Bioenergy and Rural Development in Developing Countries: a review of existing studies
Four broad types of studies on rural development and bioenergy technologies are identified. Within these four types, this discussion paper presents a number of existing studies which are most relevant in the context of developing a research focus on the role, feasibility and issues associated with bioenergy, and in particular biofuels, as engine for rural development in developing countries. The results and recommendations of the referenced studies, reflecting the global trends of the current literature, highlight the importance of bioenergy technologies in the development process of poor rural communities. The surge of biofuels and in particular of their feedstocks on the international agricultural markets has recently commended a lot of attention. However, whilst biofuels hold a huge economic potential as internationally traded commodities, the various issues and challenges facing biofuel production systems could indicate that in the context of developing economies, they are better suited for the domestic energy markets. In any case, the analysis necessary to formulate policy recommendations on how, where and when to implement which bioenergy technology calls for a differentiated – per region and/or technology – and integrated – within and alongside other rural production systems – approach. In this context, this review of existing studies exposes some unanswered questions and research gaps.
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