Enter Search Term:

Climate change

Food Not Fuel – make your voice heard ahead of critical MEP vote

People are going hungry because crops are being used to fill our petrol tanks instead of feeding families. 

Biofuels are crops like wheat, corn and sugar cane that are mixed with petrol and diesel to fuel our cars. The EU has set a target of 10% of European transport fuel to be derived from biofuels. 
A policy which initially was seen as an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil fuels is having a disastrous effect on people in the developing world. In many cases harmful green house gas emissions from biofuels are worse than those from fossil fuels.  
Communities are being forced off their land to make way for biofuels. In March 2011, over 800 indigenous families were evicted off land in the Polochic Valley region of Guatemala. 
These are Mayan families who for centuries have experienced discrimination and violence by the elite families who run Guatemala as if it is their private enterprise. 

Watch our documentary presented by Aidan Gillen on the experiences of the Mayans of Polochic Valley

In July of this year, a survey of the evicted families revealed the horrendous conditions they live in two years after that eviction. 

Among the main findings were:

94% of families said they have had food shortages on occasions. Less than half of households consume three basic meals a day.

54% of children under the age of 5 suffer from chronic malnutrition. 

Less than one third of the families have land for food cultivation. 

Even those who do have access to land are producing less than half the amount of food the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) say is needed for a family.

Families are suffering restrictions, often imposed by private companies, on access to water.

In June, almost 1,000 Trócaire supporters asked Pat Rabbitte TD, Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, to call for a ban on the use of all food based biofuels. He went on to formally raise our concerns at the Council of Ministers meeting he attended in Luxembourg.


The European Commission has recognised that their biofuel policy is flawed and is proposing to reduce the biofuels target from food crops from 10 to 5%. Unfortunately, Committees in the European Parliament have been voting to weaken the EC’s 5% proposal.


On 10 September MEPs will vote to establish the Parliament’s position on the Commission’s proposal.  It’s going to be a close battle so we must let our MEPs know that this already weak proposal cannot be weakened further.


Tell your MEP that these crops should be grown to feed people not burned in our cars!

Take action: send a message to your MEP

Read Trócaire’s policy paper: Biofuels: Fuelling Poverty and Environmental Degradation


Donate Now