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.
The recent emergence of liquid biofuels based on agricultural crops as transport fuels has reasserted the linkages between energy and agricultural output markets. Liquid biofuels have the potential to exert a significant effect on agricultural markets, but they are, and are likely to remain, a relatively small part of the overall energy market. The world’s total primary energy demand amounts to about 11 400 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe) per year (IEA, 2007); biomass, including agricultural and forest products and organic wastes and residues, accounts for 10 percent of this total.