Renewable Energy for Agri-food Systems


November 2021
ISBN : 978-92-9260-341-8

Towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement

Energy and agri-food systems are deeply connected. Agri-food systems consume about 30% of the world’s energy. While, energy is responsible for a third of agri-food systems’ emissions. A joint approach to the Energy Transition and Food Systems Transformation is therefore essential to meet current and future demand for food and energy in an inclusive and environmentally sustainable manner.

Renewable energy solutions represent a crucial opportunity to meet the energy needs in the agriculture sector that are key to raising farmer incomes, cutting losses, creating jobs, improving access to clean cooking fuels, and advancing climate action for mitigation and adaptation.

This report jointly developed by the International Renewable Energy Agency and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations analyses the role of renewable energy in agri-food systems and the opportunity they offer to advance energy and food security objectives as well as contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement.

The joint report outlines an 8-point action agenda to scale up renewable energy use in the agriculture sector. It emphasises the need to:

  • Collect better data to guide renewable energy investments in food systems
  • Leverage mapping tools to assess opportunities and inform policy making
  • Improve access to finance for end-users and enterprises
  • Develop integrated approaches to transforming the food and energy systems
  • Mainstream cross-sector perspectives into national sector strategies
  • Strengthen innovation for technology and energy-efficient appliances
  • Focus on raising awareness and building capacity
  • Place inclusivity at the heart of transforming the food and energy systems engaging equally women and youth

This report is part of the continuing collaboration between IRENA and FAO to accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in agri-food, fisheries and forestry chains, and sustainable bioenergy.