"Ahead of this week's votes, Olivier De Schutter, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, wrote a letter (pdf) to the commission, member states and MEPs that was highly critical of EU biofuels policy. He is concerned that EU policy creates incentives for land leases or acquisitions, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, in which the rights of current land users are inadequately protected."
"The land and water resources of the countries concerned should serve, in the first instance, the realisation of the right to food of the local populations; these populations should not be forced to compete against EU consumers, whose purchasing power is vastly higher," said De Schutter.
"De Schutter said biofuels had pushed up food prices, with estimates that, by 2020, EU biofuel targets could ramp up the agricultural price of vegetable oils by 36%, maize by 22%, wheat by 13% and oilseeds by 20%. Another concern is that biofuels favour large-scale industrial models of agriculture that appear to offer limited benefits to local populations, particularly smallholder farmers."