Berlin, 23 March 2021. Biofuels from cultivated biomass are an important mobilisation reserve for the global food supply. So emphasised Detlef Kurreck, Chairman of the Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e.V. (Union for the Promotion of Oil and Protein Plants), during the presentation of the UFOP report on global market supply, pointing to the bridging function of cultivated biomass biofuels. These fuels are a currently and globally available contribution to the decarbonisation of the transport sector. This is precisely why the European Union must live up to its oft-emphasised role as pioneer. For this, the sustainability standards to be complied with throughout the entire commodity chain would have to be further developed in an appropriate manner.
The UFOP Chairman underlined the international pioneering role of biofuels. According to the report, the land required for their production is relatively small, accounting for 7 percent of global arable land. Nonetheless, it is precisely this sector that is leading the way with EU legally binding sustainability requirements across the entire commodity chain. In this context, Kurreck welcomed the strengthening of requirements in the reform of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II), which is currently being transposed into national law.
Referring to regions threatened by hunger and malnutrition, Kurreck emphasised that in many cases irresponsible governance and, regionally, weather-related influences such as drought or even too much rain endanger the supply of food. It is therefore important for wealthy, industrialised countries to show solidarity in order to ensure a basic supply of food and to improve development prospects in these affected regions. Kurreck rejected a strategy of extensification, as currently being pursued with the Green Deal. European agriculture policy could not be more contradictory: Biofuels from cultivated biomass are being deprived of development prospects by capping limits, and the ban on investment support, with constant reference to the “tank or plate” debate, while the Green Deal is revealing itself to be a one-sided extensification strategy. The result would be decreasing basic supply from European production, leading to more imports from third countries into the European Union. Currently, the EU Commission is systematically deteriorating competitiveness in international markets.
The UFOP Chairman called for setting a course for sustainable intensification now, in the face of perceptible climate change. This necessarily includes the use of innovative cultivation and plant breeding technologies. It is not only agriculture that is running out of time when it comes to environmental protection. In the UFOP’s view, a sustainable and forward-thinking bioeconomy strategy looks different. The Green Deal is shaping up to be a deal at the expense of agriculture. But agriculture cannot migrate or threaten to migrate like other industrial sectors. Kurreck appealed to those responsible in Brussels and Berlin to develop the Green Deal and the announced “Farm-to-Fork Strategy” in such a way that it meets the demands of environmental protection and biodiversity. Forward-thinking perspectives for agriculture must be developed with, not against the profession. Biofuels from cultivated biomass, such as rapeseed as a protein provider and flowering plant, are a part of this.
UFOP, press release, 2021-03-24.