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New report: “Measuring impacts and enabling investments in energy-smart agrifood chains”


How can we feed the world’s growing population without compromising sustainability and climate goals?

The cost-benefit analyses described in the latest INVESTA report ‘Measuring impacts and enabling investments in energy-smart agrifood chains’ targets policy makers, international finance institutions and investors. It focuses on identifying the main barriers impeding the full deployment of clean energy technologies in four countries - Kenya, Tanzania, the Philippines and Tunisia, and recommends possible solutions to overcome them.

Stefania Bracco, an FAO economist involved in the study noted that depending on the country conditions and on the choice of benchmark, the impact of the same energy intervention could differ significantly depending on the context.

The project “Investing in Energy Sustainable Technologies in the Agrifood Sector” (INVESTA) developed a methodology to carry out a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of clean energy technologies. Applying this methodology, FAO and GIZ have been able to calculate potential costs and benefits of clean energy technologies in the four countries.

Using specific national data and information on the energy technologies and the value chains under analysis, the report assesses the initial investment required at country level, the investment horizon, the financial attractiveness, and hidden costs and co-benefits associated with the energy interventions.

Through the analyses of the four countries, the following barriers to technology adoption were identified:

  1.  lack of knowledge and information
  2.  organizational/social issues
  3.  hurdles in regulations/institutions
  4.  lack of support services/structures
  5.  low financial returns
  6.  limited access to financial markets

The report also identifies the impact of clean energy interventions in agrifood value chains on gender issues, as well as the main instruments to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in each country.

The aim of the INVESTA project (2017-2019) has been to make agrifood chains more energy-smart, using renewable energies and energy-efficiency measures. The report provides evidence that energy-smart solutions in agrifood chains can be cost-efficient with important socio-economic and environmental benefits. As Olivier Dubois, the FAO Energy Team leader explained,  

“By showing how financial social and environmental costs and benefits are distributed in clean energy technologies applied to food chains, investors can find sustainable options and better manage de-risking, thus gaining more public support towards the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement.”


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Further reading: Costs and benefits of clean energy technologies in the milk, vegetable and rice value chains