Biofuels should not be considered a theat anymore as FAO Director, Graziano Da Silva, claimed yesterday in Berlin at the Global Forum for Food and Agriculture

Increasing competition for natural resource and emerging resource bottlenecks mean that global agriculture can no longer operate using a “business as usual” approach – the input-intensive agricultural development model used for the past 40 years is no longer sustainable, and a “paradigm shift” in food production is needed.

The topic of the forum this year is The Growing Demand for Food, Raw Materials and Energy: Opportunities for Agriculture, Challenges for Food Security?

Graziano Da Silva referred to biofuel vs food debate in this Forum yesterday: “We need to move from the food versus fuel debate to a food and fuel debate. There is no question: food comes first,” he said, adding: “But biofuels should not be simply seen as a threat or as a magical solution. Like anything else, they can do good or bad.”

“Business as usual would mean a huge and simultaneous increase in the need for food, energy and water in the next decades: 60 percent more food, 50 percent more energy and 40 percent more water by 2050,” Graziano da Silva said during his remarks.

Evidence shows that when developed responsibly, sustainable biofuel production systems can offer an additional source of income for poor farmers.

FAO estimates point to the need to increase food production by 60 percent by 2050 to feed a population that will top the 9 billion mark.

The FAO Director-General noted that thanks to experience gained in recent years and new biofuel production technologies, countries today are better positioned to evaluate the opportunities and risks of biofuel production and to use it when it pays off socially, environmentally and economically.

He also stressed that in order to avoid conflicts with food production, mandatory biofuel policies must be flexible and “need to be adjusted according to the reality, the ongoing balance of production, and stocks of the different products used.”

To address the challenge of feeding more people while using less land, water and energy, concerted efforts and investments are needed to support a widespread, globe-spanning transition to sustainable farming systems and land management practices, according to FAO’s Director-General.

Source: FAO (