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The “Green Deal” starts in the field – new UFOP report

Germany's Union zur Förderung von Oel- und Proteinpflanzen e. V. (UFOP) has released the fourth edition of its "UFOP-Bericht zur globalen Marktversorgung 2019/2020" (Report on Global Market Supply) highlighting the particular importance of agriculture in the production of sustainable foodstuffs and renewable raw materials including biofuels.

Global grain production remains at 2.6 billion tonnes (graphic courtesy UFOP).

According to UFOP, climate change dictates more productivity and efficiency while taking the requirements of sustainable production into account at the same time. Biofuels from cultivated biomass play a leading role when these are being produced according to the legal specifications of the Renewable Energy Directive (RED II).

UFOP underscores that the requirements and documentation obligations for proof of the origin of the raw material, certain special criteria and minimum requirements for greenhouse gas (GHG) saving even in non-member states must be complied with in order to maintain market access in the European Union. RED II is an excellent example of a sustainable “farm-to-tank” strategy, i.e. to ensure sustainability across the entire production process. Exactly this is what UFOP understands to be a national or European bio-economic strategy.

Climate change increases the pressure to enable a rapid as possible market access for renewable resources for energy or material utilisation using new or improved legal framework conditions. The regulations for the promotion of e-mobility provide the orientation when it comes to rapidity and funding intensity, UFOP said in a statement.

Sustainable biomass can, both nationally and globally, make a significant contribution towards decarbonising the transport sector and the economy. Research results would, therefore, have to be put immediately into practice in order to increase productivity and yield security in agricultural production.

Of the global cropland used to grow grains and oilseeds, 5 percent of the area is used for biofuels (graphic courtesy UFOP).

UFOP regards the accelerated utilisation of technological progress in plant breeding, plant protection and the digitisation of agricultural production as an important key to sustainable land management. Sustainable development would, however, also have to keep the economy in mind, given that financing this kind of progress should be generated through corresponding producer prices as well.

This would not only affect farmers in this country or in the European Union but also in a fundamental way the financing of technological progress as a prerequisite for a world-wide sustainable intensification of agricultural production, UFOP emphasised.

UFOP’s current “UFOP-Bericht zur globalen Marktversorgung 2019/2020” (Report on Global Market Supply) once more underscores that the potential to utilise agricultural commodities is currently not being exhausted. Low prices for cereals, oilseeds, sugar, and vegetable oils are the result of a global oversupply. According to UFOP, at this price level, sustainable economic activity is not possible, even in the rural regions of Africa.

Agriculture lives on economic substance not only in this country (Germany). Increasing regulatory requirements would not be offset by adequate value creation to compensate for this. On the contrary: the cultivation of renewable raw materials from cultivated biomass is being gradually put on the shelf, without opening up new sales prospects at the same time, UFOP warned.

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