164 | East and South Asia and the Pacific (ESAP) Report

particularly deforestation for agronomic purposes are also required since they have the greatest impact on the global carbon cycle (Janzen, 2004).

5.2.3     Biofuels/bioenergy
Biofuel as an energy source is traditionally used in many communities across the region, albeit on a small scale and often only by individual households. During the Japanese occupation in Southeast Asia, for example, rural commu­nities with no access to kerosene used oil extracted from Jatropha curcas, coconut and castor beans for light and cooking. More recently, communities across the Pacific (the Marshall Islands and the Bougainville), use coconut oil to fuel vehicles (Cloin, 2007). Within these contexts, biofu-els show promising potential to increase access to energy for the poor. Governments in the ESAP region are now assessing biofuels, or bioenergy as a solution to reducing dependence on expensive petroleum and curbing emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change. While many of the current sources of biofuels are derived from corn, root crops, coconut, groundnut, sugarcane, sweet potato and palm oil (Ohga and Koizumi, 2007), tree crops such as Jatropha and pongamia are also receiving significant at­tention. A new generation of biofuels produced from agri­cultural and timber waste is being explored but is as yet not commercially viable.
     Biofuel production promoted by regional governments is based on large scale industrial production that supplies en­ergy for urban areas and industrialized countries, giving rise to competition between biofuel and food production on al­ready strained natural resources. Even for biofuels produced from secondary food crops, such as China's announced shift to ethanol production from cassava, sweet potato and sor­ghum (Sun, 2007) and non-grain oil crops such as jatro­pha that can grow in marginal lands, massive production of biofuels requires the conversion of agricultural, forest and public lands to grow these crops commercially. Commercial production of biofuels that require area expansion is there­fore likely to substantively increase the agricultural demand for water, which is already at 78% of the available fresh water supply in Southeast Asia (ASEAN, 2006).
     Further, the increasing demand for oil palm is expected to create additional pressure on the region's steadily declin­ing forests. In Indonesia, for example, the government plans to convert some 1.5 million ha of land to oil palm planta­tions and another 1.5 million for jatropha plantations, be­ginning with approximately one million hectares of land not productively used, including forestry concessions that have been abandoned by concessionaires (Haswidi, 2006). This conversion can potentially increase forest and land fires as­sociated with oil palm plantations and lead to a serious loss of biodiversity, ecological degradation and recurring trans-boundary haze that endangers human health and economic security. Apart from climate change concerns, deforestation threatens the survival of indigenous peoples, forest dwellers and the rural poor who depend on forests for their food, livelihood and cultural identity. Current debate on the en­vironmental impacts of biofuels in ESAP also extends to biofuel production in input-intensive monoculture systems and genetically modified crops developed to accelerate the


growth of biofuel crops and trees with little risk assessment analyses.
     With   increasing   market   demand,   crops   tradition­ally grown for food, feed and oil are expected to shift to biofuels. This will likely increase food prices, especially if supplies remain the same, as is already evident in the cur­rent corn price trends worldwide. Rising grain prices and the diversion of local carbohydrate and protein sources to the energy market could represent a market opportunity, but also a threat for the region's poorest people (Brown, 2006). High feedstock prices could drive small livestock and poultry producers out of business, depriving millions of families of their livelihood. The joint announcement by Malaysia and Indonesia to allocate 40% of their combined annual palm oil output for biodiesel production is expected to increase the price of edible oil, making it expensive for both food and energy users. In response, countries like the Philippines have adopted measures to ensure that ethanol production does not compete with food production by re­quiring prohibitive distancing between sugar mills for food/ feedstock production and biofuel processing. Root crops in particular often serve as secondary or even survival crops for many rural and indigenous communities across ESAP, so using them for biofuel production could directly affect food affordability.
     Biofuels have the potential to provide food security and livelihoods for the poor in ESAP if their production is based on the sustainable use of local resources and the provision of off-farm income, especially to women, and the improved management of energy production and consumption. Sup­plying energy to urban areas and industrialized countries may offer short-term economic gains for developing coun­tries in the region, but with high costs for the environment and for the capacity of countries to produce food that is available, accessible and affordable to poor people.

5.2.4     Urban-periurban agriculture
Urban and periurban agriculture (UPA) can contribute to reducing poverty and enhancing food security. It involves the production of crops, livestock, fish and related goods and processing and marketing activities in and around cit­ies and towns. UPA is distinguished from rural agriculture by its integration into the urban economic and ecological system. Its objectives include income generation, contribu­tion to urban dwellers' food needs and environmental sus-tainability (van Veenhuizen, 2006). UPA can increase food availability and enhance the freshness of perishable foods reaching urban consumers. Case studies show differences in nutrition, especially among children, when poor urban families farm. UPA also has the potential to efficiently re­cycle nutrients from municipal solid wastes and waste water (Hussainet al., 2002).
     Despite potential efficiencies, there is a bias against ur­ban and periurban agriculture that has resulted in overlook­ing, underestimating and under-reporting UPA practices. Concerns arise over competition for land, water, labor en­ergy resources and its incompatibility with urban life (smells, noises, pollution). Though many of these concerns arise in rural agricultural production, two important differences in the urban environment are: proximity to greater numbers