October 4 - Governments must put people’s right to food before short term commercial interests, said Oxfam before the opening of the Committee on Food Security’s annual meeting in Rome (7 October). The international agency is calling for Governments to ensure that biofuel policies do not force poor farmers off their land and fuel food price spikes.
The CFS meeting is the first UN forum to discuss the issue of biofuels in depth. The aim will be to agree collective action to ensure that policies, operations and investments in biofuels do not lead to land-grabs and food prices spikes. The CFS is the center of the global governance on food and nutrition security and includes all governments, civil society, international organizations and the private sector. Its 40th annual meeting will run from 7 - 11 October.
The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organizations ministerial meeting, taking place during the CFS, is an opportunity for governments to show leadership and commit to phase out support for biofuels that have negative impacts on people’s food security and livelihoods.
Luca Chinotti, Oxfam food and agriculture advisor said:
“The evidence is clear. Europe and the US in particular have helped spark a global rush for biofuels that is driving poor families off their land and fueling food price rises, while big business piles up the profit.”
It is estimated that by 2020, the EU’s biofuel policies alone could push up vegetable oil prices by up to 36 percent, maize by up to 22 percent and sugar by up to 21 percent. While land used to power European cars with biofuels for one year could produce enough wheat and maize to feed 127 million people.