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Biofuel goals will create „farmer-entrepreneurs,” Barroso Says

The European Union's mandatory targets for using renewable fuels will herald opportunities for „entrepreneurial” farmers, said European Commission President Jose Barroso.

EU regulators said January 10 they'll require at least 20% of the bloc's energy mix come from renewable sources such as biological ethanol and gas by 2020, provided the bloc's 27 governments give their backing. Farmers of rapeseed stand to benefit from growing production of so-called biodiesel while growers of feedstocks such as sugar beet and wheat can sell their products to be made into ethanol or gas. „If a German farmer can earn more today by selling the maize he produces for processing into bio-gas than for traditional feed production, we should see this as opening up fresh opportunities for a new generation of farmer-entrepreneurs,” Barroso told a Berlin farming conference yesterday in a speech distributed to reporters in Brussels today.

The EU wants to increase production of biofuels to protect itself from disruption to imported supplies, claim progress in fighting climate change and give a boost to farmers and producers of biological fuels. The European Commission, the EU's executive arm in Brussels, has tried to ease concerns that the targets, which include a requirement that 10% of all fuel produced for vehicles be made from plants and fats by 2020, will inflate the price of food and animal feed. The goals „are feasible without creating unmanageable tensions between food and non-food production,” Barroso said. „It will have a positive impact on agricultural income and land use. It will also halt the trend of converting agricultural land to other uses.” (Bloomberg)