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Proposals by the German government to end crop-based biofuel production would severely hit farmers and reduce rapeseed output, Thomas Mielke, CEO of Hamburg-based oilseeds analysts Oil World was quoted as saying in a Reuters report.

Reduced oilseed crushing in Germany would reduce domestic protein deficit for animal feed and lead to increased imports of soyabeans and soyabean meal, Mielke said on 25 January.

Germany’s environment minister Steffi Lemke has proposed ending crop-based biofuel production in stages by 2030.

The country’s programme to cut greenhouse gases (GHGs) includes the use of blending biofuels including biodiesel and bioethanol with fossil diesel and gasoline to reduce road vehicles emissions. Oil companies have a greenhouse gas reduction target which they can partly fulfil with biodiesel, which is often made from rapeseed oil or waste vegetable oils and bioethanol often produced from grains.

About half of Germany's rapeseed crop, which totalled 3.7M tonnes last year, is used to produce biodiesel, according to the report, with about 3M tonnes of biodiesel blended with fossil diesel in the country each year.

“This proposal could generate changes in trade flows with more German rapeseed oil going for export,” Mielke said. “There would also be a reduction in rapeseed cultivation by farmers.

“Such a drastic policy change would, of course, also reduce import demand, intensify competition with producers in exporting countries and reduce prices.”

Lemke, who is a member of the Green Party in the country’s centre-left three-party coalition with the Social Democrats and Free Democrats, has said she wanted to increase the use of biofuels produced from other sources, such as wastes and used edible oil.

“I do not think that it is possible to replace crop-based biofuels in this way because there is not enough waste available to produce the volumes needed,” Mielke added.