Integrated food-energy systems (IFES)

A farmer applies slurry, an excellent organic fertilizer and the by-product of biogas production, on a rice field in Shuangliu Sichuan province, China

An Integrated Food-Energy System (IFES) is a diversified farming system, which is a system of agricultural production that incorporates agro-biodiversity and builds on the principles of sustainable production intensification. IFES can function at various scales and configurations, from small-scale operations managed at the village or household level primarily to meet domestic needs and sustain local livelihoods to large-scale operations designed for commercial activities. Depending on the circumstances, the generation of solar, thermal, geothermal, photovoltaic, wind and water energy can be an integral part of the system.

At present, FAO is executing a project, funded by NL agency, to further investigate and assess the different options to secure and replicate food and bioenergy production.  This assessment will be facilitated through the development of an analytical framework which focuses on both the sustainability and the replicability of different IFES scenarios. As the  uptake and large-scale dissemination of IFES has shown to face obstacles related to missing or inappropriate governance structures and financial mechanisms, these important issues will be an essential part of the project.

Technical Consultation: How to make integrated food-energy systems work for both small-scale farmers and rural communities in a climate change-friendly way

Held at FAO Headquarters in Rome, on 14-15 July 2010, this technical consultation sought to identify knowledge gaps and factors leading to the success or failure of IFES, on the basis of practical lessons learned from field experience.

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last updated:  Wednesday, September 18, 2013