Biofuels and food security
Risks and Opportunities
There is persistent concern that biofuels compete with food production, drive up food prices and price volatility and so cause hunger. Many people, including very dignified authorities, accept this simple causality chain. The reality is far more complex.
In a report now published by ePURE, Ecofys explored the background and details of the 2006-2008 food crisis and the 2011 commodity price spike. The report discusses both direct causes and systemic factors: to what extent global prices transmit to local prices across regions, the specific role of biofuels in the commodity price, and its role in stimulating necessary agricultural investments.
The study concludes that the role of biofuels remains very small. Systemic factors, like reduced reserves, food waste, speculation, transportation issues, storage costs and problems, and hoarding play a much larger role in local food prices. These factors can be solved and should get much more attention.
Please find additional insights in a related webinar presentation by Carlo Hamelinck: