TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA — The Global Renewable Fuels Alliance (GRFA) said on Aug. 8 that International Food Policy Research Institute’s (IFPRI) call to reduce the use of biofuels across the world is premature.

“Calls to curtail biofuel production and use because of one bad growing season in the U.S. is putting the cart before the horse.  We don’t yet know how extensive the damage from the drought in the U.S. will be, nor do we know how farmers in the rest of the world will respond to stronger markets for their crops.

“Biofuels have proven to be an effective way to help lift rural communities worldwide out of poverty.  Stronger grain prices have spurred investments in agricultural production that are yielding more crops from the same acre of land.  In turn, this is helping traditionally food and energy poor nations become more self-sufficient.  Eliminating the market created by biofuels would be a setback to progress made in these areas and could very well increase poverty rates.

“Investments made by nations around the world in domestic biofuel production is spurring innovation and evolution in the industry.  Removing policies that drive that innovation would stall efforts to develop new biofuel technologies and relegate the world to an increased reliance on an ever-depleting supply of oil.

Farmers in the U.S. and across the globe are a resilient group and will respond to the signals being sent by the market.  In fact, farmers around the world responded after the commodity price spikes in 2008 with one of the largest corn crops in history in 2009. Biofuels are an important part of that market and are in no small part responsible for the increase in global grain production over the past few years.

“It may seem pennywise, but it is pound foolish to be calling for an end to biofuel production and use.”