The State of Food and Agriculture 2008 - Biofuels: prospects, risks and opportunities

Oct 2008

The State of Food and Agriculture 2008 explores the implications of the recent rapid growth in production of biofuels based on agricultural commodities. The boom in liquid biofuels has been largely driven by policies in developed countries in support of climate-change mitigation, energy security and agricultural development. The growing demand for agricultural commodities for the production of biofuels is having significant repercussions on agricultural markets, and concerns are mounting over their negative impact on the food security of millions of people across the world. At the same time, the environmental impacts of biofuels are also coming under closer scrutiny. But biofuels also offer the opportunity for agricultural and rural development — if appropriate policies and investments are put in place.
Biofuels are only one of many factors that have driven the recent rise in commodity prices. Also, biofuels have other implications beyond their effect on commodity prices. This issue of The State of Food and Agriculture surveys the current state of the debate on biofuels and explores these implications. It examines the policies being implemented in support of biofuels and the policies that would be needed to address their implications for the environment, food security and the poor.

By: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

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