My first visit to India has been a source of great enthusiasm to me. After all, it is a country with which Brazil shares many similarities and complementarities, be they social, economic or cultural.
Cooperation in the area of ethanol production is certainly a topic of much interest to all, and I see a great opportunity for partnership between our two countries. Brazil has developed a wide and successful biofuels programme, which uses crops as raw materials for the generation of clean and renewable energy.
Brazil and India have been growing sugarcane for centuries, and both countries recognise the major socioeconomic importance of this crop. However, with regard to ethanol, there is a great disparity between us: While Brazil is the world’s second biggest producer, with over 30 billion litres per annum, India produced only 1.5 billion litres in 2018.
Replacing fossil fuels with clean energy, such as ethanol, has the potential to reduce pollution in large urban centres, as biofuel-powered vehicles emit much less carbon dioxide than diesel or petrol engines.
In addition, the use of ethanol will contribute to reducing India’s need for oil imports and, together with policy reforms in the sugar sector, will provide a solution to excess global sugar supply, providing greater price stability for this commodity, and thus benefiting both countries.
Another area of great interest to us both is that of genetic improvement. Brazil and India own large zebu cattle herds, and we share an interest in exchanging genetic material to improve their quality.