Joemat-Pettersson and fellow ministers signed the green economy accord on Thursday.

It commits government, business, labour and civil society to meeting several targets on reducing emissions and creating jobs through local manufacturing of green technologies.

Government says the availability of arable land in South Africa may open up several doors for the production of food stocks to be used to produce bio-fuels.

Investigations have already begun, government is considering sorghum, sugar cane and sugar beet, but Joemat-Pettersson says a balance needs to be struck between the need for cleaner fuel and food security.

"Whatever crops we consider will in no way compromise the availability of food for local livelihoods," she says.

The green economy accord is supported by unions including those in the agricultural sector.