On Food Price Implications from Expanded Bioenergy Production
Licentiate thesis, 2012
Bioenergy has been put forward as a solution to energy security and at the same time to climate change. It is, however, dependent on productive agricultural land, which is a limited resource. Introduction of bioenergy on a large scale will thus compete with food production and natural forests for productive land, a competition expected to affect food prices.
In this thesis I focus on poverty nourishment issues related to changing food prices and on the mechanisms of land-use competition and how they affect food prices.
In the first paper we use two established indicators for poverty and sensitivity to food-price changes, to capture peoples' vulnerability to rising food-prices, in four Sub-Sahara African countries/regions. In contrast to previous studies, we include all food products instead of just one or a few main staples. We found that the vast majority of people are net consumers of food and that the inclusion of more than main staples increases their net position as consumers and thus vulnerability to high food prices.
In paper two and three a conceptual and transparent partial equilibrium model of global land-use competition is developed, analyzed and applied. The model is to a large degree analytically explored and price differentials between crops are derived. The model is subjected to a detailed characterization of its mechanisms and parameters in which parameters that are critical to results and conclusions from the model are detected and their impacts depicted. We conclude that the total amount of productive agricultural area is of crucial importance to the price impacts from large-scale introduction of bioenergy. Yields of bioenergy crops are also important since they determine the amount of land required to produce the bioenergy.
food price effects
partial equilibrium model
land use competition