Minimizing the Risks
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
The production of liquid biofuels such as bioethanol and biodiesel is rapidly increasing in developing countries, due mainly to the establishment of large-scale biofuel feedstock plantations. This results in potential socio-economic benefits, particularly in terms of agricultural employment, as well as risks, which tend to be context-specific. The objective of this paper is to discuss the potential gender-differentiated risks of liquid biofuels production and identify research and policy strategies to better understand and address them. The potential environmental and socio-economic risks that may arise from the establishment and operation of large-scale plantations for the production of biofuels are considered. In addition, some potential risks for food security resulting from an increase in food prices due to the growing use of agricultural crops for biofuels production are discussed. The paper provides some specific recommendations for future research, such as conducting field-assessments to generate sex-disaggregated data for testing the hypotheses discussed in this paper. It also offers a number of alternative policy options for reducing the risks and maximizing the opportunities of biofuels production, such as establishing international rules to ensure that this production is environmentally sustainable and pro-poor.
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© FAO 2008