Is the expansion of biofuels at odds with the food security of developing countries?

Daniel de la Torre Ugarte, Lixia He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle in a journalpeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The production of ethanol and biodiesel has been growing rapidly in Brazil, the USA and the EU. Although the current share of overall fuel consumption is quite small, if biofuels become a global mainstream energy source, their production will eventually affect the traditional food and feedstock market. This may cause further problems in already food-insecure nations (mainly developing countries) owing to food price increases. This perspective discusses possible responses to supply variability that developing countries may make to mitigate the odds against them and take advantage of the opportunities offered by price increases through efficient marketing systems, investing in agricultural research, improving agricultural practices, and developing an extension system focusing on the sustainable use of limited land and renewable resources. Developing technology that can convert cellulosic materials to biofuels efficiently will also help defuse the demand stress on traditional food supplies worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92-102
Number of pages11
JournalBiofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Biofuels
  • Economics
  • Food security


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