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Last updated: 01 November, 2007 - Published 10:54 GMT
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NGO has biofuel concerns
Oxfam warns against disenfranchising the world's poorest
The charity Oxfam is warning that the European Union's plan to increase the use of biofuels could have a negative impact on some of the world's poorest people.

The EU is proposing to make it mandatory for ten percent of the transport fuels to come from biofuels made from converted foodstuffs like maize and sugarcane by the year 2020.

Oxfam's policy adviser Robert Bailey concedes that biofuels potentially offer huge opportunity for poor people in developing countries, if well managed.

But he warned: "In the scramble to supply the EU and the rest of the world with biofuels, poor people are getting trampled".

Safeguards required

The charity wants the EU to introduce safeguards to protect land rights, ensure labour standards and maintain food security.

EU officials say they are drawing up economic, social and environmental standards to ensure that Europe's green fuel plan does not harm producing nations.

Brazil's president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has said that biofuels offered an opportunity to countries in Africa, Central America and the Caribbean to claw their way out of poverty.

The European Union plans to fight global warming by switching to biofuels to ease dependence on fossil fuels.

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