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EU drafts warn of biofuels' link to hunger

Source:  Copyright 2010, Reuters
Date:  March 5, 2010
Byline:  Charlie Dunmore
Original URL: Status ONLINE

The European Union's promotion of plant-based biofuels will raise EU farm incomes and agricultural commodity prices, but could create food shortages for the world's poorest consumers, draft EU reports show.

The EU has a legal target to get a tenth of its road transport fuels from renewable sources such as biofuels by 2020. For EU farmers hit by falling incomes, Europe's 5 billion euros-per-year ($6.84 billion) biofuels market is coveted as a source of new revenues.

Impact studies drafted for EU policymakers -- included in 116 documents released to Reuters under freedom of information laws -- predict that current biofuel policies will boost EU farm incomes by 3.5 percent in 2020.

But the studies also reveal concerns about the unintended impact of Europe's thirst for biofuels.

"A new and strongly growing non-food demand for agricultural output will undoubtedly boost farm prices and hence farmers' incomes," one report says.

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