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Book review: Biofuels, Food Security and Developing Economies
Achieving food security is a political and economic goal. Biofuels market expansion in developing countries is considered an essential market of success by both the national governments as well as by the international community. And rush to join the global biofuels market, however, remained strong in developing economies.

The last decade has witnessed major crises in both food and energy security across the world. One response to the challenges of climate change and energy supply has been the development of crops to be used for biofuels. But, as this book shows, this can divert agricultural land from food production to energy crops, thus affecting food security, particularly in less developed countries.

Giving the intensity of debate of food versus fuel debate, Naziz's fascinating study explores how and in what circumstances Biofuel crops contribute to either perpetuating or alleviating poverty and food in security by considering the complex interactions among agricultural commodity and energy markets, climate change mitigating finance and farming communities.

Nazia Mintz-Habib, who is lecturer in Public Policy at the University of Cambridge, UK in her study focus on the non-edible feedstock crop - Jatropha curcas. She analyses the extent to which biofuels feed stocks fit within the national food security strategy, agro-export orientation, and rural development plans and policies of developing economies. Two case studies, from Tanzania in East Africa and Borneo in Malaysia, are considered in detail, using the non-edible crop of Jatropha as an example of how compromises can be reached to balance food and energy goals as well as export markets. The author develops a novel integrated approach, the Institutional Feasibility Study, as the basis of her analysis.

She addresses key issues such as: how do global initiatives for green growth, energy security and sustainable development incorporate biofuels industry development? Does global biofuels trade present meaningful foreign and local investment opportunities for developing countries? To what extent does biofuels feedstock production help with poverty reduction and agricultural sector modernization? What role do the EU and the US commitments to biofuels blending targets play in the rapid industry development in developing countries? How does the biofuels industry fit within existing formal and informal institutional frameworks? Who are the winners and losers in the biofuels global value chain?

Regardless of whether policy makers or social scientists engage in the practical conversation of change, bio based society is quickly coming of age. Bio ethanol and other biofuels are changing the way land is used and engines are designed. Engineered Bacteria are increasing production of useful commodity chemicals ranging from amino acids to polymer precursors. A growing number of production-scale bio refineries are under construction as well as in operation. Steps undertaken by the chemical biologists to contribute to existing new fundamentals discoveries and applications seem capable of converting bioproducts from fiction into fact and affect food-energy nexus locally to globally.

The book provides a highly original application of institutional feasibility framework to the analysis of developing countries role within global value chains in primary commodities. It makes a valuable contribution to public policy and development studies.

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