Energy-Smart Food at FAO:
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Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
This paper presents FAO’s work on energy in relation to specific components of the
agrifood chain. It complements two recent publications, Energy-Smart Food for People
and Climate Issues Paper and the policy brief, Making the Case for Energy-Smart Food.
These publications presented the findings of a 2011 study commissioned by FAO
that examined the linkages between energy and agrifood systems and their implications
for food security and climate. The study looked at energy uses along the entire agrifood
chain from field to plate and the potential of agrifood systems to produce energy. Findings
confirmed that agrifood systems use a large share of the global energy supply, rely heavily
on fossil fuels to meet production targets and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The
study concluded that agrifood systems will have to become ‘energy-smart’ to meet future
food and energy challenges, and recommended establishing a major long-term multipartner
programme on energy-smart food systems based on three pillars (i) improving
energy efficiency in agrifood systems, (ii) increasing the use of renewable energy in these
systems and (iii) improving access to modern energy services through integrated food and
In response to these recommendations, FAO has launched the multi-partner Energysmart
Food for People and Climate (ESF) Programme. This paper illustrates how FAO’s
longstanding work in the area of energy and agrifood systems contributes towards the ESF
The contents and conclusions of this report are considered appropriate for the time of its preparation.
They may be modified in the light of further knowledge gained at subsequent stages. The designations
employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression
of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United
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of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.
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others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.
© FAO 2012