The distribution of food security impacts of biofuels, a Ghana case study

Marnix Brinkman, Jason Levin-Koopman, Birka Wicke, Lindsay Shutes, Marijke Kuiper, André Faaij, Floor van der Hilst*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


The demand for biofuels is expected to increase significantly in the coming years. However, there are major concerns on the impact of increased biofuel production on food security. As biofuel affects food security in various ways, it is important to assess the impacts on the four pillars of food security, availability, access, utilisation and stability. The objective of this study is to ex-ante quantify impacts of biofuel production on the four pillars of food security for urban and rural households in a developing country. We illustrate this for Ghana, which proposed a 10% biodiesel and 15% ethanol mandate for 2030 and which faces food security issues. We used the computable general equilibrium (CGE) model MAGNET in combination with a household and a nutrition module to quantify 13 food security indicators. The results show that the largest food security effects of the biofuel mandate are negative impacts on food prices and import dependency. However, the projected food security impacts of the biofuel mandate in 2030 are relatively small compared to the projected food security effects of economic development in Ghana towards 2030. Our approach enables ex-ante quantification of the effects of biofuel on the four pillars of food security and the differentiation of the effects between urban and rural households. Although improvements can be made, the approach means a big step forward compared to the state-of-the-art knowledge on food security impacts of biofuel production and it could contribute to identify options to minimise negative and optimise positive food security effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105695
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Biofuel mandate
  • CGEmodel
  • Developing country
  • Food security
  • Household
  • Nutrition


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