News last update:6 Aug 2012

China saves grains for food not biofuel

The Chinese government supports the development of biofuel but not from grain, a senior agriculture planning official said.

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.

Non-grain crops promoted
China does 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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