Biofuel demand changes land-use and food supply

There are some facts revealed by various biofuel papers, emphasizing the high cost of production, economic potential of second-generation and large scale of advanced biofuel technology.

The most recent paper published by WB analyzes the long term impact of large scale expansion of biofuel on land-use change, food supply and prices, and the overall economy in various countries or regions.

Using a global computable general equilibrium model, the study was augmented a land-use module and detailed representation of biofuel sectors. The study finds that an expansion of global biofuel production to meet currently articulated or even higher national targets in various countries for biofuel use would reduce gross domestic product at the global level.

The study reveals that the gross domestic product impacts are mixed across countries or regions. In short, the expansion of biofuels would cause significant land re-allocation with notable decreases in forest and pasture lands in a few countries.

The results also suggest that the expansion of biofuels would cause a reduction in food supply. Although the magnitude of the impact on food supply at the global level is not as large as perceived earlier, it would be significant in developing countries like India and those in Sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural commodities such as sugar, corn, and oil seeds, which serve as the main biofuel feedstocks, would experience significant increases in their prices in 2020 compared with the prices at baseline due to the expansion of biofuels to meet the existing targets.

The study was conducted by Govinda R. Timilsina, John C. Beghin, Dominique van der Mensbrugghe and Simon Mevel under the World Bank groups. The publication is available to download.

So, the biofuel expansion that driven by the demand from industrialised countries seems has relation to the land-use and food production change in India, Southeast Asia and Sub Saharan Africa. Unfortunatelly, our climate has change and affect the agriculture production as well