Greenpeace protests against the use of grain for biofuel and animal feed.
The ‘fuel or food’ debate is being exacerbated – because of the Ukraine war which has pushed up grain prices – which in turn is increasing world hunger. Critics consider the use of agricultural land to produce biofuel to be wrong. With an unusual action, activists from the environmental organization Greenpeace demonstrated on Saturday for wheat as food – and “against wasting it as biofuel and animal feed”. The campaign took place in parallel in 21 cities, including Cologne, Stuttgart and Leipzig. The highlight: Greenpeace teams distributed bread to passers-by there, which was baked with flour from so-called feed wheat.
The background: only around 30 percent of the wheat harvested in this country is classified as “bakable” according to the usual classification, while around half ends up as “fodder wheat” in livestock farming or is used to produce biofuel. Greenpeace refers to estimates from experts that around 80 percent of this grain is actually suitable for baking. “Valuable food must no longer be wasted on biofuel and animal feed,” says Greenpeace agricultural expert Matthias Lambrecht. According to the environmental organization, biofuel from 10,000 tons of wheat is used in the EU every day. That is enough to bake 15 million loaves of bread.
In view of the global hunger crisis, it was “irresponsible to continue burning wheat in combustion engines,” Lambrecht warned. The federal government must end the addition of biofuel from food to petrol and diesel. If Germany were to phase out biofuel “would be a sign for other countries”.
In the federal cabinet, Environment Minister Steffi Lemke and Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir (both Greens) have spoken out in favor of shutting down agrofuel production, while Transport Minister Volkmar Wissing (FDP) is against it. A draft law presented by Lemke goes in the right direction, says Greenpeace. He should no longer be blocked by Wissing. Lambrecht: “Instead of using biofuel to achieve its climate goals, Wissing should finally take really effective measures against global warming.”
At the “bread demos” passers-by could support the campaign by signing a large sack of flour. The bags are now to be sent to the Özdemir Ministry.
In a petition started by Greenpeace and the Catholic aid organization Misereor, more than 58,000 people have already joined the demand that food should no longer be wasted on tanks or troughs. Another requirement here is to finally push ahead with the animal welfare-friendly conversion of livestock farming. The signatures were handed over to Özdemir and Development Minister Svenja Schulze (SPD).
According to Greenpeace, the Federal Republic can only become climate-neutral if the number of animals in agriculture and thus the emissions from livestock farming are roughly halved. “This would also put an end to the waste of food as animal feed,” says Lambrecht. In fact, “upgrading” plants into meat means large losses in calories. On average, seven plant calories are needed to produce one animal calorie. One calorie in beef requires six to 21 calories from grain, depending on the method of production and calculation. Poultry meat separates cheaper, there for one calorie it takes four vegetable.