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FAO Releases Report on Bioenergy and Food Security in Tanzania

June 2010: The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) has released a report on “Bioenergy and Food Security: The BEFS Analysis for Tanzania,” which aims to support the development of bioenergy policies that are aligned with Tanzania's poverty reduction and food security strategies.

The Bioenergy and Food Security (BEFS) Project is implemented by the FAO and funded by the Government of Germany. The BEFS analytical framework is composed of five components: biomass potential; biofuel supply chain production costs; agriculture markets; economy wide impacts; and household level food security. The Tanzania case study examines: cassava, sugar cane, palm oil, jatropha, sweet sorghum and sunflower for bioenergy analyses; and maize, cassava and rice for food security analyses.

The results of the study suggest that the land in Tanzania is highly suitable for cassava and sunflower cultures. In terms of producing biofuels, the analysis recommends ethanol production from cassava because it allows participation of smallholder farmers, though the report notes that technological capacity is limited in Tanzania. The report notes that biofuel and agricultural markets in Tanzania are sensitive to changes in government biofuel policies. It highlights that there is no national-level trade-off between biofuel and food production, but that there could be a trade-off between biofuel expansion and traditional export crops.

The analysis suggests that the dividends from investing in biofuels can have positive impacts on poverty reduction and growth, assuming that that there are public investments to support biofuel development. [Report on Bioenergy and Food Security in Tanzania]