Agricultural production consumes 10 percent of total global primary energy, and 30 percent, if the total food supply chain is included. Since more judicious use of energy resources in the agriculture sector is essential for sustainable agricultural intensification and food security, IFPRI works on energy policy as it relates to water and food security, including groundwater pumping, fertilizer management, and bioenergy.
Rising energy prices and growing environmental concerns about traditional energy sources have resulted in increased demand for biofuels as a source of low-carbon energy. And the expansion of crop-based biofuels has spurred competition between food and biofuel production. While the shift in agricultural resources toward crops that serve as biofuel feedstock has contributed to food price increases in the past, many of the trade-offs between environmental sustainability, food security, and nutrition are avoidable.
IFPRI researchers examine the effects of energy price developments and biofuel policy on regional and global food market dynamics, with a particular focus on human well-being, economic growth, and the environment. To study energy and biofuels development within the wider context of socioeconomic development and growth, IFPRI uses various global scenario analysis and market modeling tools—including the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT) and Modeling International Relationships in Applied General Equilibrium (MIRAGE) models—as well as country- and regional-level analyses, linking household well-being to macroeconomic conditions.