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Biofuel development should not compromise food security, says CFS

Following a week of intense discussions, the Committee on World Food Security stressed the link between biofuels and food security, saying that the "progressive realization of the right to adequate food for all" should be a priority concern in biofuel development.

The world's most important intergovernmental and multi-stakeholder platform for food security and nutrition said biofuel development "should not compromise food security, and should especially consider women and smallholders."

The 7-11 October meeting drew nearly 750 people, including over 130 government delegations, 100 civil society and 50  private sector organizations. Following the talks, the CFS also agreed on the importance of integrating smallholder agriculture into national policies, strategies, and research aimed at boosting investment and sustainable development.

Family farmers, fishers and others whose livelihoods depend on smallholder agriculture in developing countries account for most of the 840 million chronically hungry people in the world, according to the recent UN hunger report, the State of Food Insecurity in the World.

On the subject of biofuels and food security, informed by a report from the High Level Panel of Experts (HLPE) on Food Security and Nutrition, the CFS noted that biofuel development encompassed "both opportunities and risks in economic, social and environmental aspects," depending on the context and practices. "In some cases, current biofuel production creates competition between biofuel crops and food crops," it added.

The CFS encouraged FAO and other stakeholders to look at ways to help countries strengthen their capacities to assess their situation with regards to biofuels, taking into account food security concerns at global, regional and national levels, and legitimate land tenure rights.

"Governments and other appropriate stakeholders are encouraged to review biofuels policies - where applicable and if necessary - according to balanced science-based assessments of the opportunities and risks they may present for food security," the Committee said

For the complete article, please see Food and Agriculture Organization.