World Food Day 2008: Implications of Climate Change and Bioenergy Demand for the World’s Poor

October 14, 2008

World Food Day 2008 is devoted to addressing two related challenges to global food markets—the recent rapid growth in demand for biofuels and the longer term threats from climate change. The work of IFPRI and other organizations has shown that increased biofuels production is having a disproportionate effect on the food security of poor people in developing countries, and future changes in precipitation and temperature are likely to pose even greater challenges.

IFPRI’s biofuels research has modeled the effects of policy-driven growth in biofuels production on global food prices and the resulting changes in agricultural supply, demand, trade, and regional food security. IFPRI is also conducting country-level work on the potential benefits and costs of increasing biofuel production. A new IFPRI discussion paper on Mozambique investigates the implications of current biofuel policies and investments on future economic growth and country-level income distribution and poverty incidence.

IFPRI’s climate change research examines the linkages between agricultural markets and production and environmental change to determine the severity and distribution of socioeconomic vulnerability over the next 30–50 years. In addition, IFPRI is partnering with key collaborators in developing countries to establish effective adaptation policies at the farm, national, and regional levels. Recent IFPRI papers on South Africa and Ethiopia analyze how small-scale farmers are currently adapting to climate change in an effort to guide future policy recommendations. Because agriculture supports rural livelihoods in many regions, but is also a large source of carbon emissions, IFPRI is determining the potential for pro-poor carbon mitigation.