Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Promote Biodiesel & Kill the Drug Trade?

I was astonished to learn recently from roving reporter Michael Kanellos that Columbian farmers are starting to turn Coca fields over to growing crops for green fuels.

It's an amazing thought that without massive expense and bloodshed we could actually start to turn the tide in the South American drug trade by giving farmers there a lucrative alternative to growing drug crops.

There's the added advantage that it would also reduce the pressure at home to give over good arable land used for growing food for fuel crop production which , as we have already seen this year is pushing the price of corn, maize and flour steadily up in price - a trend that simply is not supportable in the long term.

One of the benefits of certain fuel oil crops, used for making biodiesel, like Jatropa for example is that it will produce a good yeild but will grow on absolutely marginal soil unsuited to food production - you know the kind of barren mountainside used to grow Coca and Marijuana, and in Afghanistan opium poppies used to make herion.

The main reason farmers turn to these crops is that it simply pays better than growing anything else. Now we have an opportunity through promoting the manufacture and use of biodiesel to offer them an attractive alternative which benefits us both.

You can support this move - Use biodiesel! Start making biodiesel at home and using biodiesel fuel in your car, generator or home heating system. The more your actions increase the demand for biodiesel fuel the more seed oil crops will need to be grown globally.

Looking to the future and notwithstanding the environmental, cost and freedom benefits of biodiesel I dare to hope that another collateral benefit with be a reduction in the growing of drug crops which ultimately fund terrorism and blight the lives of so many people.

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