Updated: Mar. 3, 2016
Meeting Agriculture’s Need for Clean Energy to Feed The Developing World
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization projects that by 2050 global food production will need to increase 70 percent over 2005–2007 levels to meet the demand of a growing world population expected to reach 9.6 billion people. For food production to keep pace and feed the world, there will need to be an increase in agricultural production resulting in an increased demand for energy. Already the agri-food supply chain accounts for 30% of the world’s energy consumption as reported by the International Renewable Energy Agency.
The negative consequences of this increased need of energy include a vulnerability to fluctuating energy prices that can negatively impact food production especially in the developing world and a significant growth in greenhouse gas emissions within the agricultural sector from the use of primarily fossil fuels to generate the needed electricity.
In 2012, Powering Agriculture: An Energy Grand Challenge for Development was launched by its Founding Partners -The United States Agency for International Development, the Government of Sweden, Duke Energy Corporation, the Government of Germany, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation - to catalyze resources and focus attention on the lack of access by many farmers and agribusinesses in developing countries to reliable, affordable, and clean energy. This limits their ability to adopt modern agricultural practices, increase food production, improve efficiency of their operations, and benefit from broad-based, low-carbon economic growth.