Integrating bioenergy and food production - A case study of combined ethanol and dairy production in Pontal, Brazil
Journal article, 2011

Increased Brazilian sugarcane ethanol production is expected in response to increasing domestic and international ethanol demand. The Pontal do Paranapanema region, located in the western parts of the São Paulo state, is one of the regions where sugarcane is expected to expand on a large scale. This expansion will most likely affect small-scale dairy farmers in the region and may lead to displaced milk production. Interviews have been made with small-scale dairy farmers in areas where sugarcane has already been established. These interviews show that many farmers who substitute milk production for sugarcane production experience economic stagnation after the change. However, both systems can coexist, using sugarcane residues as high-quality cattle feed. This feed can easily be made at the ethanol mills using sugarcane residues and some additional protein and mineral supplements. Analyses indicate that the dairy farmers can increase their income ten-fold by adopting this integrated system. The increased total output and higher land-use efficiency in dairy production may counteract possible indirect land-use change. Greenhouse gas emissions per unit of milk produced as well as liter ethanol produced depend on several factors, including effects of diverting bagasse from other uses to feed production.



Land-use change


Greenhouse gas mitigation

Dairy production


Andrea Egeskog

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Göran Berndes

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory

Flavio Freitas

University of Sao Paulo (USP)

Stina Gustafsson

Chalmers, Energy and Environment, Physical Resource Theory


Gerd Sparovek

University of Sao Paulo (USP)

Energy for Sustainable Development

0973-0826 (ISSN)

Vol. 15 1 8-16

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Other Environmental Engineering



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