Policies promoting ethanol and biodiesel production and use in the U.S., Europe, and other parts of the world since the mid-2000s have had profound—and largely unintended—consequences on global food prices, agricultural land values, land acquisition, and food security in developing countries. They have also created regional opportunities in the form of agricultural investments, crop yield growth, and booming farm economies. Rising incomes in emerging economies are generating increased demand for transportation fuels, thus stimulating further growth of the global biofuel industry. This seminar will explore the politics, economics, and global food security implications of the expanding biofuel sector. Several policy questions will be raised, including the role of biofuel mandates on food prices, the role of trade policies for stabilizing food prices in an era of increasingly tight demand, and the role of land policies and institutions for feedstock production and income distribution in the developing world.
Siwa Msangi, Senior Research Fellow in the Environment and Production Technology Division at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) will provide commentary. Msangi's work focuses on the major socio-economic and bio-physical drivers affecting agricultural production and trade, and their impacts on nutrition, poverty and the environment. Dr. Msangi manages a research portfolio that includes the economic and environmental implications of biofuels, and has coordinated the project Biofuels and the Poor in partnership with FSE.