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Producing Biofuels in Low-Income Countries: An Integrated Environmental and Economic Assessment for Tanzania

Listed author(s):
  • James Thurlow

    ()

    (International Food Policy Research Institute
    United Nations University - World Institute for Development Economics Research)

  • Giacomo Branca

    ()

    (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO))

  • Erika Felix

    ()

    (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO))

  • Irini Maltsoglou

    ()

    (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO))

  • Luis E. Rincón

    ()

    (Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO))

Abstract This paper jointly evaluates the greenhouse gas emissions and economic impacts from producing biofuels in Tanzania. Sequentially-linked models capture natural resource constraints; emissions from land use change; economywide growth linkages; and household poverty. Results indicate that there are economic incentives to convert unused lands to sugarcane-ethanol production, but only grasslands (not forests) have a reasonable carbon payback period. There are also strong socioeconomic reasons to involve smallholders in feedstock production in order to reduce rural poverty, especially since our results indicate that biofuels have little effect on food production. Yet smallholders require more land than large-scale plantations and so face more binding natural resource and emissions constraints. Overall, environmental constraints alter the socioeconomically optimal biofuel strategy for Tanzania by limiting potential poverty reduction. Unlike previous studies, our integrated assessment suggests that a mixed farming system with greater emphasis on large-scale plantations is more appropriate for producing sugarcane-ethanol in Tanzania.

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File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10640-014-9863-z
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Article provided by Springer & European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

Volume (Year): 64 (2016)
Issue (Month): 2 (June)
Pages: 153-171

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Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:64:y:2016:i:2:d:10.1007_s10640-014-9863-z
DOI: 10.1007/s10640-014-9863-z
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  1. Phalan, Ben, 2009. "The social and environmental impacts of biofuels in Asia: An overview," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 86(Supplemen), pages 21-29, November.
  2. Pauw, Karl & Thurlow, James, 2011. "Agricultural growth, poverty, and nutrition in Tanzania," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(6), pages 795-804.
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  6. Channing Arndt & M. Azhar Hussain & E. Samuel Jones & Virgulino Nhate & Finn Tarp & James Thurlow, 2013. "Explaining the Evolution of Poverty: The Case of Mozambique," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 95(1), pages 206-206.
  7. Quintero, Julián A. & Cardona, Carlos A. & Felix, Erika & Moncada, Jonathan & Sánchez, Óscar J. & Gutiérrez, Luis F., 2012. "Techno-economic analysis of bioethanol production in Africa: Tanzania case," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 442-454.
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  9. Arndt, Channing & Benfica, Rui & Tarp, Finn & Thurlow, James & Uaiene, Rafael, 2010. "Biofuels, poverty, and growth: a computable general equilibrium analysis of Mozambique," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(01), pages 81-105, February.
  10. Arndt, Channing & Pauw, Karl & Thurlow, James, 2012. "Biofuels and economic development: A computable general equilibrium analysis for Tanzania," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(6), pages 1922-1930.
  11. Peters, Jörg & Thielmann, Sascha, 2008. "Promoting biofuels: Implications for developing countries," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1538-1544, April.
  12. Scarlat, Nicolae & Dallemand, Jean-François, 2011. "Recent developments of biofuels/bioenergy sustainability certification: A global overview," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 1630-1646, March.
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  14. J. S. Clancy, 2008. "Are biofuels pro-poor? Assessing the evidence," The European Journal of Development Research, Taylor and Francis Journals, vol. 20(3), pages 416-431.
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