Monday, September 01, 2008

China will not sacrifice food for fuel : experts

China will not sacrifice food for fuel : experts

By China Daily
Asia News Network
Published on June 7, 2008

Country tackles concerns as grain shortages plague the world's population

China has no plan to sacrifice food for fuel, the country's energy experts said yesterday amid a controversy over biofuels.

"Food security comes first in China, more important than fuel," China's national energy strategies co-drafter Song Yanqin said while speaking at Asia Clean Energy Forum 2008 in Manila.

Biofuel has become a new buzz word all across the world. Produced from agricultural crops such as maize, palm oil, sugar cane and jatropha, biofuels are used to run factories, power stations and vehicles. Countries that have the right conditions are setting aside millions of hectares for new plantations as international demand for biofuel rises.

However, there is another side to the coin. The development of biofuels is considered as one of the main reasons for the global shortage of food grains - driving up food prices in many countries. For instance, in the Philippines' southern region of Mindanao, rice prices have gone up to 50 pesos (Bt37.50) per kilogram.

Song said, "Biofuel is sensitive", especially in China, where 1.3 billion people live on only 120 million hectares of arable land.

"Actually, in the global context, biofuels are still a controversial topic and all for serious study," China's National Energy Leading Group adviser Zhou Dadi said.

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