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by Alain Lipietz | 17 April 2008
Food price increases : Green MEPs call for obligatory food security assessment of EU policies
Commenting on the problem of agro-fuels, German Green MEP Rebecca Harms, Vice-President of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, said:
"We warned both the European Commission and the German Government of the destabilisation of the global food supply that would arise from the one-sided promotion and subsidisation of the agro-fuel industry. It is now becoming more and more obvious that our concerns were legitimate and that it was wrong from the start to focus on growing crops for fuel production. A sustainable and responsible strategy for biomass should be based on efficiency, energy saving measures and the use of organic waste and organic by-products. In the face of the boom of this inefficient agro-fuels production, combined with the current rise in demand for meat production on the world market, there is serious competition for land and water for both food and fuel production. This is accentuated by the considerable impact of climate change which has led to increasingly uncertain harvests."
Alain Lipietz, Member of the International Trade Committee, added:
"It is up to the European Union to counteract the promotion of agro-fuels production at the expense of food production and recognise that it is high time to clearly prioritise food-security. A proposal advocated at today’s hearing here in Brussels saying the problem could be solved by a possible certification of imported organic raw material from third countries for the production of agro-fuels is window-dressing. Certification as a control method has already been attempted with imports of tropical wood and it was a serious failure."
German Green MEP Friedrich Wilhelm Graefe zu Baringdorf, vice-chairman of the committee on agriculture and rural development, called on the European Commissioner on agriculture, Mrs Fischer Boel, to carry out a food security impact assessment in the framework of the "health check" of the agricultural policy, in order to estimate the consequences of the constantly rising imports of agrarian resources for the production of animal feed, energy and food. He said:
"We have to ensure a reasonable balance between plant, animal and energy production. In the long run, the security of food supply in the world’s poorest countries can neither be achieved by food aid nor by artificially low food prices. In addition, further liberalisation of food markets will worsen the current fluctuations in food prices rather than balancing them out. Developing countries need support in strengthening their domestic food supply, as was suggested recently by the UN expert report on global farming and food security (the IAASTD). The EU should therefore contribute to global food security by carrying out an impact assessment of the effects of current domestic crops, meat and renewable energy production on food security as well as by focussing on reducing energy consumption and competition between food and fuel production."
On the Web : On the Greens’ website