Agricultural trade




High oil prices, tight energy markets and evidence about climate change are among the reasons for policy makers around the world to support the production and use of alternative, renewable energy sources. Agricultural commodities such as maize are now being used to produce biofuels, bioheat and biopower.

While this creates a huge additional outlet for farmers, it has begun to impact food markets. The contribution of bioenergy to energy security and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions has also been questioned.


OECD work on bioenergy

Bioenergy touches areas as diverse as scientific developments, environmental effects, energy balances and agricultural market economics. OECD has launched an interdisciplinary research program incorporating expertise from a number of other directorates of the Organisation, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and other institutions and researchers.

This program includes a comprehensive compilation of data and information on the issue, categorisation of the variety of support policies, and quantitative analysis of bioenergy policy measures. The analytical basis for the work is provided by the OECD’s agricultural world market model Aglink, which in recent years has been complemented with the FAO’s Cosimo model to represent developing countries in greater detail. The quantitative work enables analysis of the implications of current and alternative policy schemes on both bioenergy and agricultural markets.



OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook

The Agricultural Outlook is a collaborative effort of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.

It brings together the commodity, policy and country expertise of both organisations and input from collaborating member countries to provide an annual assessment of prospects for the coming decade of national, regional and global agricultural commodity markets.

The Agricultural Outlook website also includes a database where you can access historical and forecast figures for biofuel trade, production and consumption.


Fertiliser and Biofuel Policies in the Global Agricultural Supply Chain (November 2014)
This report analyses policies along the agricultural supply chain, in particular support measures for fertilisers and for biofuels. It uses the OECD Fertiliser and Biofuel Support Policies Database that covers polices in 48 countries (including the EU and its Members) and assesses the market effects of these policies with a computable general equilibrium model, MAGNET.


Fertiliser and Biofuel Support Policies (August 2013)
Fertilisers and biofuels are key upstream and downstream industries impacting agriculture. How do governments in OECD and major emerging economies support the production and use of fertilizers and biofuels? Consult data from a range of OECD countries and emerging economies.

Bioheat, Biopower and Biogas: Developments and Implications for Agriculture (April 2010)
In developing a stronger focus on agricultural biomass crops, governments will have to design support policies so as to avoid compromising the ability of the agricultural sector to provide food and feed in a sustainable manner, this study finds.

Developments in Bioenergy Production Across the World - Electricity, Heat and Second Generation Biofuels (October 2008) 
This report summarises the technological parameters and costs for bioheat, biopower, biofuels from palm oil and Jatropha as well as for second generation biofuels. It differentiates between the biomass production, the necessary transport logistics between the biomass producer and the conversion plants, and the conversion to the final product.

A review of policy measures supporting bioenergy (July 2008)
This study provides a review of policy measures in OECD and major non-OECD countries for supporting bioenergy. After presenting the objectives underlying this support and the targets that have been settled in many countries, the report presents the different types of measures currently implemented.

Biofuel Support Policies: An Economic Assessment (July 2008) 
Government support of biofuel production in OECD countries is costly, has a limited impact on reducing greenhouse gases and improving energy security, and has a significant impact on world crop prices, according to a new study of policies to promote greater production and use of biofuel in OECD countries.

Growing bio-fuel demand underpinning higher agriculture prices, says joint OECD-FAO report. (July 2007)
Increased demand for biofuels is causing fundamental changes to agricultural markets that could drive up world prices for many farm products, according to a new report published by the OECD and the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation. (04 Jul 2007)

Agricultural market impacts of future growth in the production of biofuels. with Corringendum on Figure 4 and Table 2.1 (February 2006)
The principal objective of the present study is to look at the economics of biofuel production and the likely impacts of an expected growth in biofuel-related demand for agricultural products on commodity markets. It describes the economics and policies in biofuel markets by bringing together available information on production technologies, costs and policy measures in major biofuel producing countries.


Also available: OECD Berlin Centre - Bioenergy (Deutsch)


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