388473 A New Policy for the Use of Agricultural Residues in Tropical Countries Based on Biorefineries

Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Galleria Exhibit Hall (Hilton Atlanta)
Laura V. Daza1, Miguel Rojas2 and Carlos A. Cardona1, (1)Instituto de Biotecnología y Agroindustria, Departamento de Ingeniería Química, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Manizales, Colombia, (2)Instituto de Biotecnología y agroindustria, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Manizales, Colombia

The agricultural practices in tropical countries have an important role in the economic progress. In Colombia the agricultural sector has historically been viewed as a source of income generation, food and employment. In the 60’s approximately 54% of the Colombian population  lived outside the municipalities. For the year 1972 40% of the population  in the country were  in rural areas [1].  This behavior has been remained, reports indicate that in the late twentieth century 70% of the Colombians residing in urban areas [2]. In the Colombian case, the agricultural sector represents the 9.2% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the 19% of the exports and the 19.7 of the job. According to the PNUD (Programa de las Naciones Unidas para el Desarrollo)  the behavior of the agricultural sector contribution in the GDP increased from 10% in 1994 to 14% in 2009 [3]. Due to the wide variety of fauna, flora and the diversity of climatic and hydric resources of the tropical countries, that became them in suitable countries for developing crops that could potentialize the agricultural zones development in each country.

Food represents just the 1.25% of the  total biomass produced worldwide  [4] Therefore, as by-product of all the activities related with development of the agricultural labors  large amounts of residues classified as primary residues are generated [5]. Its classification has been explained due to the nature of the source that is directly related with the seeding, development and harvesting of crops. This fact converts the agriculture residues in potential raw materials for biotechnological processes.

The development of two components in the context of the changing conditions of the Colombian countryside presents a delay in the competitiveness of this sector. This situation has been aggravated because of the winter seasons and droughts of the recent years (case 2011), inadequate drainage conditions, the problems with fertility and fertilization of the productive soils, along with other factors associated to the high costs of agricultural inputs. The above mentioned facts have generated consequences on imports and exports of certain agricultural products.. Similarly, the high production costs have directly affected the production by reducing productivity and competitiveness. This situation also contributes to the increment of poverty in the rural areas represented by the Gini coefficient which was 0.885 for 2009  [6].

The condition of the rural areas in Colombia would be changed through the formulation, development and application of policies to define a flow of actions destined to solve some specifics problems in one determined area. Mouysset et al [7] developed an analysis about focus polices and concluded that the production addressed subsidies could throws inequitable results between rich farmers and poor farmers due to the requirements in productivity intensification that could generate minerals losing, land homogenization among others. In other study presented by Brooks [8] about the effects of policies applied to OECD countries (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development)  in which analyze the effects in the agricultural yields they conclude that a coherent policy must  havea strong coordination level between the sectorial and ministerial polices. Also if the polices are promoted by multilateral organizations it should be formulated to affect the developing countries positively.

In this sense, the aim of this work is to propose a new policy approach that offers benefits to farmers through the utilization of agricultural residues as raw materials for biorefineries which be correlated with the enhancement of economic conditions of the rural population.

The pseudostem plantain, an agricultural residue generated during the plantain harvesting practices, has been selected as raw material to carry out the study. According to the FAO Colombia is the tenth  producer of plantain worldwide  [9] with the characteristic that is produced with other associated crops as coffee, cacao and cassava, among others [11]. As was reported by the “Anuario Estadístico-Departamento Nacional de Planeación (DNP)” [10] approximately 2’699.099 Ton were produced in 2011. The pseudostem plantain represents the 50% of the total biomass associated with the crop. After harvesting, some part of this residue is kept on the land while other part should be retired due to its accumulation could became in a phytosanitary hazard. The pseudostem plantain was experimentally characterized by measuring moisture content (AOAC 928.09 method), klason lignin content (TAPPI 222 om-83 method), acid-soluble lignin content (TAPPI 250UM-85 method) holocellulose content (ASTM Standard D1104 method), cellulose content (TAPPI 203 os-74 method), and ash content (TAPPI Standard T211 om-93 method). The characterization results allowed founding the appropriate compositions to formulate the propose biorefiney in this work. All the experiments were carried out in the Biotechnology and Agrobusiness Institute at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia at Manizales.

The pseudostem plantain biorefiney was evaluated in two scenarios using the commercial software Aspen Plus V8.0 (ASPEN TECHNOLOGY INC). The first scenario was evaluated for ethanol, citric acid, xylitol and energy production. A second scenario was evaluated for ethanol, xylitol and energy production. The economic evaluation was realized using the software commercial Aspen Process Ecomomic Analyzer V8.0 (ASPEN TECHNOLOGY INC) taking into account the Colombian context with an annual interest rate of 16% and an income tax of 25%, with electricity and water costs according to the case study conditions. Furthermore the evaluation was realized for a period of 10 years using as depreciation method the straight-line. The environmental evaluation was made through the methodology proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) denominated Waste Algorithm Reduction (WAR). This tool evaluates from the mass and energetic balance the Potential Environmental Impact (PEI) of process generated by kg of product.

The best configuration based on the techno-economic and environmental analysis was established as the base case for the policy formulation in which two alternatives to increase the incomes and subsequently the life quality of small farmers were assessed. The first one was through the analysis of pseudostem plantain sell prices and the second one was through the profit distributions within farmers evaluating the possible ways to distribute it (direct payments or subsidies). In this last issue was developed a distribution formula according to the land accumulation reported previously.

The new policy about the integral use of agricultural residues through a biorenifery approach contributes to found new alternatives for raw material with the objective of increasing the wealthy of farmers associated to an agricultural production chain as the plantain taking into account the nature of the chain and profits distribution.


[1]      R. Gómez Henao, “La Población y Calidad de Vida en el siglo XX.” Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.

[2]      J. O. Rueda Plata, “El campo y la ciudad Colombia, de país rural a país urbano.,” 1999. [Online]. Available: http://www.banrepcultural.org/node/32860. [Accessed: 24-Feb-2014].

[3]      PNUD and MADR, “Documento de Discusión Nacional acerca de los Asuntos Claves en el Análisis del Sector Agricultura (Mitigación),” 2009.

[4]      S. N. Naik, V. V. Goud, P. K. Rout, and A. K. Dalai, “Production of first and second generation biofuels: A comprehensive review,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 578–597, Feb. 2010.

[5]      J. Singh and S. Gu, “Biomass conversion to energy in India—A critique,” Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev., vol. 14, no. 5, pp. 1367–1378, Jun. 2010.

[6]      I. Geográfico and A. Codazzi, “Atlas de la Distribución de la Propiedad Rural en Colombia.”

[7]      L. Mouysset, “Agricultural public policy: Green or sustainable?,” Ecol. Econ., vol. 102, pp. 15–23, Jun. 2014.

[8]      J. Brooks, “Policy coherence and food security: The effects of OECD countries’ agricultural policies,” Food Policy, vol. 44, pp. 88–94, Feb. 2014.

[9]      B. Scott Padam, H. Seng Tin, F. Yee Chye, and M. Ismail Abdullah, “Banana by-products: an under-utilized renewable food biomass with great potential,” J. Food Sci. Technol., Oct. 2012.

[10]    DNP, “Anuario Estadistico del Sector Agropecuario-MinAgricultura,” Departamento Nacional de Planeación, 2008. .

[11]    D. M. Granda R, A. I. Mejía G, and G. A. Jiménez T, “Utilización de Residuos de Plátano para la producción de Metabolitos Secundarios por Fermentación en estado sólido con el Hongo ‘Lentinus crinitus’.,” Vitae, Rev. la Fac. Química Farm., vol. 12, pp. 13–20, 2005.

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