Research Papers

Alternative energy sources

Publication Year: 2001

Author(s): Rajendra K Pachauri, Pooja Mehrotra


Food security for a growing population cannot be attained without the elimination of rural poverty. Solving the energy problem of the rural areas can be a major component of poverty alleviation and requires understanding the nature of energy use, the available technology choices, and fuel mix for these areas. Rural areas of most developing countries rely predominantly on biofuels, mainly fuelwood, for their fuel needs. Biomass fuels—fuelwood, crop residues, and animal dung—provide 85-90 percent of domestic energy in rural areas and 75 percent of all rural energy. In the rural economy of India, for example, the domestic household sector is the most prominent energy consumer, followed by the agricultural sector. Inefficient biomass use in traditional devices has serious environmental effects, locally and globally. The burning of biomass fuels leads to high levels of indoor air pollution that especially affect women and children. Deforestation and a rapidly declining resource base make provision of alternative energy to rural areas for ecological sustainability a crucial prerequisite for food security.

Source: 2020 Focus 7 (Appropriate Technology for Sustainable Food), Brief 8 of 9, August 2001

Publisher/Organisation: International Food Policy Research Institute