Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on June 3 defended biofuels, saying they could be an "important tool" against food insecurity, at the start of the UN food summit on spiralling prices. "Biofuels are not bandits," he said. "To the contrary, if they are produced in a serious way they can become an important tool to lift the poorest countries out of food insecurity," he said.
"We must remove the smokescreen of powerful lobbies that blame ethanol production for the rise in food prices. It's a mockery, an affront," Lula said. "The truth is that the inflation does not have a sole explanation but is due to a combination of factors."
Ethanol production "is not a threat for the Amazon forest and does not reduce the food supply," he said.
Lula also denounced the "intolerable protectionism which stunts and disrupts" farming in poor countries.
"Genuine food security should be global, and achieved through cooperation," he said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008