UN official calls biofuel production ‘a crime against humanity’

Minister appoints Dr Swaminathan to IPACSL as Chairperson

BERLIN, April 14, 2008 (AFP) – Massive production of biofuels is “a crime against humanity” because of its impact on global food prices, a UN official said Monday on German radio. . “Producing biofuels today is a crime against humanity,” UN Special Rapporteur for the Right to Food Jean Ziegler told Bayerischer Runfunk radio.

Using arable land to produce crops for biofuels has reduced surfaces available to grow food, many observers warn.

Ziegler called on the International Monetary Fund to change its policies on agricultural subsidies and to stop supporting only programs aimed at debt reduction.

Agriculture should also be subsidised in regions where it ensured the survival of local populations, he said.

Meanwhile, in response to a call by the IMF and World Bank over the weekend to a food crisis that is stoking violence and political instability, German Foreign Minister Peer Steinbrueck gave his tacit backing.

“Germany will not shirk its duty to such an action,” Steinbrueck told German public radio.

Ziegler had earlier accused the European Union of agricultural dumping in Africa.

“The EU finances the exports of European agricultural surpluses to