UN Rapporteur Addresses Agrofuel Impacts on the Right to Food

17 October 2012: Addressing a range of questions on the relationship between agrofuel and food, Oliver De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, described the impacts of biofuels on food prices, food security and land concentration, and ways that the EU and other States could sustainably regulate biofuels in the future.

Noting the increased demand presented by agrofuels, De Schutter highlighted the significant impacts of agrofuels on food prices and the ensuing limited access to food of the poorest populations. To combat this trend, he underscored a call in 2011 for the elimination of distortive agrofuel policies. He stressed that agrofuel producers are generally large scale farmers, and that small-scale farmers rarely participate in agrofuel production.

On impacts on land concentration, the Special Rapporteur underscored that energy crops are a driver in the trend of large-scale land acquisitions, warning of the danger that land rights of rural communities without title could be negatively impacted. He described sustainability requirements in the EU and US biofuel policies, and outlined some of the challenges posed by agrofuel mandates. [Q&A on Biofuels by UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food]