China saves grains for food not biofuel
The Chinese government supports the development of biofuel but not
from grain, a senior agriculture planning official
The Ministry of
Agriculture (MOA) is piloting production of biofuel derived from non-grain
crops, but has no plans to expand acreage of corn a major raw material for
biofuel next year.
It was the first
time the ministry has explicitly stated its policy on production of biofuel,
whose surging demand has contributed to recent price hikes in the food market.
"We have a principle with regard to biofuel: it
should neither be at the cost of foodgrains for people's consumption nor should
it compete with grain crops for cultivated land," Yang Jian, director of the
ministry's development planning department, told a Chinese newspaper.
Yang made it
clear that his ministry did not support using corn, or any other grain crops, as
raw material to produce biofuel.
recognize that biofuel can help raise farmers' income and quench the thirst for
cleaner energy. The ministry therefore encourages farmers to grow sorghum, cassava and other
non-grain crops on slopes and patches that are unfit for grain production.
The ministry has designated some acreage in East China's Shandong Province and Northwest
China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to produce sweet sorghum
this year for the making of biofuel, Yang said.
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