UN Food and Agriculture Organization releases bioenergy decision support tool

A decision-support tool developed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has been designed to help ensure that countries can enter the rapidly growing field of bioenergy industry to produce benefits for the poor without jeopardizing their food security.

The analytical framework allows governments interested in entering the bioenergy sector to calculate the effect of their policy decisions on the food security of their populations. Bioenergy can affect food prices and rural incomes and thus has important implications – both positive and negative — for food security.

A prerequisite for running the framework is the establishment of a bioenergy development scenario, a process in which FAO helps government clearly define their bioenergy policy options and the various possible strategies to achieve those options.

The analytical framework then makes it possible, through five steps, to assess: technical biomass potential; biomass production costs; the economic bioenergy potential; macro-economic consequences; national and household-level impact and consequences on food security.

Analysis of the results will make it possible to determine actual bioenergy potential and which households are most vulnerable and thus at risk of food insecurity.

The framework , designed by a team of economists from FAO, Utrecht University’s Copernicus Institute and Darmstadt’s Oeko-Institut, will be field-tested in Peru, Thailand and Tanzania before it is made available to the international community.

Source: FAO via Biofuels Digest

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