Pro-poor biofuels outlook for Asia and Africa: ICRISAT’s perspective – A working paper

Mar 2007

The topic of biofuels has drawn increased interest worldwide in the wake of steeply-climbing fossil fuel prices in 2005-06. In late 2006/early 2007 prices began to subside, but are unlikely to return to their former levels. The painful experience of national economies at the mercy of decisions taken far from their shores left a lasting impression on policymakers, and many nations now have a strong desire to increase energy self-reliance.
At the same time, nations are coming to an increasing realization of the enormity of the threat of global warming (IPCC 2007), also stimulated by Al Gore’s popular film ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. Policymakers have as a result also gained interest in the potential of biofuels to help reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.
This background paper describes ICRISAT’s current knowledge and strategy on biofuels related to its own mission and mandate, especially its work in India but also initial investigations underway in sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the authors, though much experience has been gained and some very promising results have emerged that can be up-scaled now, it is also clear that the biofuels revolution is at a nascent stage; more research and development work are essential to confirm and fulfill the potential of this pro-poor approach.

By: ICRISAT (International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics)

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