Sustainable Energy for Food Symposium

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Sustainable Energy for Food

According to conservative estimates, producing food and getting it to the table accounts for around 30 per cent of energy consumed worldwide. With the demand for food on the increase and energy re-sources in limited supply, experts in science, business, civil society and development cooperation who work in the energy and/or food sector all face the same challenge: how can we produce more food using as little energy as possible while increasing the share of renewable energy? This GIZ-DIE symposium will show where the various stakeholders currently stand on this issue. It will also examine which energy-smart solutions exist in our agri-food systems and debate how to accelerate their broad-based roll-out.


​​► Download the program here


​​► The full documentation can be found here.
​​► For presentations please click on the respective session highlighted in blue.




Event opened by Dr Stefan Schmitz
Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Head of special initiative "One World, No Hunger"
Stefan Schmitz, welcomed the participants and highlighted the many interdependencies of energy and food. Energy access is crucial to decrease the number of currently 840 million starving people. For example, energy is crucial to reduce food losses along food supply and value chains.

Keynote: Energy for food
Dr Tilman Altenburg Head of Department “Sustainable Economic and Social Development”, German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Tilman Altenburg explained the relevance of the theme and mapped out the challenges ahead. He stressed the significance of energy access in the food production sector and the fight against poverty, illustrated by the following figures: 1.6 billion people do not have access to electricity; 3 billion depend on biomass energy for cooking and heating, whilst food production in Africa has not seen any increases for the last 40 years. Meanwhile, food production consumes 30% of global energy.


Energy needs and solutions for sustainability food security
The first presentations of the day focused on energy needs and solutions for sustainable food security:




Experience of pratical implementation
The second part of the presentations provided insights into experience of practical implementation:


Brief reflection on morning events by organizers
Christel Weller-Molongua, Director of Division “Rural Development and Agriculture”, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Dr Tilman Altenburg, Head of Department “Sustainable Economic and Social Development”, DIE
The two reflected on the various presentations citing the availability of various good technical solutions to solve issues at stake. Some challenges lie in successfully disseminating solutions and in context-specific adaptation, requiring a systemic approach to complex target systems.




Powering agriculture - an energy grand challenge for development
Two presentations stressed the fact that the topic of energy and food is now firmly on the international cooperation agenda:


Participants make their way to the room assigned to their working groups
Three parallel working groups provided the chance to work on specific aspects in depth, and thereby facilitated exchange and discussion among the participants:


Working group I: Cooperation with the private sector, moderated by Judith Helfmann-Hundack (GIZ)

Followed by a panel discussion and plenary session


Working group II: Energy efficiency - a potential gain for agro-industries, moderated by Dr Anna Pegels (DIE):

Plenary session to develop solutions and ideas for cooperation


Working group III: Optimising agricultural irrigation from an energy perspectiv, moderated by Bernhard Zymla, (GIZ)

Each working group presented a brief summary of their results. For the pictures of the flipcharts please see links below:


Brief reports of the working groups
Closing remarks by Dr Stefan Schmitz BMZ, Head of special unit "One World, No Hunger"

Dr. Schmitz in his closing remarks emphasised on communication, restating the importance to develop and support a network of international actors within the clean energy and agriculture nexus.