Don’t blame food prices on biofuels: Brazilian president


The Hague : Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva has called on world leaders to take steps to increase food production to hold the price line and not blame it on diversion of land for biofuels.

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The Brazilian leader, who is on a state visit to the Netherlands, told reporters after meeting Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende here Thursday that increased production was one way to keep prices down and supply steady, EFE news agency reported Friday.

The rise in food prices was due to the fact that “poor people have begun to eat” in places like China, India and Latin America, something for which one should “give thanks to God”, Lula said referring to the growing income of people.

“The solution is that we need to produce more, but don’t tell me that the increase in prices is because of biofuels,” said Lula, who is on a state visit to the Netherlands.

Brazil is a pioneer in the production of sugar-based ethanol.

Before the meeting, Balkenende said that the question of environmental sustainability of biofuels was gaining prominence.

“More needs to be produced, but in a sustainable way,” said the premier, who emphasized that “there is much talk” about third-generation biofuels manufactured using wood products and not food crops.

During the press conference, Lula reiterated that his country wants to deepen its cooperation with the Netherlands on biofuels, and recalled that the 27-nation European Union had set 2020 as the timeline by which 10 percent of the fuels used there would be biofuel.

Both the leaders also discussed a number of bilateral issues and agreed to enhance cooperation between the two countries.