Right to Food and bioenergy

Author: FAO Right to Food Team

"Focus on" Series, 2007.

This paper “Right to Food and Bioenergy” is a part of the "Focus on" series, which also entails papers on, “Right to Food and Access to Natural Resources”, "Right to Food and HIV/AIDS”, “Right to Food and Gender” and “Right to Food and Indigenous Peoples”.

Traditional bioenergy is the dominant source of energy for about half of the world’s population and it is used mainly for cooking. This in itself makes access to bioenergy a right to food issue. Increasingly though, modern bioenergy is becoming prominent with a different kind of land-use, based on cash crops and plantations and with the use of technologically advanced processing of biomass into liquid biofuels. The name agrofuels might therefore describe the issue more aptly. In recent years, agrofuels have been seen as part of the solution in combating climate change. They are a renewable source of energy and provide new employment and income opportunities for rural populations. In fact, for the first time in many decades, agricultural commodity prices are stabilizing at higher levels. In principle, this could benefit the masses of poor small-scale farmers.

The paper addresses the right to food and bioenergy in regard to the new risks and hopes of bioenergy, the right to food dimensions, and reconciling the right to food and energy security.

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