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NSW Government Alarms Aussie Pig Farmers

by 5m Editor
17 December 2008, at 7:05am

AUSTRALIA - Australian Pork Limited (APL), the national body representing Australian pig farmers, is extremely concerned by the NSW Government’s proposal to triple its ethanol fuel mandate for E10 petrol from 2 to 6 per cent by 2010 and to 10 per cent by 2011.

APL General Manager Policy Kathleen Plowman said if this proposal is legislated, it will distort the grains market, putting further pressure on food prices by driving up the cost of grain and grain dependent meat industries such as pork, for very little environmental benefit.

“A succession of international studies has shown that, far from helping to cut global carbon dioxide emissions, (starch based) biofuel production can often give off more carbon dioxide than it saves.”

Ms Plowman said the OECD stated that government support of biofuel production is costly, has a limited impact on reducing greenhouse gases and improving energy security, and has a significant impact on world crop prices.

“Internationally governments are moving away from policy assistance towards grain based ethanol production because of concerns for food security and the environmental sustainability of this technology.

“Claims by the NSW Minister for Lands, Tony Kelly, that the ethanol mandate will be sourced totally from by-products are flawed. Using currently available technology, the key feedstock for ethanol production in NSW is grain. Second generation technology that uses feedstocks other than grain are not yet commercially viable and unlikely to be for some years,”Ms Plowman said.

“The NSW government proposal is short sighted. Before moving to legislate this proposal there is cause to reflect on the OECD report which recommends research to accelerate the development of second-generation biofuels that do not require commodity feedstocks like grain.

“The Australian pig industry supports the need for Australia to reduce green house gas emissions and recognises that biofuels are an essential component of a future energy mix but this should not be at the cost of food. The industry is not opposed to a grain derived ethanol industry but is opposed to this type of government intervention which creates an artificial demand for ethanol and consequently distorts markets and can impact food prices.”