Wednesday, 11 July 2007

UK farmers want to lead the way with biofuel crops

Where many environmentalists see the surge in biofuels as something to be cautious with, the UK’s farming industry wants to expand into growing crops for biofuels. British farmers see this as an opportunity to go from a subsidised farming industry to a competitive and successful market-driven one. The UK has already fallen behind the USA and other European countries in the uptake of biofuel crops and green fuels in general. The National Farmer’s Union’s vice president, Paul Temple was dismissive of fears that using food crops for biofuel would push up food prices, saying that it was “absolute nonsense” put about by food processors. He went on to say “This is a big win for both urban and rural economies because we already produce significant exportable surpluses at the bottom end of the market…biofuels offer farmers the chance to move out of the subsidised economy to the market economy but the UK has been slow out of the blocks compared with Germany, France and America." Great for the farmers, and the taxpayers that subsidise them, but what about the world’s poorer communities?

His view is at odds with a United Nations report prepared with input from all 30 of its organisations. The report believes the rush to expand the use of biofuels will not only increase deforestation, but will push small farmers off the land and lead to serious food shortages and increased poverty among the world’s poorest communities unless the whole thing is carefully managed. Judging by past experience the biofuel revolution will not be ‘well managed’ but will instead be profit driven rather than environmentally driven.

[Via The Guardian]

No comments: