The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says that globally, farmers must produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to meet demand of the world's projected population of 9 billion.” Reuters 

We are in an era where increases in population, land degradation, water scarcity and climate change are leading to a lack of productive agricultural land. The emotive issue of land being used for food crops versus land use for energy crops is coming to a head.  

Decreases in land availability equates to a decline in food availability and food price increases. With a growing population this is a threat to our social security. However, fossil fuel resources are driving greenhouse gas emissions and green fuel alternatives are the only way to reduce climate change. 

With these two opposing arguments that have such a huge impact on our future demographic, is it possible for agricultural food and fuel production to coexist and can we change our mindsets on this dichotomy? 

Not only is it estimated that there are between 600 million and 3.5 billion hectares of marginal land that can only accommodate hardy energy crops (Source: Aviation Initiative for Renewable Energy: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/14/germany-airshow-biofuels-idAFL5E8KE2DP20120914), but achieving more efficient agricultural processes and innovations in land use could improve yields for both food and energy crops. 

A polarised debate on food or fuel is not useful – we must look to solutions to enable the growth of a sustainable and green fuels industry without impacting the food demands of the world’s current and future populationPutting sustainable agricultural at the crux of the debate over food vs. fuel, join our hour long free webinar to hear expert views on this argument and how it dictates the future of crop development. 

“Given all the hysteria over biofuels you'd be forgiven for believing that wiping out the biofuels industry will solve world hunger. It won't. Firstly, agriculture is not a zero-sum game. As well as offering genuine greenhouse gas savings today and even better prospects in future, biofuels have already led to big investments in sustainable farming practices which can improve agricultural productivity in the round.” 

(Source: Clare Wenner: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/16/biofuels-industry-demonised

Is there a way to alleviate social tensions over biofuels by implementing sustainable farming practices? Speakers will draw up facts on the following topics: 


FOOD


FUEL

  • The problem of feeding the increasing population
  • How the land grabs have affected agricultural production
  • The increasing costs of agricultural food crops
  • Environmental issues affecting crop production
  • Factors other than biofuels affecting food generation

VS.

  • International policy issues restricting biofuels production
  • Issues in attaining a social license for biofuels
  • The reasons behind the need to increase green fuel use
  • Accessing marginal land for energy crops
  • Innovation in crop production and new technologies

Speaker Line Up

William J. Martin, Research Manager, Agriculture and Rural Development, World BankWilliam J. Martin, Research Manager, Agriculture and Rural Development, World Bank

Speaker's Profile

Will Martin is manager for Agricultural and Rural Development in the World Bank’s Research Group. His recent research has focused primarily on the impacts of changes in trade policy and food prices on poor people in developing countries. Earlier research has also examined the impact of major trade policy reforms—including the Uruguay Round; the Doha Development Agenda; and China’s accession to the WTO—on developing countries; implications of climate change for poor people; and implications of improvements in agricultural productivity in developing countries. Since August 2012, he has been President-Elect of the International Association of Agricultural Economists. He trained in economics and agricultural economics at the University of Queensland, the Australian National University and Iowa State University and worked at the Australian Bureau of Agricultural Economics and the Australian National University before joining the World Bank in 1991.

 

Tony Juniper, Sustainability Adviser & EnvironmentalistTony Juniper, Environmentalist; former Executive, Friends of the Earth

Speaker's Profile

Tony Juniper is a campaigner, writer, sustainability adviser and a well-known British environmentalist. For more than 25 years he has worked for change toward a more sustainable society at local, national and international levels. From providing ecology and conservation experiences for primary school children, to making the case for new recycling laws, to orchestrating international campaigns for action on rainforests and climate change, his work has sought change at many levels.