Copa and Cogeca have expressed their concerns about the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis on the vegetable oils, biodiesel, rapeseed and ethanol sectors in a letter to the European Commission.
Faced with falling European production and social distancing measures in the EU and worldwide due to the pandemic, protein-rich plant by-product markets risk entering into a phase of greater instability as a result of lower demand in the biofuel sector and lower EU production of protein crops.
In this context, the European farmers and cooperatives' organisations are calling for a set of rapid actions that could limit major disruption.
Pedro Gallardo, Copa and Cogeca’s Oilseeds and Protein crops Working Party Chairman, considered that “the best way to increase our production in the short term, is that the European Commission accept temporarily lifting some restrictions on the use of plant protection products (PPPs) for nitrogen fixing crops in ecological focus areas. This approach would increase our domestic production of soya, peas, beans and lupines on land beyond the areas receiving support in the form of voluntary coupled support”.
Due to the containment, fuel consumption and crude oil price have collapsed, and demand in biofuels is following suit.
If no measures are taken, huge volumes of American and Brazilian ethanol will flood the EU internal market, which will jeopardise not only the European ethanol sector, but also the EU non-GM feed sector which is supplied with protein-rich plant by-products like DDGS.
Alexander Bachler, Copa and Cogeca’s Bioenergy Working Party Chairman, added: “It is essential that the Commission act swiftly to support its biofuel domestic production. In this regard, we consider immediate actions as essential.
“We must immediately establish efficient safeguard measures against ethanol imports from the US or Brazil. We must refuse requests for a temporary suspension of tariffs on ethanol. We must maintain the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures that currently apply to biodiesel (B99) imports from the US.
“Finally, we should not give in to pressure to reduce incorporation of certified sustainable biofuel produced from EU arable crops and immediately implement in the Member States the delegated act to reduce biofuels with a high ILUC risk.”
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