News & Media

Farmers defend biofuels as part of EU’s upcoming ‘protein strategy’

22 February, 2018

There is a need to maintain the EU’s main source of protein feed that are the co-product of biofuels, the European farmers association Copa-Cogeca told EURACTIV.com as the Commission announced its intention to draw up an EU-wide “protein strategy”. Speaking at a meeting of EU farm ministers on 19 February, EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan presented the idea of an EU protein strategy: “Plant proteins are essential for EU farming, since they are a vital component of animal feed, as a source of amino-acids for livestock.”Commenting on the Commission’s initiative, Copa-Cogeca, the association of European farmers and agri-cooperatives, issued a statement saying that “EU biofuel co-products and Processed Animal Proteins are valuable sources of our own protein supply for feed.” Pekka Pesonen, the secretary-general of Copa-Cogeca, told EURACTIV that from an EU food chain and protein supply point of view, EU crop-based biofuel sectors provide a valuable source of protein-rich cake for feed purposes. Commenting on the issue, Emmanuel Desplechin, Secretary-General of the European renewable ethanol association (ePURE), stressed that ethanol production generates both fuel and food for Europe and is “a win-win that helps the EU meet its climate goals and offset the need for imports of animal feed. Every tonne of grain used by the ethanol industry produces as much animal feed as it does clean-burning, climate-friendly biofuel. So it doesn’t make sense for the EU to be considering phasing out crop-based biofuels at the same time it is proposing a strategy to boost protein production.”