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Increasing the competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises through the use of environmentally sound technologies

This study examines the opportunities and constraints associated with the development of second generation biofuels in Western Asia.

While international debate continues regarding the development of primary biofuels, second generation biofuels derived from agricultural waste products have emerged as an environmentally sound alternative for policymakers and entrepreneurs interested in biofuel development.

The development of the second generation biofuel sector presents interesting opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including farmers in rural, agrarian-based communities. While agricultural waste is currently disposed of through market and non-market channels, these traditional approaches often result in adverse environmental impacts (such as increased air pollution caused by the burning of sugarcane stalks) or low economic returns (such as selling manure as fertilizer). Access to environmentally sound technologies for converting agricultural waste into second generation biofuels can thus assist small and medium producers to benefit from opportunities presented by this emerging sector.

The study is based on a review of existing environmentally sound technologies that can be accessed by small and medium enterprises. Agricultural waste generated by three sectors of importance to the ESCWA region is targeted for analysis, namely, the olive oil, sugar (from sugarcane and sugar beet) and dairy industries.

Country case studies are offered to elaborate the analysis-based financial and environmental assessments; and a series of recommendations are provided aimed at assisting decision makers and entrepreneurs to pursue developments in the second-generation biofuel sector using environmentally sound technologies.

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