for gasoline undermines the argument for biofuels.
There is also a lingering debate over food prices spiking because of increased farming of biofuel crops at the expense of traditional food crops.
The conference, in Sao Paulo, was to start with three days of technical discussions before ministers took over for the final two days.
No resolutions were expected from the event.
Date created : 2008-11-18