Biotech Updates

Reducing Poverty by Growing Fuel and Food

February 18, 2011

A new FAO Study on Making Integrated Food-Energy Systems (IFES) Work for People and Climate – An Overview, reports some developed and developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America which have successfully integrated production of food and energy crops.The practice of Integrated Food-Energy Systems (IFES) follows the use of crop residues in farms or debris from trees used to grow fruits to generate bioenergy. Other by-products such as slurry, besides being used for fertilizer can also be used as a biogas feedstock.

With this strategy, there could be savings from reduced use of fossil fuel and chemical fertilizers and women will no longer have to search for firewood and will devote their time to family and children, or in other income-generating activities. In addition, the report said that "combining food and energy production, would reduce the likelihood that land will be converted from food to energy production, since one needs less land to produce food and energy."

Similar strategies have been successfully conducted in the Republic of Congo and Vietnam, and Olivier Dubois, an FAO energy expert says that "Promoting the advantages of IFES and improving the policy and institutional environment for such systems should become a priority."

See the news release on this study at