Agrifood chains

Agrifood chains are the linked events in the agricultural production of food – the process being a chain of events from production to processing, trading, distribution and consumption. Literally “from field to fork”.

At each stage of this food supply chain, current practices can be adapted to become less energy intensive and therefore smarter. Such efficiency gains can often come from modifying existing farming and processing practices at little or no cost. Steps include the use of more fuel efficient engines, the use of compost and precision fertilizers, irrigation monitoring, the adoption of no-till farming practices and the use of less-input-dependent crop varieties and animal breeds.

After food has been harvested, improved transportation and infrastructure, better insulation of food storage facilities, reductions in packaging and food waste, and more efficient cooking devices offer the possibility of reducing additional energy use in the food sector. Click on the left side bar for more information on current projects.

Solar irrigation

FAO is working with countries in the deployment of renewable energy solutions for irrigation which are, under certain conditions, valid alternatives to conventional fuels. The evaluation of pros and cons of switching from one energy source to another requires a sound assessment of economic, environmental and social aspects.

In order to help operators to assess the economic viability of different power supply options and pumping technologies, FAO and GIZ  organized an International Workshop  on ‘Prospects for solar-powered irrigation systems (SPIS) in developing countries’ in May 2015.