Energy and food security are often dealt with separately, yet energy is directly and indirectly embedded in food production and preparation. Bearing in mind the expected population growth, food production needs to be increased by 70% to feed the world in 2050. No doubt that this will require heavy energy use, and, with the current energy supply system, is likely to cause more greenhouse gas emissions.
At the same time, more than two-fifths of the world’s population still depends on unsustainably harvested wood energy for cooking and heating, with significant impact on health, food production and nutrition, as well as local and regional climate. Moreover, the population relying on biomass as fuel is projected to increase in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, worsening these consequences.
The opportunity for jointly addressing these two development goals does exist; although insufficiently exploited. Integration of food and energy systems can be a viable solution. Ecosystem approaches that combine both food and energy production, such as agroforestry or integrated crop–livestock–biogas systems could provide both food and energy to rural and urban populations, while substantially improving human health and mitigating climate risks. Similarly there are many unexplored opportunities for promoting energy and food security along the agroprocessing value chain, and at the level where the food and energy are utilized.
This expert group will consider the linkages, synergies and conflicts between energy security and food security, focusing on household and local level issues for rural populations but recognizing connections to national policy as well as regional and international trade. Working activities will be divided into three key themes that will define the work of the expert group: Joint food-energy production system, agroprocessing food chain and food utilization.
For further information please contact Caroline Ochieng