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Energy is an engine of transformative socioeconomic opportunities that touches on every aspect of sustainable development and the ability to access energy is a fundamental enabler to achieving food security and zero hunger.

Not only is energy necessary to consume food – and most of the food that the World Food Programme (WFP) distributes to people in need requires cooking – but also throughout Food Systems to produce, process and preserve it.

WFP is implementing market-based, sustainable energy approaches that strengthen food assistance by providing people with the means to cook and communicate, and boost resilience activities that support local food value chains.

Modern cooking

To achieve zero hunger, every person should be able to cook and consume their food safely and without creating further risks to their food security. In places affected by food insecurity, the frequent use of scarce and often costly resources such as firewood or charcoal to cook can have negative impacts on nutrition. Families are forced to barter food for fuel, buy less food or less nutritious food, skip or undercook meals, and use unsanitary water that has not been sterilised by boiling. They may walk long distances to cut trees, which contributes to deforestation and can cause tensions if forests are shared with other communities. Smoke from cooking with biomass on traditional cookstoves causes respiratory diseases, which are responsible for more premature deaths worldwide every year than malaria, tuberculosis and AIDS combined.

Promoting modern cooking solutions, such as gas stoves, mini-gasifier or electric pressure cookers, through WFP’s cash-based transfer approach, ensuresthat the poorest are not left behind. By injecting cash into the local economy, this approach also supportsenergy service providers, local retailers, energy market systems and distribution networks.

Energy for agriculture

WFP strives to empower smallholder farmers through inclusive agricultural growth and the sustainable dissemination of energy equipment and services for productive uses to boost agricultural market development, which in turn strengthens local food value chains and builds resilience and livelihoods.

Energy access increases efficiency and crop yields through mechanisation of land clearing, preparation and harvesting. Water pumps allow for irrigation but also oxygenation of fishponds and water distribution andlifting for hydroponic applications

Renewable energy systems can also sustainably power food processing tasks, such as milling, saving time and increasing the quality of the produce. 

Energy-powered preservation (e.g. drying, smoking and refrigerated storage) reduces post-harvest food lossesincreasing the availability of nutritious foods and enabling farmers to control the timing of crop sales.

Energy in schools

Through the Energising School Feeding initiative, WFP aims to provide solar power for modern cooking and digital learning to thousands of schools receiving its food assistance to improve environmental impact and educational outcomes. With schools working as innovation hubs, access to power extends to the surrounding community, diffusing modern cooking and productive uses solutions to households and farmers.Making local procurement possible enhances livelihoods and enriches the diet of children. 

Energy For Food Security

energy activities in 20 countries in 2020