The Food and Agricultural Organization released its annual publication The State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) 2008 yesterday, revealing how current biofuel policies and subsidies need to be reviewed in order to guarantee global food security, the protection of poor farmers, rural development and environmental sustainability.
The report states that biofuel production, based on agricultural commodities, tripled from 2000 to 2007 and now provides for almost two percent of the global consumption of transport fuels. This has consequently pushed up the prices of agricultural commodities worldwide, and the increased global food prices are currently having a negative impact on developing nations who are highly dependent on food imports to meet their requirements.
‘Biofuels present both opportunities and risks. The outcome would depend on the specific context of the country and the policies adopted’, commented FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf in Rome yesterday.
‘Current policies tend to favor producers in some developed countries over producers in most developing countries. The challenge is to reduce or manage the risks while sharing the opportunities more widely’, he added.
Furthermore, it is said that the second generation of biofuels currently being developed, but not yet commercially available, using feedstocks including wood, tall grasses, forestry and crop residues, could improve the fossil energy and greenhouse gas balance of biofuels.
To download the full report click here for the FAO webpage.