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EU Agriculture Ministers Discuss Energy Use of Biomass of Agricultural Origin

20 September 2011: The EU agriculture ministers, meeting in the Council on 20 September 2011 in Brussels, Belgium, held an exchange of views on the energy use of biomass of agricultural origin as an important element of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

All delegations welcomed the initiation of a debate on how agriculture should contribute to the objectives of the EU 2020 strategy on climate change. Concerning the role of the CAP in supporting sustainable development of renewable energy sources in rural areas, a majority of delegations recalled that the main role of agriculture in the EU is to provide food to European citizens, thus underlying that any specific agricultural policy on biomass should not be detrimental to this objective. They proposed that such a policy focus on a better use of by-products and residues of agriculture and the agri-food industry.

Several ministers argued that the CAP, in its rural development component, already provides measures for taking into account the inclusion of the EU climate objectives in the agricultural sector, while other delegations opined that further incentives could help producers invest in energy use of biomass of agricultural origin. The discussions concluded that: the CAP objectives are consistent with the energy use of locally available by-products and residues from agriculture and the agri-food industry; support should be given to crops intended for energy purposes which do not compete with the food market; and support should be provided to farmers and the rural population interested in energy use of biomass of agricultural origin on a local scale. [EU Press Release]