The promises and challenges of biofuels for the poor in developing countries

Jan 2006

In the past several years the changing world energy situation has generated intensive discussion about biofuels, much of it a promising source of environment-friendly energy that would also be a boon to the world’s farmers. At the same time skeptics argue that biofuel production will threaten food supplies for the poor and fail to achieve the environmental benefits claimed. Based on the analyses presented in this document, it is stated that in order to make a difference in the lives of poor people as both energy producers and consumers, and to make strong environmental and economic contributions, biofuel technology needs further advancement, and investments and policies facilitating agricultural innovation and trade will have to be considered.

By: Joachim von Braun and R. K. Pachauri (IFPRI)

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