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South Africa: No biofuel from maize

by Tillmann Elliesen

In December, South Africa unveiled a strategy for creating a biofuel industry. The government set the production target for bioethanol and biodiesel for the next five years at 2 % of total motor vehicle fuel consumption. The figure originally proposed was 4.5 % but this was adjusted sharply downwards by the government for fear of possible food shortages. What is more, no maize will be used for biofuel production until at least 2013 – another decision prompted by concerns about supply problems and price hikes. When the five-year period is up, Energy Minister Buyelwa Sonjica says the govern­-
ment will review the position. South Africa’s maize farmers voiced disappointment at the decision. They had speculated on additional profits from ethanol production. (ell)