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EU oilseed rape area under threat from biofuel plans

The European oilseed rape area risks falling from the current 6.7 million ha to 2 million ha or less as a result of EU plans to cap crop-based biofuel production, warns European farming co-operative group Copa-Cogeca. The sugar beet sector would also be hit, it adds. In October, the European Commission went ahead with issuing proposals to limit the amount of crops grown for biofuel production. The plans came under attack after they were leaked in September ( Agrow No 649, p 9). Under the proposals, biofuels from cereals, oilseeds and other crops would only be allowed to contribute a maximum of 5% of transport fuel in the EU. Subsidies for farmers growing biofuel crops would end after 2020. The aim is to encourage a switch to second-generation biofuels made from waste or straw, which do not compete with food production.

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