The debate of food vs fuel is an excuse for putting lame excuses for our failures to retain productivity level of the farmlands, irregular practices of growing crops in the areas where they should not be grown .i.e. growing rice in areas which is not its “natural home”, introducing plants in ecological zones not adapted to receive “strangers plants”

over exploitation of ground water, deep drilling and forgetting traditional agricultural patterns and knowledge. When we started our work on bio-fuel plants we concentrated on plants which are able to grow at temperatures of 48 degree with almost not moisture in air and rainfall 5 to 35 mm only with sandy soils. Calotropis procera is an example of such choice, Euphorbia tirucalli and Euphorbia antisyphilitica could be second in line which require somewhat better conditions. Each country has in its inventory plants which can withstand adverse climatic conditions including hot arid as well as cold arid climates. From the inventory of such plants we developed agro-technology to raise them in desert conditions. Nowhere we ever ventured to tread the path of agriculture. In contrast to this the developed world concentrated on set aside lands. In both the situations there is not competition with the agriculture as I am not aware of any biofuel crop . Even the latest important plant Jatropha is no where grown in India as agricultural crop to the best of my knowledge. We have participated and provided valuable information from amongst the team of dedicated scientists who worked in various programmes of Department of Biotechnology, Govt of India. The foul cry of food vs fuel is creating diversion from the real crisis which we are facing of growing populations and reducing agriculture land area and productivity and not the result of food vs fuel.

India: Looking Under the Hood of the Food v. Fuel Debate

In Davos, Indian officials talked about the diversion of food for biofuels as a dangerous trend that could affect world food security. Responding to this claim, the Hindu Business Line ran an article recently blaming the Indian Government for soaring food inflation, not biofuels.

With the global financial crisis, the food versus fuel debate has largely slipped to the background as world leaders mount efforts to restore markets and stimulate job creation. It seems that while the Asian region was less affected than other regions, India’s deficits limited the country’s ability to respond. Inflationary pressure is making the situation worse.

On top of this, the article explains that India is facing a near-crisis situation with unabated food inflation and “the Government is at its wit’s end, having failed to effectively contain the bull-run in the food market.”

The article contends that the Indian government is largely to blame for this situation, not biofuels. Policies that neglect agriculture, limit public investment, and ignore the farm sector have led to rising food costs. The author suggests that the Indian government should attempt to fix internal problems before lecturing world governments about biofuels policies.

In the U.S., EU, and other developed countries where the agricultural industry receives generous support, higher food prices generally lead to improved supplies. In India, this maxim has not held true. Part of the problem is that the degree of freedom that farmers have is limited. There is always a limit to their capacity to produce more because of the risks associated with agriculture under Indian conditions, which include: fragmented landholding, weak input delivery system, high dependence on rainfall, limited irrigation facilities, antiquated agronomic practices, wholly inadequate rural infrastructure, decline in public investment…

Biofuels will be an important component of India’s future fuel supply. Domestic demand for oil and gas is on the rise. According to the country’s Ministry of Petroleum, demand for oil and gas is likely to increase from 186.54 million tonnes of oil equivalent (mmtoe) in 2009-10 to 233.58 mmtoe in 2011-12. Although it is a refining hub, oil scarcity and climate obligations coupled with growing demand will likely force India to pursue biofuels.