Thailand  

Thailand has made considerable progress in reducing poverty and food insecurity over the past two decades. Now one of the world’s largest agricultural exporters, Thailand is implementing ambitious plans to develop its biofuel industry with the objectives of improving national energy security, reducing emissions from the transport sector and adding value to the domestic agricultural sector. The Thai Government’s Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP), which was launched in 2008, aims to expand the production of biofuels six-fold to 5 billion liters by 2022.  

MAIN ISSUES

The BEFS team constructed detailed projections for Thailand's biofuel production and feedstock requirements over a ten year period. An assessment of available land and water resources for biofuel feedstock production was carried out, together with an analysis of the possible impacts of biofuel processing on water quality in local water systems close to biofuel production facilities. The BEFS team also evaluated the financial competitiveness of Thailand's biofuel processing industry and the energy and greenhouse gas balances of biofuels produced in the country. Finally, using a computable general equilibrium model and existing household level datasets on agricultural income and expenditure, BEFS analysed the effects of biofuel development on the Thai economy and the impacts of food price changes on household welfare; particularly those close to the poverty line.

MAIN RESULTS

To meet the growing global and domestic demand for biofuels, production of key biofuel feedstocks will need to grow substantially in Thailand over the next decade. FAO projections indicate that production of sugar cane molasses and palm oil is anticipated to double by 2018, while cassava production is expected to grow by 50 percent. Due to government policies designed to control land allocations for certain crops, substantial growth in the productivity of Thai farms is required. This should encourage the government to direct attention to the plight of many in the country's poorer farming regions and provide new assistance to improve farming systems and lift yields.

Biofuel production in Thailand was already found to be economically competitive and to offer measurable greenhouse gas emission reductions over fossil fuels for transport. Improving the productivity of feedstock producers would not only stabilize feedstock costs but also reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of fuel produced.

The BEFS findings also raised a number of questions. Even with predictions of substantial yield increases, the BEFS team found that it will be unlikely to account for all of the growth in biofuel production. As a result, expansion in biofuel crop plantings could take place despite the government's preventative polices. In addition, the expected growth in production is not likely to meet the country's additional demand for biofuel feedstock crops and sustain existing domestic and export markets. Consequently declines in the export of some commodities could also be expected in the future.

ONGOING WORK

Since the conclusion of the BEFS project in Thailand FAO has been working with the Thai Ministry of Agriculture to address some of the issues identified by the BEFS analysis. The harmonization of food security and bioenergy development is one of six national priority areas of action for Thailand's agriculture sector under the country planning framework for 2012-2016. Under this framework FAO is promoting opportunities to reduce land degradation and improve productivity in the Thai cassava sector through improved agricultural and land management practices.  

BEFS CONSULTATIONS IN THAILAND

In carrying out its work the BEFS project has organized consultations with its Thai partners. More information is presented below.

BEFS Partners Consultation
In January, 2010 at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, BEFS held a partners consultation.  The objectives of the meeting were to bring together the BEFS Thailand partner organizations and to:
  • provide a better understanding of the broader BEFS framework in Thailand;
  • present and review work undertaken for the BEFS modules; and
  • identify gaps and areas for additional work prior to BEFS Technical and Policy Consultations due to be held in March and May 2010.

For more information please consult the following documents:

BEFS Technical Consultation

On March 11, 2010, BEFS held a technical consultation at the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. The BEFS Thailand Technical Consultation meeting was the first opportunity for FAO and the Thailand BEFS partner organizations to present the findings of BEFS in the Thai context and seek further input of knowledgeable experts from the Thai bioenergy sector.

The objectives of the meeting were to bring together the BEFS Thailand partner organizations and knowledgeable experts from the Thai bioenergy sector to:

  • provide a better understanding of how BEFS works in Thailand;
  • present and review work undertaken for BEFS; and
  • seek guidance on how the finding of BEFS can used to answer key policy questions in the Thai context.

For more infomation consult the following documents and presentations:

BEFS Policy Consultation

On June 15, 2010, BEFS held a policy consultation in Bangkok to conclude the activities of the BEFS project in the country. The objective of the policy consultation was to bring together at the High Level Policy Forum the Thai policy-makers to discuss the key messages and the policy recommendations of the BEFS project and seek for statements regarding the future of bioenergy development in Thailand.

For more information consult the following documents and presentations:

BEFS Policy Consultation in the news:

BEFS Regional Policy Dialogue

The BEFS Analytical Framework is capable of being implemented in any country interested in assessing the impacts of existing or planned bioenergy developments. As bioenergy feedstock commodities and bioenergy outputs can be traded there is also potential for bioenergy developments to impact beyond country borders. These impacts are likely to be most pronounced at the regional level due to a range of factors including proximity, shared transport corridors and regional trade agreements.

As a result, there is considerable value in sharing the findings of the BEFS project in other countries with developing bioenergy industries; particularly at the regional level. To coincide with the BEFS Thailand Policy Consultation, on 16 June, a Regional BEFS Policy Dialogue was held. The Regional Dialogue brought together bioenergy policy makers from across South and Southeast Asia to review the findings of BEFS project in Thailand and discuss bioenergy development and BEFS at the regional level. The Dialogue was used as a platform to discuss the potential for additional BEFS related activities in South and Southeast Asia.  

For more information consult the following documents and presentations:

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last updated:  Wednesday, April 2, 2014