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INVESTA international workshop: Investing in clean energy technologies in food value chains

09/01/2018

The FAO Investing in Sustainable Energy Technologies in the Agrifood Sector (INVESTA) project has highlighted an important demand for an investment support programme on clean energy technologies in the milk, vegetable and rice value chains in Kenya, the Philippines, Tanzania and Tunisia.

The needs mainly concern support to small and medium-sized enterprises, clean energy service and technology providers, especially through innovative financing channels but also through interregional knowledge transfer. Support should include awareness raising about available technology and financing, support to farmers and factories regarding uptake of clean energy solutions, in terms of skills and access to finance; strengthening quality control and engagement with the policy and financing sectors to design supportive policies and appropriate financing models.

“Climate change is an opportunity to intensify the work on energy in agriculture, also in terms of financing. Increasing productivity in a sustainable way is key to surviving,” said Maria Weitz, Project Coordinator, ‘Sustainable Energy for Food – Powering Agriculture’, GIZ at INVESTA’s international workshop in November 2017. Ms. Weitz also described the wide range of experiences but also barriers to investing in energy sustainable approaches. She said that INVESTA’s work and the forthcoming reports summarizing the lessons learned will assist in overcoming the barriers.
 
As part of the INVESTA project, FAO devised a methodology to measure the hidden costs and co-benefits of energy interventions in food chains. Using the methodology, experiences and data from different food value chains in North and East Africa and South-East Asia were then analyzed by tapping into case studies and ground research.

The analysis shows to what extent public support for investment in sustainable energy technologies still brings positive economic returns when externalities are included. Private sector stakeholders are already utilizing the overall approach of the methodology in some of the islands in the Philippines.

“Its results will have significant importance for the implementation of several of the SDGs, in particular, those related to food security, energy and climate change, and of course, to the fulfilment of commitments made in the context of the Paris Agreement” explained Alexander Jones, Director of the Climate and Environment Division of FAO.

The two-day workshop was held at FAO Headquarters from 23-24 November and was attended by more than 60 participants from Kenya, Tanzania, Tunisia, the Philippines and various international institutions. It was a chance to not only discuss outcomes of the INVESTA project but also to validate the recommendations. It initiated discussions between financers, investors, practitioners and regulators to identify possible ways to improve the enabling environment for investments, and to develop concrete ideas for cooperation.

FAO and its partners will continue support the adoption of clean energy technologies in food value chains as one focus area of its Energy-Smart Food programme.