Potential of biofuels for reducing poverty


Published on

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Potential of biofuels for reducing poverty

  1. 1. Potential of biofuels for reducing poverty 29 April 2009 FAO, Rome Vineet Raswant
  2. 2. Agenda <ul><li>Part 1: Why are biofuels important for the rural poor? </li></ul><ul><li>Part 2: Addressing the climate change mitigation agenda </li></ul><ul><li>Part 3: Biofuels and food security </li></ul><ul><li>Part 4: Biofuels and water </li></ul><ul><li>Part 5: Biofuels and biodiversity </li></ul>
  3. 3. Why are biofuels important for the rural poor?
  4. 4. Why are biofuels important for the rural poor? <ul><li>1 out of 5 people are engaged in Agriculture. </li></ul><ul><li>Yet Agriculture only contributes to 4% of Global GDP. </li></ul><ul><li>Not surprising that poverty is largely in the agricultural sector. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Why are biofuels important for the rural poor? <ul><li>If these people stay in agriculture, they face many problems. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Commodity prices kept declining up to 2006. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Input costs have been going up. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Agriculture is unprofitable for many. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>With declining land holdings the problems of smallholder farmers could be even worse. </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Why are biofuels important for the rural poor? <ul><li>Option 1: Improve farm-gate prices . </li></ul>
  7. 7. Why are biofuels important for the rural poor? <ul><li>Option 2: Take these people out of agriculture - as advocated by a number of economists. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can they be absorbed in other sectors in developing countries, when most are agriculture-dependent economies? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Why are biofuels important for the rural poor? <ul><li>There is a need to expand the size of the agricultural basket (as presently defined food, feed, and fibre) to employ such a large number of poor. </li></ul><ul><li>Biofuels have the potential to generate employment in rural areas, and trigger agricultural growth with implications for poverty reduction. </li></ul><ul><li>Cross-country econometric evidence indicates that GDP growth generated in agriculture is at least twice as effective in reducing poverty as growth generated by other sectors (World Bank, 2007). </li></ul>
  9. 9. Addressing the climate change mitigation agenda
  10. 10. Alternative Biofuel Crops <ul><li>Partly due to a current knowledge gap, experiences with food crops, which have unfortunately been used for biofuel production, are dictating perceptions about biofuels. </li></ul>Should policies be dictated by such practices or lack of knowledge?
  11. 11. Alternative Biofuel Crops <ul><li>Jatropha, Pongamia, Cassava, Sweet sorghum: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>require less water, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can be grown in relatively unfavourable agro-climatic conditions, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Tropical sugarbeet, Seashore mallow, Camelina, Arundo donax can be grown in saline conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>There are about 60 million ha of land affected by secondary salinization, that – once R&D is conducted - can be used for biofuel production. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Biofuels and GHG savings Why not develop a cut-off point, such as ‘any reduction less than 40% is not acceptable’? 60% to 120% Next generation crops 53% to 78% Soybean 31% to 90% Palm oil -47% to +58% Maize Average Reduction Crops
  13. 13. Biofuels and food security
  14. 14. Biofuels and food security <ul><li>As experienced recently, food prices increased dramatically with maize and other food crops being introduced as feedstock, affecting many poor households. </li></ul><ul><li>However, the medium-longer term implications of sustained increase in food prices can lead to higher production. (SOFA 2008, FAO) </li></ul><ul><li>Food production can also be increased through improved yields, and cultivating additional lands. </li></ul><ul><li>Land potentially available for expanded crop production is between 250-800 million Ha. (SOFA 2008, FAO) </li></ul>
  15. 15. Biofuels and food security <ul><li>Available analysis indicated that in general bio-fuels are not a primary cause of hunger, nor a direct driver of food insecurity (GEF-STAP Workshop on Liquid Biofuels, 2006). </li></ul><ul><li>Bio-energy crops could be a means to alleviate poverty, and to increase food security through income generation. </li></ul><ul><li>Food security is not just a problem of production, rather a problem of unequal access within developing countries (FAO 2005). </li></ul><ul><li>Supply of energy in rural areas is central to intensification of agriculture. </li></ul>This has become a pressing issue only because some countries have used food crops for biofuels production. Solution: Do not use food crops for bio-fuel production, or promote multiple use crops.
  16. 16. Biofuels and water
  17. 17. Biofuels and water <ul><li>Intensive cultivation of monoculture cash crops causes environmental externalities associated with: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pesticides, fertilizers, high water use (which lead to water pollution and depleted resources). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Small scale farming production has lesser environmental impacts. </li></ul>Why not promote smallholder biofuel crop production using CA techniques?
  18. 18. Biofuels and biodiversity
  19. 19. Biofuels and biodiversity <ul><li>Deforestation has been occurring because of lack of opportunities, before the demand for biofuels increased. </li></ul><ul><li>Despite the fact that biofuels might have accelerated the trend in some areas, it should not be considered the key driver for deforestation. </li></ul><ul><li>World population is expected to rise from 6.77 billion to about 9 billion by 2040, mostly in developing countries. How are these people meant to earn their income? </li></ul>Why not promote production of suitable crops in dry marginal lands in anticipation of these trends?
  20. 20. Conclusion
  21. 21. Conclusion <ul><li>Biofuels should be treated like any other cash crop. </li></ul><ul><li>Impacts could be minimized by preferring crop varieties and farming techniques which cause low or positive impacts. </li></ul><ul><li>A more balanced and a clear view on biofuels needs to be disseminated. </li></ul>
  22. 22. Thank you for your Attention