No 53 - Energy-Smart Food at FAO: An Overview 14 June 2012 This paper presents FAO’s work on energy in relation to specific components of the agrifood chain. It complements two recent publications, Energy-Smart Food for People and Climate Issues Paper and the policy brief, Making the Case for Energy-Smart Food. These publications presented the findings of a 2011 study commissioned by FAO that examined the linkages between energy and agrifood systems and their implications for food security and climate. The study looked at energy uses along the entire agrifood chain from field to plate and the potential of agrifood systems to produce energy. Findings confirmed that agrifood systems use a large share of the global energy supply, rely heavily on fossil fuels to meet production targets and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The study concluded that agrifood systems will have to become ‘energy-smart’ to meet future food and energy challenges, and recommended establishing a major long-term multipartner programme on energy-smart food systems based on three pillars (i) improving energy efficiency in agrifood systems, (ii) increasing the use of renewable energy in these systems and (iii) improving access to modern energy services through integrated food and energy production. In response to these recommendations, FAO has launched the multi-partner Energysmart Food for People and Climate (ESF) Programme. This paper illustrates how FAO’s longstanding work in the area of energy and agrifood systems contributes towards the ESF Programme’s objectives. [more]
4 June 2012 The aim of this paper is to discuss how the entire food sector, from the farmer’s fi eld to the consumer’s plate, can become more ‘energy-smart’. Becoming energy-smart will require a transformation along the food chain that involves: - relying more on low-carbon energy systems and using energy more effi ciently; - strengthening the role of renewable energy within food systems; - providing greater access to modern energy services for development, and at the same time supporting the achievement of national food security and sustainable development goals. This paper provides examples of energy-smart practices for both small-and large-scale enterprises and covers the entire food sector. [more]
Good Environmental Practices in Bioenergy Feedstock Production 4 June 2012 In order to ensure that modern bioenergy development is sustainable and that it safeguards food security, a number of good practices can be implemented throughout the bioenergy supply chain. Building on FAO?s work on good practices in agriculture and forestry, the FAO?s Bioenergy and Food Security Criteria and Indicators (BEFSCI) project has compiled a set of good environmental practices that can be implemented by bioenergy feedstock producers so as to minimize the risk of negative environmental impacts from their operations, and to ensure that modern bioenergy delivers on its climate change mitigation potential. These practices can improve both the efficiency and sustainability in the use of land, water and agricultural inputs for bioenergy production, with positive environmental and socio-economic effects, including a reduction in the potential competition with food production. These practices can also minimize the impacts of bioenergy feedstock production on biodiversity and ecosystems, which provide a range of goods and services that are key for food security. [more]
Small-Scale Bioenergy Initiatives: Brief description and preliminary lessons on livelihood impacts from case studies in Asia, Latin America and Africa 4 June 2012 This report is based on a series of 15 international case studies conducted between September and November 2008 under a joint initiative of FAO and the PISCES Energy Research Programme Consortium funded by DFID. The case studies focussed on developing an improved understanding of the linkages between Livelihoods and Small-Scale Bioenergy Initiatives. The study was developed in consultation with the PISCES Consortium Advisory Group (CAG). This is made up of leading international participants in the field of energy and development, including members from the IEA, UNEP, ENERGIA, DFID and FAO, as well as policymakers and research organisations in the PISCES target countries of India, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Tanzania.The focus of the study was on the impacts that different types of local level Bioenergy initiatives can have on Rural Livelihoods in different contexts in the developing world. Livelihoods are understood as the enhancement of the full range of natural, financial, human, social and physical capitals on a sustainable ongoing basis. [more]
Making Integrated Food Energy Systems work for People and Climate 4 June 2012 Environment and Natural Resources Management Working Paper 45. Reducing “Energy Poverty” is increasingly acknowledged as the “Missing Development Goal”. This is because access to electricity and modern energy sources is a basic requirement to achieve and sustain decent and sustainable living standards. It is essential for lighting, heating and cooking, as well as for education, modern health treatment and productive activities, hence food security and rural development. Yet three billion people – about half of the world’s population - rely on unsustainable biomass-based energy sources to meet their basic energy needs for cooking and heating, and 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity. [more]
The State of Food and Agriculture 2008: Biofuels: prospects, risks and opportunities 4 June 2012 The State of Food and Agriculture 2008 explores the implications of the rapid recent growth in production of biofuels based on agricultural commodities. The boom in liquid biofuels has been largely induced by policies in developed countries, based on their expected positive contributions to climate-change mitigation, energy security and agricultural development. The growing demand for agricultural commodities for the production of biofuels is having significant repercussions on agricultural markets, and concerns are mounting over their negative impact on the food security of millions of people across the world. At the same time, the environmental impacts of biofuels are also coming under closer scrutiny. But biofuels also offer the opportunity for agricultural and rural development – if appropriate policies and investments are put in place. This report reviews the current state of the debate and the available evidence on these critical questions. It finds that concerted efforts to reform policies and invest in agriculture will be essential if the risks associated with biofuels are to be reduced, and the opportunities more widely shared. [more]
Forests and energy: key issues 4 June 2012 Soaring energy consumption and fossil fuel prices, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and concerns over energy import dependence are driving the search for alternatives to fossil fuels for energy production. Biofuels currently constitute the largest source of renewable energy produced on earth. As biomass, wood offers some of the highest levels of energy and carbon ef?ciency. This publication explores the relationship between forests and energy. It considers the present and future contribution of wood in the production of bioenergy as well as the effects of liquid biofuel crop development on forests. The paper begins with an overview of global energy supply and demand with projections to the year 2030. The contribution of wood energy is then considered in the context of a general discussion of a variety of bioenergy crops and their use in the production of ?rst- and second-generation biofuels. The analysis evaluates the payoffs in developing different sources of bioenergy and the risks of land conversion. It also discusses market forces and ongoing technological innovations for wood energy production. Policy options and recommendations for bioenergy development are given, stressing the importance of integrated planning and monitoring of land use, and the transfer of advanced wood energy technologies to developing countries. This publication will be useful to both specialized and general audiences interested in learning more about the role of forests in energy production. [more]
Energy and Gender Issues in Rural Sustainable Development 4 June 2012 FAO is looking at ways in which increased attention to energy and gender linkages can help countries promote sustainable agricultural production and rural development, as well as work towards meeting the targets set out in the Millennium Development Goals.It is FAO’s view that increased access to energy sources in rural areas and the development of new bioenergy sources can contribute to achievement of the Millennium Development Goals relating to the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger, improvements in health, education, and environmental sustainability, as well as gender equality and the empowerment of women. FAO’s Committee on Agriculture has identified the great potential of bioenergy for supporting new rural infrastructure and employment opportunities, and has also recognized that an integrated multidisciplinary approach is needed for its new Bioenergy Programme to address the social and economic objectives set out in the MDGs. A focus on gender issues is particularly important in this context since many of the world’s poorest people are women living in rural areas in developing countries who are currently dependent on subsistence agriculture to feed their families, and who are disproportionately affected by the lack of modern fuels and power sources for farming, household maintenance and productive enterprises. [more]
Making Sustainable Biofuels Work for Smallholder Farmers: Issues and Perspectives 4 June 2012 This paper provides an overview of the main risks and opportunities that may arise from liquid biofuel production and use in developing countries. Both the potential environmental impacts and the socio-economic effects of liquid biofuel production and use are discussed, focusing, in particular, on the household-level implications. A few country-levels impacts, which might trickle down to the household level, are discussed as well. Recommendations on how to minimize the risks and maximize the opportunities of liquid biofuel production and use are provided in the final section of the paper. [more]
Gender and equity issues in liquid biofuels production 4 June 2012 The production of liquid biofuels is rapidly increasing in developing countries, due mainly to the establishment of large-scale biofuel feedstock plantations1. This results in potential socio-economic benefits2, particularly in terms of agricultural employment, as well as risks, which tend to be context-specific. This paper explores the potential gender-differentiated3 risks associated with the large-scale production of first-generation liquid biofuels (see box 1) in developing countries. The objective of this study is to engage in an in-depth discussion of some hypothetical risks and identify research and policy strategies to address them, in order to maximize the opportunities offered by biofuels production. A subsequent paper will explore the benefits of small-scale biofuels production for energy generation in rural areas. The potential environmental and socio-economic risks that may arise from the establishment and operation of large-scale plantations for the production of biofuels are considered. In addition, some potential risks for food security resulting from an increase in food prices due to the growing use of agricultural crops for biofuels production are discussed. This paper represents a first attempt to go beyond the traditional gender and biofuels debate, which has focused on the gender-differentiated health impacts of household use of solid biofuels. For a comprehensive evaluation of the potential effects of liquid biofuels production on people’s economic and social well-being in developing countries, understanding the genderrelated implications of such production in these countries (particularly in specific socioeconomic and policy contexts) is essential. [more]
BEFSCI - Good Socio-Economic Practices in Modern Bioenergy Production Minimizing Risks and Increasing Opportunities 4 June 2012 Modern bioenergy development can result in a number of environmental and socio-economic impacts (both positive and negative), creating both opportunities and risks for food security. In order to minimize these risks and increase the opportunities, bioenergy producers can implement a number of “good practices”, i.e. practices that “concretely contribute to environmental, economic and social sustainability of on-farm production resulting in safe and healthy food and non-food agricultural products” [more]

last updated:  Tuesday, June 5, 2012