The RFA comments on CFS draft study on biofuels, food security

By Erin Voegele | February 01, 2013

The Renewable Fuels Association has submitted comments disputing a draft study on biofuels and food security published by the U.N. Committee on World Food and Security (CFS). The report, published earlier this month, makes several policy recommendations, many based on the ties the committee theorizes between food prices and biofuel production. For example, the report questions the use of mandates and targets with subsidies and tariffs to stimulate biofuel production. The report also specifies that the committee believes non-food biomass crops should also be rigorously assessed with regard to their direct and indirect impact on food security.

In its comments on the draft study the RFA pointed to the benefits biofuels create for both farmers and consumers. “Biofuels have already proven themselves as agents of economic development, environmental improvement, and social progress in many developed nations,” said the RFA. “We believe biofuels can bring the same benefits to developing nations without jeopardizing food security. In fact, biofuels have the potential to serve as an important tool in reducing food insecurity.”

The RFA also points out that the draft study neglects the potentially positive impacts of biofuel on food security in the developing world. “By subjectively and indefensibly assigning the bulk of recent higher  commodity prices to biofuels expansion, the V0 draft suffers from the same specious correlation fallacy as other reports seeking to blame biofuels for food insecurity in the developing world,” the RFA continued. “That is, the HLPE simply assumes that because commodity prices have increased simultaneously with global biofuels expansion, that one event must be the primary cause of the other. Yet, despite outrageously declaring that the draft report ‘…confirmed the central role of  biofuels in provoking high and volatile food prices…’, the HLPE offers no new evidentiary  support or quantitative analysis whatsoever that establishes any causal link between biofuels policy and food insecurity.”