Understanding the complex interactions among food security, bioenergy sustainability, and resource management requires a focus on specific contextual problems and opportunities. Effective food security programmes begin by clearly defining the problem and asking: What can be done to assist people at high risk? Simplistic global analyses, headlines, and cartoons that blame biofuels for food insecurity may reflect good intentions, but mislead the public and policy-makers because they obscure the main drivers of local food insecurity and ignore opportunities for bioenergy to contribute to solutions.
Applying sustainability guidelines to bioenergy, the paper argues, will help achieve near- and long-term goals to eradicate hunger. Priorities for achieving successful synergies between bioenergy and food security include
- clarifying communications with clear and consistent terms;
- recognizing that food and bioenergy need not compete for land, and instead should be integrated to improve resource management;
- investing in technology, rural extension, and innovations to build capacity and infrastructure;
- promoting stable prices that incentivize local production;
- adopting flexible crops that can provide food along with other products and services to society; and
- engaging stakeholders to identify and assess specific opportunities for biofuels to improve food security.
Systematic monitoring and analysis to support adaptive management and continual improvement are essential elements to build synergies and help society equitably meet growing demands for both food and energy.
Read the article (external link to journal; open access)