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EU Rapeseed Area Seen Falling 70% by Copa-Cogeca on Biofuel Plan

Rapeseed planting in the European Union may plunge 70 percent if plans to limit the bloc’s usage of biofuels made from crops take effect, farming lobby Copa-Cogeca said.

A European Commission proposal today for a 5 percent limit on use of biofuels from arable crops means farmers may grow the oilseed on about 2 million hectares (4.9 million acres), the Brussels-based group said in an e-mailed statement. That compares with about 6.7 million hectares now, it said. The plan would eliminate food crops in biofuels after 2020.

The proposal would “have a severe impact on farmers’ income,” Copa-Cogeca Secretary-General Pekka Pesonen said in the statement. It also may reduce livestock feed supplies because byproducts from making biofuels can be fed to animals, he said.

Phasing out biofuels also may hurt the EU trade balance and harm employment, Pesonen said. Europe’s biofuels industry is worth about 14 billion euros ($18.4 billion) and is a source of 100,000 jobs, he said. The proposal still needs approval by the EU’s 27 national governments and the European Parliament.

Rapeseed for delivery in November recently slipped 0.1 percent to 473 euros a metric ton on NYSE Liffe in Paris. The most-active contract reached 463.25 euros, the lowest level since June, on Oct. 3. Prices are up 7.9 percent this year.

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