FAO Releases Report on Gender and Equity Issues in Liquid Biofuels Production
21 April 2008: A new FAO study warns that the rapid expansion of large-scale production of liquid biofuels in developing countries could exacerbate the marginalization of women in rural areas and threaten their livelihoods. The study, entitled "Gender and Equity Issues in Liquid Biofuels Production – Minimizing the Risks to Maximize the Opportunities," discusses the potential gender-differentiated risks of liquid biofuels production and identifies research and policy strategies to better understand and address them.
Large scale biofuel production requires intensive use of resources and inputs, such as land, water, fertilizers and pesticides, to which small farmers, particularly women, traditionally have limited access. Furthermore, biofuel production could increase pressure on marginal lands, thereby displacing activities traditionally performed by women, including subsistence food production and the maintenance of agricultural biodiversity. The opportunities of biofuel production will only “trickle down to the farm level, especially to women, if pro-poor policies are put in place that also empower women,” according to Yianna Lambrou, co-author of the study.
The study offers a number of alternative policy options for reducing the risks and maximizing the opportunities of biofuels production, such as establishing international rules to ensure that this production is environmentally sustainable and pro-poor.
FAO press release: http://www.fao.org/newsroom/en/news/2008/1000830/index.html