Germany blames ag policies for food price crisis

17 April 2008 19:18  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--The rise in global food prices is not due the growing production and use of biofuels but rather the result of inadequate agricultural policies, in particular in developing countries, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

“The current increase in global food prices is essentially not due to biofuels,” she said in a speech at the opening of the CHOREN biomass-to-liquid (BTL) plant in Freiberg, Saxony.

Rather, policy makers had failed to correctly predict and account for the huge changes and increases in food demand and nutrition in countries such as India and China, she said in commenting on the global biofuels-food price debate.

People in India and China could afford to eat more and better foods, with many Indians suddenly able to have a second daily meal and Chinese consumers starting to drink milk, she noted.

The challenge was to integrate these consumption trends into global development and farm policies, she said.

“I am confident that a way forward will be found to reconcile biofuels and food strategies, with each playing its role,” she said.

The CHOREN plant, which uses non-food wood-based biomass as a feedstock, was an important milestone in this direction, said Merkel.

Merkel also defended Germany’s decision earlier this month to scrap plans to increase ethanol blending to 10%, from 5%, due to fears the higher blend could damage the car engines of some 3m existing cars.

Introducing the 10% mandate would have caused additional costs for German drivers, she said.

Regardless of the change in bioethanol plans, Germany’s overall climate change policy and greenhouse gas reduction targets remained on course, she said.

Bookmark Simon Robinson’s Big Biofuels Blog for some independent thinking on biofuels

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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