Institut für Ernährungswirtschaft und Verbrauchslehre

Smallholders and agricultural products in the development of biomass energy: evidence from Sichuan, China

Energy is the most important material basis of the development, and has a dominant impact on the development of the society and economy. Recently, biomass energy becomes an important kind of renewable energy which has drawn more and more attention in the world, and becoming a new industry with huge potential. This industry can not only ease the tense situation of fossil energy supply, optimize energy structure and protect national energy security, but also improve and protect the ecological environment. 

However, since the new millennium, world bio-fuel emergency has raised furious debates on its functions and impacts. Particularly, food crop based bio-fuel development has suffered much due to the recent food crisis generated by worldwide food price hikes. China thus changed its bio-fuel development policies, and banned grain based bio-fuel expansion from 2007. Meanwhile, the government planned to produce bio-ethanol and biodiesel production of 10 and 2 million tons by 2020, respectively, pointed out explicitly that the goal would be achieved through exploring marginal land and cultivating non-grain crops. Thus, because of the intimate relationships between biofuel and agriculture, both of the positive and negative effects of biomass energy development on agriculture in China should be considered carefully, especially to the economic rapid growth and social transition nation. 

Therefore, the main objective of the study aims to analyze the desire and ways of smallholders to cultivate and utilize energy crops, the breadth and depth of impact on agricultural products, to find out in what extent the development of biomass energy benefit to smallholders and agricultural balance, and how to deal with the relationship among famers, resources and economic growth, in order to derive development strategies and suitable policy.